Hanshin lefty Kei Igawa fanned eight over six innings for his 20th win while Tomoaki Kanemoto went 3-for-4 at the plate as the Tigers ended their season with a 11-3 victory over the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium for their club best 87th win.
Igawa (20-5) walked two and allowed two earned runs on six hits to become the first Hanshin pitcher in 24 years since Shigeru Kobayashi went 22-9 in 1979 to win 20 games.
With an ERA of 2.80 after 29 games, including eight complete games, Igawa is guaranteed two titles — in wins and ERA — this season.
Leading 6-3 in the eighth, the Tigers sent nine batters to the plate in a five-run, five-hit attack.
Marines 11, Fighters 2
Kazuya Fukuura went 3-for-4 with two home runs and Saburo Omura also had three hits to lead Lotte’s 14-hit attack as it beat Nippon Ham at Chiba Marine Stadium, sending the Fighters to their sixth straight loss.
Eto to stick around
Kyodo News Yomiuri Giants infielder Akira Eto, who obtained the right to free agency this season, has decided to stay with the Central League club, team sources said Friday.
“I spoke to Eto today. He told me that he won’t declare free agency and has decided to stay with the team,” general manager Hideaki Miyama said.
Eto became a free agent after the 1999 season and moved from the Hiroshima Carp to the Giants. He hit 32 home runs in his first year with the Tokyo club and was a cornerstone in helping the team to victory in the Japan Series the same year.
This season in his fourth season with the Giants, Eto hit .268 with 17 homers and 43 RBIs.
Buffs, ‘Stars eye trade
OSAKA (Kyodo) The Yokohama BayStars and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes are close to agreeing on a two-for-two trade involving two pitchers from each side, baseball sources said Friday.
According to sources, right-handers Ken Kadokura and Shinji Udaka from the Pacific League club and right-handers Kazuo Fukumori and Eiji Yano from the Central League club are to be traded.
Kintetsu executive Keisuke Ashitaka did not disclose the details of the ongoing negotiations, but said talks are in the final stages.
The Osaka club is reportedly seeking to strengthen its bullpen through Fukumori, who pitched in a team-high 62 games as a reliever this season, while the BayStars hope Kadokura, who has gone 6-4 in 20 games this season, can fill a spot in the starting rotation.
Yakult seeks southpaw
Kyodo News The Yakult Swallows have reached an agreement with Texas Rangers southpaw Tony Mounce on a contract for next season, officials of the Central League club said Friday.
The 28-year-old Mounce, who was promoted to the major leagues for the first time in his career in midseason this year, is set to sign a two-year deal worth an annual 40 million yen in addition to performance-based incentives.
This season, he went 1-5 with a 7.11 ERA in 11 games.
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