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Alex Ramirez hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, denying the Chunichi Dragons their sixth league title in a 5-3 defeat to the Yakult Swallows in the Central League on Thursday.

Ramirez, who hit a solo blast in the second to tie the game at 1-all, connected with two outs off Shinya Okamoto (9-4) at Jingu Stadium.

Chunichi, which has a magic number of one, will clinch its first league title in five years with a win or tie in Friday’s game against the Hiroshima Carp at Nagoya Dome or a Swallows loss. It has six games remaining in the season.

BayStars 5, Tigers 3

At Koshien Stadium, Tyrone Woods and Takahiro Saeki homered and Scott Mullen (6-9) pitched one-run ball over seven strong innings as Yokohama held off Hanshin for a victory.

Kotsuka steps down

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Daiei Hawks said Thursday that Takeshi Kotsuka has stepped down as the acting owner of the Pacific League club for personal reasons.

According to Daiei Hawks President Hiroyuki Takahashi, Daiei Inc. President Kunio Takagi accepted Kotsuka’s request to resign.

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