• The Associated Press


Hiroyuki Kobayashi tossed a two-hitter over the distance Sunday as the Pacific League-leading Chiba Lotte Marines downed the Nippon Ham Fighters 5-1 for their fifth straight win.

News photoAtsushi Fujimoto celebrates with Hanshin teammate Akihiro Yano after hitting a game-ending, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Tigers to a 2-1 win over the Yokohama BayStars at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on Sunday.

Kobayashi, who improved to 2-1, struck out eight batters and issued only one walk as Bobby Valentine’s team completed a three-game sweep of the Fighters at Chiba Marine Stadium.

The Marines scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Former New York Mets infielder Matt Franco drove in a run with a single up the middle and Tasuku Hashimoto made it 3-1 with a double to right that scored a pair of runs.

Leadoff hitter Tsuyoshi Nishioka also drove in a run in the seventh with a single to left.

Nippon Ham starter Satoru Kanemura took the loss after giving up four runs on eight his over 6 2/3 innings.

Hawks 4, Lions 1

At Yahoo Dome, Julio Zuleta hit a three-run homer to straightaway center field in the bottom of the third inning to power Softbank to a win over Seibu.

“I was able to get the fat part of bat on the ball and it went a long way,” said Zuleta. “We lost two in a row to Seibu so we really needed a win today.”

Softbank starter Takahiro Mahara held the Lions to one run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Reliever Koji Mise pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth and retired the side in the ninth as the Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak.

Mahara, who struck out six, improved to 2-0 on the season.

Seibu’s Alex Cabrera didn’t play in Sunday’s game after being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Hawks.

Buffaloes 5, Eagles 3

At Osaka Dome, catcher Takeshi Hidaka drove in a pair of runs with a single up the middle in the sixth inning to lead Orix to a win over Rakuten.

Orix starter Hidetaka Kawagoe earned the victory after holding the Eagles to one run on three hits over seven innings.


Carp 5, Swallows 3

Takahiro Asai drove in a pair of runs with a single as Hiroshima did all its scoring in the bottom of the second en route to a win over Yakult at Hiroshima Municipal Stadium.

Hiroshima starter Kan Otake earned the victory after holding the Swallows to two runs on eight hits over seven innings while Katsuhiro Nagakawa recorded the final out in the ninth for the save.

Tigers 2, BayStars 1

At Koshien Stadium, Atsushi Fujimoto drove in a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth with a single to left to lift front-running Hanshin to a walkoff victory over Yokohama.

Takahiro Saeki drove in a run for the BayStars in the top of the ninth but Yokohama closer Kazuhiro Sasaki couldn’t hold the lead and took the loss.

Dragons 10, Giants 0

At Tokyo Dome, veteran lefty Masahiro Yamamoto gave up three hits over seven scoreless innings as Chunichi cruised to a victory over Yomiuri.

Masahiko Morino drove in three runs — including a two-run homer in the eighth — to lead the Chunichi attack.

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