Baseball / MLB

Kintetsu players protest against planned merger

Kyodo

Players from the Kintetsu Buffaloes voiced opposition on Sunday to a proposed merger with the Orix BlueWave.

First baseman Koichi Isobe, who is also the players’ association president for Kintetsu, said players are in favor of keeping the team as it stands rather than allowing a merger that would likely change the name of the club to the Orix Buffaloes.

“If there’s even a one percent chance of keeping the club, we’d like to move in this direction,” said Isobe, suggesting the players would support the proposed purchase of the Kintetsu Buffaloes from Internet services company Livedoor Co.

“Even though someone has offered to purchase the team, I don’t think it’s good for pro baseball that the owner (Kintetsu Corp.) is unwilling to hold talks,” said pitcher Tetsuro Kawajiri.

The players greeted fans who are up in arms over the planned merger after their game on Sunday, and promised to take part in a signature drive to stop the proposed deal for a new club in which Orix Corp. would hold an 80 percent interest.

Last Wednesday, Livedoor announced it will formally offer to purchase the Kintetsu Buffaloes for 1 billion yen to 3 billion yen.

However, Kintetsu rejected the offer outright, saying it had already agreed to the merger with Orix.

Hawks blank Marines

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Shinji Kurano scattered three hits in six strong innings and Akichika Yamada and Koji Mise completed the shutout as the front-running Fukuoka Daiei Hawks blanked the Chiba Lotte Marines 7-0 in the Pacific League on Sunday.

Kurano (4-1) walked just one in his 24th game this season and was no match for Lotte starter Koji Takagi (2-2), who allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings at Fukuoka Dome in ending the team’s six-game winning streak.

Kenji Jojima highlighted a three-run first inning with a two-run single and Nobuhiko Matsunaka capped the scoring with a three-run homer in the seventh, boosting his league-leading average to .361.

Jojima, who has 29 home runs for the most in the PL, also hit an RBI sacrifice fly in the third to improve his RBI total to 78.

Lions 8, Fighters 1

At Seibu Dome, Mitsutaka Goto (2-1) held Nippon Ham to two hits through the eighth inning and Tomoki Sato closed out the ninth for the Lions.

Tomoaki Sato went 4-for-4 with two RBIs to head a 14-hit attack. Sato singled in a run with one out and two on in the sixth to make it 5-0, and Alex Cabrera extended the lead on a bases-loaded two-run single one out later. Itsuki Shoda (3-3) took the loss.

Buffaloes 5, BlueWave 4

At Osaka Dome, Eiji Mizuguchi hit a two-run double off Kazuya Motoyanagi (5-8) with none out and runners on second and third in the eighth inning as Kintetsu rebounded from a 4-3 deficit and held on for a victory over Orix.

Jeremy Powell (4-6) gave up four runs and six hits in eight innings to earn the win and Toyohiko Yoshida got the final three outs for the save. Powell walked four, hit a batter and recorded a wild pitch.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 6, BayStars 5

In Yokohama, Hitoki Iwase pitched out of a two-out, two-on jam in the eighth inning and worked a hitless ninth for his 10th save this season as league-leading Chunichi edged the BayStars.

Swallows 3, Tigers 2

At Sapporo Dome, Alex Ramirez belted a “sayonara” hit after an Akinori Iwamura RBI sacrifice fly tied the game in the seventh, helping Yakult snap Hanshin’s winning streak after four games.

Giants 9, Carp 5

At Hiroshima Stadium, Tuffy Rhodes belted his 27th homer of the year and Yoshinobu Takahashi cracked two home runs as Yomiuri downed the Carp.

Brian Sikorski relieved 2 2/3 hitless innings and notched his third win.

Andy Sheets homered twice — hitting a three-run dinger in the first inning and a two-run shot in the ninth.