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Kenji Jojima connected for his third homer in as many games and Toshiya Sugiuchi pitched seven solid innings en route to his career first double-digit win as the front-running Daiei Hawks edged the second-place Seibu Lions 2-1 in the Pacific League on Tuesday.

The victory in the season’s final match-up against the top two teams reduced the Hawks’ magic number to clinch its first PL pennant in three years to three. Their earliest possible league championship day is Thursday at Tokyo Dome.

In the key game at Fukuoka Dome, Jojima put the Hawks on the scoreboard with a solo shot in the second inning and then drove in the game-winning run on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh while Sugiuchi (10-8) threw a four-hitter with seven strikeouts.

Marines 8, Buffaloes 5

At Osaka Dome, Jun Inoue, Kazuya Fukuura and Koichi Hori all homered and combined for four runs and five of the team’s 15 hits as fourth-place Lotte beat the third-place Kintetsu, making a winner of Nate Minchey (13-8).

Fighters 4, BlueWave 3

At Tokyo Dome, Yukio Tanaka leveled the game on a two-run double in the seventh inning and Kazuteru Shimada singled home the decisive run off Hisashi Ogura (4-13) with two out and the bases loaded in the 10th as Nippon Ham came from behind to down visiting Orix.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Carp 5, BayStars 4

At Hiroshima Stadium, Takuya Kimura connected for a “sayonara” hit with runners on the corners in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Carp’s triumph over Yokohama. Shinji Sasaoka (8-8) worked a perfect ninth for the win.

Giants 4, Tigers 2

At Koshien Stadium, Roberto Petagine went 3-for-4 with three RBIs as Yomiuri downed Hanshin, extending its winning streak to three.

Dragons 3, Swallows 2

At Jingu Stadium, Motonobu Tanishige blasted a two-run homer in the fifth as Chunichi edged Yakult, sending the home side to its fifth straight loss.

Oh yes!

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Daiei Hawks manager Sadaharu Oh accepted a request by the Pacific League club to renew his contract for a 10th season and take the helm again next year, baseball sources said Tuesday.

The 63-year-old Oh, the first winner of the People’s Honor Award in 1977, is currently guiding the Fukuoka club to its first PL pennant in three years despite rumors concerning its struggling proprietor Daiei Inc., which is reportedly considering selling it and its home field Fukuoka Dome.

Nakamura wants out

OSAKA (Kyodo) Kintetsu Buffaloes infielder Norihiro Nakamura said he has asked to be taken off the list of competitors who will represent Japan in this fall’s Olympic qualifying tournament due to a nagging knee injury, baseball sources said Tuesday.

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