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Isobe: Strong chance of indefinite strike

Kyodo

In the latest twist involving a planned merger between the Orix BlueWave and Kintetsu Buffaloes, Kintetsu players association president Koichi Isobe suggested Sunday the strong possibility of an indefinite strike.

News photoBaseball fans rally in Osaka’s Nakanoshima Park on Sunday to oppose the planned merger of the Kintetsu and Orix baseball clubs.

“We had a meeting before the game today and we are united in our resolve that we will fight. We will persevere until we can be satisfied with the situation,” Isobe said after a game against the Daiei Hawks at Osaka Dome.

The pro baseball players association has scheduled a meeting for Monday in Kobe and is likely to propose the first work stoppage in Japanese baseball history.

An injunction was sought by the association to shelve the Orix-Kintetsu merger but the Tokyo District Court turned down the request Friday.

Top officials of Nippon Professional Baseball decided to hold off on the merger following a nonbonding request from the court but will put the merger to vote at a special executive committee meeting Monday before giving the final seal of approval at an owners meeting Wednesday.

Marines stay in hunt

The Associated Press Shunsuke Watanabe pitched a four-hitter over eight solid innings Sunday as the Chiba Lotte Marines edged the Orix BlueWave 5-3 to stay in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the Pacific League.

Lions 4, Fighters 1

At Sapporo Dome, Jose Fernandez hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to lead Seibu over Nippon Ham.

Hawks 6, Buffaloes 5

At Osaka Dome, Hisao Arakane and Nobuhiko Matsunaka both hit solo homers as league-leading Daiei scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning on its way to a win over Kintetsu.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Carp 6, Dragons 5

At Hiroshima Municipal Stadium, Greg LaRocca went 4-for-5 and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Carp to a ‘sayonara’ win over front-running Chunichi.

BayStars 5, Swallows 3

At Yokohama Stadium, Hitoshi Tamura and Tatsuhiko Kinjo each drove in a pair of runs to lead the BayStars over Yakult.

Giants at Tigers — ppd.