Yokohama BayStars closer Kazuhiro Sasaki has changed his mind about retiring and decided to continue pitching for the Central League club, at least until the end of the season.

BayStars owner Yukio Sunahara said Thursday night that Sasaki, who told the club Wednesday he was ready to quit after blowing three straight save opportunities, plans to finish out the season, but stopped short of committing himself for the final season of a two-year deal.

Sasaki confirmed on his official Web site that he will stay with the club and make a fresh start, saying, “I’ll refresh myself and feed off the support of my fans.”

“He told me, ‘Sorry to have worried you. I will continue to play.’ I was very pleased to hear this news,” Sunahara said.

Sasaki, who is playing in his first season back in Japan following a four-year stint with the Seattle Mariners, is scheduled to be deactivated from the roster Friday.

Manager Daisuke Yamashita said he will begin practice sessions in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, from Monday.

Giants top BayStars

Kyodo News Hisanori Takahashi pitched a four-hitter over the distance and Ichiro Horita hit a two-run homer to highlight a three-run fourth inning as the Yomiuri Giants pulled away for a 7-1 victory over the Yokohama BayStars on Friday.

Takahashi (4-5) struck out six and walked one for his second complete-game victory this season.

Tigers 5, Carp 1

At Osaka Dome, George Arias went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs to back Kei Igawa (9-8) in his first complete-game since June 2 and Hanshin snapped a three-game losing skid.

Swallows 6, Dragons 3

At Jingu Stadium, Akinori Iwamura broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run homer off Makoto Kito (0-1) in the fifth inning and Atsuya Furuta chipped in with a solo shot as Yakult eased past first-place Chunichi for a victory.


Hawks 5, Buffaloes 0

At Fukuoka Dome, Kazumi Saito pitched two-hit ball in his first compete-game shutout this season and Julio Zuleta and Katsuhiko Miyaji drove in two runs apiece as Daiei beat Kintetsu.

Lions 4, Fighters 0

At Seibu Dome, Scott McClain hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning and Fumiya Nishiguchi (10-5) pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings with seven strikeouts to post double-digit wins for the first time in two years as Seibu won its sixth straight.

Marines 16, BlueWave 2

In Chiba, Lotte sent 14 batters to the plate in a nine-run fourth inning to take an 11-1 lead on its way to a landslide victory over Orix.

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