• The Associated Press

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News photoNobuhiko Matsunaka
of the Daiei Hawks hits a solo
homer during Saturday’s game
against the BlueWave at Yahoo
BB Stadium. Orix won 12-11 in
10 innings.

Mitsutaka Goto hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday as the Orix BlueWave put Daiei’s pennant hopes on hold with a 12-11 victory over the front-running Hawks.

Daiei had a chance to clinch the Pacific League pennant with either a win or a tie, but lost to the last-place BlueWave in extra innings for the second straight game when Goto connected off Hawks reliever Katsunori Okamoto.

Despite the loss, the Hawks saw their magic number to clinch the pennant reduced to one after the second-place Seibu Lions lost to the Kintetsu Buffaloes earlier Saturday.

Jose Ortiz belted a three-run homer in the first inning as Orix jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after two innings at Yahoo BB Stadium, but the Hawks battled back and took a 9-7 lead in the sixth inning when they scored three runs.

Veteran Takeshi Yamasaki gave Orix the lead with a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh before the Hawks sent the game into extra innings in the top of the ninth with RBIs from Julio Zuleta and Hiroshi Shibahara.

Orix reliever Tomonori Kitagawa, the eighth pitcher to take the mound for the BlueWave, picked up the win after retiring the side in the top of the tenth inning.

The Hawks could wrap up their first pennant since 2000 with a win over Kintetsu on Sunday at Fukuoka Dome.

Buffaloes 9, Lions 3

At Seibu Dome, Tuffy Rhodes hit a pair of homers to power Kintetsu past Seibu.

Rhodes, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, connected for a grand slam in the fifth inning off Seibu starter Daisuke Matsuzaka as the Buffaloes took a 7-0 lead.

Rhodes hit a two-run shot in the top of the ninth for his league-leading 50th homer of the season.

Rhodes tied the Japan single-season home run record of 55 in 2001.

Marines 4, Fighters 3

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Koichi Hori belted a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift Chiba Lotte over Nippon Ham.

Naoyuki Shimizu struck out five over eight solid innings while giving up three runs to pick up the win.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 7, Tigers 5 (11)

At Koshien Stadium, So Tsutsui belted a tie-breaking three-run homer in the top of the 11th inning to lift Chunichi over Hanshin.

Motonobu Tanishige tied the game with a two-run double in the ninth inning in a 24-hit slugfest featuring 11 pitchers.

Giants 4, Carp 3

At Hiroshima Stadium, Yoshinobu Takahashi hit a three-run homer in the first inning and added a solo homer in the sixth as Yomiuri edged the Carp.

The win came a day after Giants manager Tatsunori Hara announced he was stepping down at the end of the season due to the team’s poor performance.

Yomiuri starter Koji Uehara went the distance to pick up his 15th win of the season.

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