Baseball / MLB

Lions owner Tsutsumi denies merger reports

Seibu Lions owner Yoshiaki Tsutsumi denied press reports Tuesday that his club will merge with the Lotte Marines.

News photoHiroki Kokubo of the Yomiuri Giants hits a two-run homer off Chunichi starter Kenshin Kawakami at Tokyo Dome. The Dragons won 5-3.

“There will be no merger between Seibu and Lotte,” Tsutsumi told reporters after holding talks with acting Lotte owner Akio Shigemitsu, one day before a key meeting of the 12 ballclub owners.

Tsutsumi was tightlipped about details of a second merger plan involving Pacific League clubs, which he revealed in July shortly after the revelation of the planned merger between the Orix BlueWave and Kintetsu Buffaloes.

Tsutsumi is believed to play a key role in Wednesday’s owners meeting, which is designed to finalize the setup and schedule for the next season of Japanese professional baseball.

The focus of attention is whether they will approve the Orix-Kintetsu merger after the players association decided Monday to go on a strike on weekends for the rest of September unless the merger is put on hold for one year to reassess its feasibility.

The owners will also debate whether to keep the current two-league system or move to one league with a reduced number of teams through mergers.

Marines sink Hawks

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Kazuya Fukuura, Tomoya Satozaki and Koichi Hori homered to combine for six runs off Tsuyoshi Wada, leading a 13-hit attack in the Lotte Marines’ 7-4 victory over the first-place Daiei Hawks on Tuesday.

Fukuura hit a two-run shot in the first inning, followed by Satozaki’s solo blast and a three-run drive by Hori in the second as Lotte built a 6-0 lead at Fukuoka Dome.

Lions at Buffaloes — ppd.

Fighters at BlueWave — ppd.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 5, Giants 3

At Tokyo Dome, Alex Ochoa hit a game-tying RBI single and Mitsunobu Takahashi drew a bases-loaded walk for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as first-place Chunichi beat Yomiuri.

Hiroki Kokubo homered twice, his 37th and 38th homers of the season for the Giants.

Swallows at Tigers — ppd.

BayStars at Carp — ppd.