Baseball / MLB

Central League-leading Dragons blank Tigers

Kyodo

Alex Ochoa homered and Takashi Ogasawara and Shinya Okamoto combined on a four-hit shutout Thursday, leading the Central League-leading Chunichi Dragons to a 4-0 victory over the Hanshin Tigers.

News photoAlex Ochoa of the Chunichi Dragons hits a two-run homer in Thursday’s game against the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.

Ochoa put Chunichi ahead on an RBI groundout in the first inning and hit a two-run homer off Kei Igawa (9-9) in a three-run sixth at Nagoya Dome as the Dragons won their third straight game.

Ogasawara (1-0) held the Tigers to three hits and struck out six in 6 1/3 innings before giving way to Okamoto, who gave up just one hit the rest of the way. Chunichi leads the league by six games.

Swallows 3, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, Atsuya Furuta homered for the second straight game with a three-run shot in the first inning as Yakult held on to defeat Yomiuri, which suffered a setback in its hunt for the CL title.

Carp 12, BayStars 5

At Yokohama Stadium, Tomonori Maeda hit a three-run homer and Greg Larocca followed with a grand slam to highlight a 10-run eighth inning as Hiroshima rallied to beat the BayStars its fourth straight victory.

Andy Sheets and Shigenobu Shima both went 4-for-5 with two RBIs as Hiroshima pounded out 17 hits against five Yokohama pitchers.

Livedoor eyes new club

Internet services operator Livedoor Co., whose bid to buy the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes has been rejected, is planning to create a new professional baseball club, sources close to the move said Wednesday.

The company will hold a news conference Thursday at its head office in Tokyo to announce the plan, the sources said. Baseball critics say, however, chances of Livedoor establishing a new club and entering the baseball business are very slim.

The company must win approval from more than three fourths of owners of the 12 baseball clubs and members of the executive committee of the Nippon Professional Baseball organization.

In late June, Livedoor announced it would seek to buy the Buffaloes following the revelation that merger negotiations between Kintetsu and the Orix BlueWave were in progress.

Kintetsu turned down Livedoor’s offer to purchase the debt-laden team shortly before the baseball club owners gave the green light to the merger plan between the two Pacific League clubs at a meeting on July 7.

The Pacific League clubs are in favor of a shift to a one-league system by reducing the number of clubs in professional baseball, making it difficult for Livedoor to receive their approval.

Railway operator Kintetsu Corp., the owner of the Osaka-based club, reached a basic agreement with Orix Corp., the parent of the Kobe-based BlueWave, on the merger of the two clubs Aug. 10.