• The Associated Press


Alex Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning and added a three-run shot in the ninth as the defending Japan Series champion Seibu Lions avoided a three-game sweep with a 7-1 victory over the expansion Rakuten Golden Eagles in Pacific League action Sunday at Fullcast Stadium.

News photoYoshinobu Takahashi of the Yomiuri Giants nails a solo homer in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game against Hiroshima at Tokyo Dome. The Carp won 8-7.

Cabrera connected off Rakuten starter Kevin Hodges with a towering blast into the left-field stands for his second homer of the season in the first as the Lions jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.

The native of Venezuela gave the Lions a comfortable 7-1 lead in the ninth with a homer off Rakuten reliever Aaron Myette.

Seibu starter Fumiya Nishiguchi struck out five and earned the victory after giving up one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Marines 5, Hawks 2

At Chiba Marine Stadium, South Korean slugger Lee Seung Yeop drove in a run with a triple to left as Lotte scored five runs in the bottom of the third inning on its way to a victory over Softbank.

Kazuya Fukuura, who went 3-for-4, drove in a pair of runs in the same frame with a single up the middle as Bobby Valentine’s team won two out of three against the Hawks.

Hiroyuki Kobayashi picked up the win after holding the Hawks to two runs on six hits over 7 2/3 innings. Closer Masahide Kobayashi retired the side in the ninth for his third save of the season.

Softbank starter Takahiro Mahara took the loss after giving up five runs on seven hits over eight innings.

Fighters 5, Buffaloes 1

At Sapporo Dome, starter Satoru Kanemura went the distance as Nippon Ham downed Orix.

The Fighters took advantage of sloppy defensive play by the Buffaloes to score a pair of runs in the second inning and then took a 4-1 lead in the third on an RBI single by Fernando Seguignol and a double by former Yakult Swallow Atsunori Inaba.

Kuniyuki Kimoto hit a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth to make it 5-1 for Trey Hillman’s team.

Orix starter Hidetaka Kawagoe went eight innings and struck out six but took the loss after giving up five runs on eight hits.


Tigers 9, Swallows 5

At Osaka Dome, Shane Spencer, Andy Sheets and Tomoaki Kanemoto all homered to power Hanshin to a win over Yakult. Sheets hit a three-run homer in the fourth.

Sheets, who was acquired in the offseason from the Hiroshima Carp, hit a three-run homer in the fourth when the Tigers scored six runs to take a 7-5 lead.

Carp 8, Giants 7

At Tokyo Dome, Takahiro Arai hit a three-run homer and a two-run blast to lead Hiroshima to a win over Yomiuri and a three-game sweep of their season-opening series.

With Hiroshima trailing 7-6, Arai connected for a two-run blast to center off Yomiuri reliever Brian Sikorski to give the Carp an 8-7 lead. John Bale retired the side in the ninth to nail down the win.

BayStars 14, Dragons

At Nagoya Dome, Takahiro Saeki went 3-for-6 and drove in four runs as Yokohama cruised to a victory over Chunichi for its first victory of the season.

Takeo Kawamura picked up the win after coming on in the fifth and holding the Dragons scoreless over two innings.

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