CHIBA – Hiroshi Narahara singled with two outs in the top of the 11th inning to drive home the go-ahead run, leading the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 5-4 victory over the Chiba Lotte Marines on Saturday afternoon.
The Fighters, who will move from Tokyo to Sapporo next season, ended their losing streak after six games and ended the season on a high note with the win.
Jose Fernandez had a two-run double for the Marines in a three-run ninth as the home team knotted the score to force extra innings at Chiba Marine Stadium.
Tatsuhito Kato (2-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the 10th and 11th to earn the win.
In the second, the Fighters loaded the bases on a walk, a hit and an error and Makoto Kaneko and Tsutomu Ishimoto hit back-to-back singles to provide three runs. Two outs later, Michihiro Ogasawara delivered a sacrifice fly to reach 100 RBIs for the first time in three years.
Kiyoshi Hatsushiba scored the Marines’ opening run on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Arakaki likely to play
FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Fukuoka Daiei Hawks manager Sadaharu Oh said on Saturday that right-hander Nagisa Arakaki, who injured his right ankle in August, will be placed on the 40-man roster for the upcoming Japan Series against the Hanshin Tigers.
On the day the 23-year-old rookie took part in defensive drills for the first time since returning from an ankle surgery, Oh said he did not expect a lot from Arakaki, but just enough to be able to play safely at the series, which kicks off Oct. 18 at Fukuoka Dome.
“As long as he is able to play defense, there will be no problems. He will definitely be one of the players on the 40-man roster,” said Oh.
“We don’t need for him to play extraordinary defense. As long is he is able to chase down bunts and get the outs at first, he’ll be fine,” he added.
Arakaki, who finished the season with an 8-7 record and a 3.34 ERA in 18 games, would be an added boost to the Daiei pitching staff should he return to health, though he would most likely be used in relief instead of in the starting rotation.
“The ankle is so-so right now. It’s still stiff when I try to move it sideways but unless I can play defense, I can’t play (in the Japan Series),” said Arakaki, who had 132 strikeouts before twisting his ankle in an Aug. 2 game against the Orix BlueWave.
Also, Arihito Muramatsu is expected to make the roster as a pinch runner. Muramatsu, who stole 32 bases for the second most on the team this season, had been sidelined since he broke his collarbone in late August.
Buffs lean on Nori
OSAKA (Kyodo) Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes manager Masataka Nashida said Saturday he has given four-time Golden Glove award winner Norihiro Nakamura a deadline for deciding on whether to undergo surgery on his right knee.
“I told him he needs to make up his mind by Oct. 20 at the latest. If he gets an operation on the knee, he has to think about how long the rehabilitation will take,” Nashida said.
On June 10, Nakamura was deactivated from the top-team roster for the first time in six seasons to undergo treatment on his right kneecap, apparently injured in mid-May. At the time, doctors suggested he have surgery but the 30-year-old apparently refused.
Last month, Nakamura said he will not play in the Asian qualifying tournament for the Olympics that kicks off Oct. 31 in Sapporo. He had also opted out of the All-Star games this summer despite being fans’ second favorite among Pacific League third basemen.
Nakamura batted .236 in 117 games this season for his worst average in eight years and also snapped his streak of hitting over 30 homers after five seasons.
Tigers rule the farm
MINAMI-NAGANO, Nagano Pref. (Kyodo) The Hanshin Tigers farm team of the Western League blanked the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Eastern League 3-0 to claim victory for the second straight year in the minor league championship on Saturday.
The Tigers, who won their third overall title, broke up a scoreless game on Kenichiro Hayakawa’s two-run homer off Hayato Nakamura in the seventh inning and Hidemitsu Saito added a solo shot in the eighth.
Three Tigers pitchers combined on a one-hitter.
Hayakawa was named the Most Valuable Player and takes home an award of 1 million yen.
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