• The Associated Press


Akira Otsuka connected for a solo homer in the fourth inning Wednesday as the Pacific League-leading Chiba Lotte Marines scored a pair of runs on their way to a 5-3 win over the Yomiuri Giants in interleague play.

Otsuka’s homer off Yomiuri starter Tetsuya Utsumi gave the Marines a 3-2 lead. Chiba Lotte took a 5-2 lead in the fifth on an RBI double by Benny Agbayani.

Marines starter Hiroyuki Kobayashi, who improved to 7-2, picked up the win after holding the Giants to three runs on eight hits over six innings. Masahide Kobayashi recorded the final three outs in the ninth for his 14th save of the season.

Tuffy Rhodes hit a game-tying homer in the bottom of the third inning at Tokyo Dome.

“It was a close game against a tough team,” said Chiba Lotte manager Bobby Valentine. “Our pitchers did a great job and our batters didn’t get down after Rhodes hit that homer.”

Hawks 6, BayStars 5

At Yokohama Stadium, Tony Batista and Kenji Jojima each drove in a pair of runs as Softbank won.

Kazumi Saito picked up the win despite giving up four runs on 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings. Koji Mise retired the side in the ninth for the save.

Cedrick Bowers took the loss after giving up all six runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Eagles 6, Dragons 2

At Nagoya Dome, Osamu Hoshino went 3-for-3 with three RBIs as Rakuten downed struggling Chunichi for its second straight win over the Central League team.

Hoshino hit two-run homer in the second inning and also drove in a run with a single to left in the fifth inning. The Dragons lost their fourth straight game and dropped to 4-13 in interleague play.

Lions 4, Swallows 1

At Jingu Stadium, Takeya Nakamura, Alex Cabrera and Kazuhiro Wada all hit solo homers for Seibu.

Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out 12 and picked up the win after holding the Swallows to one run on three hits over the distance.

Fighters 8, Carp 5

At Hiroshima Stadium, Tsuyoshi Shinjo hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Kuniyuki Kimoto went 2-for-4 with four RBIs as Hokkaido Nippon Ham downed Hiroshima.

Tsutomu Iwamoto picked up the win after coming in the third inning and holding the Carp to one run over 2 2/3 innings.

Buffaloes 6, Tigers 6 (12)

Cliff Brumbaugh hit a game-tying solo homer off Tomoyuki Kubota in the top of the ninth inning and sent the game into extra innings as Orix and Hanshin played to a tie after 12 innings.

Tomoaki Kanemoto, Makoto Imaoka and Shane Spencer all homered to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead through six innings at Koshien Stadium. The Buffaloes failed to score in a two-out, bases-loaded situation in the 12th inning.

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