• The Associated Press

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Calling the World Baseball Classic a no-risk proposition for Japan, a senior representative of Major League Baseball rejected claims by Japanese baseball officials that revenue distribution for the proposed tournament would be unfair.

News photoMasahiko Kaneda of the Eagles pitches against the Hanshin Tigers during Saturday’s game at Fullcast Stadium. Tohoku Rakuten won 2-1.

Major League Baseball and its players’ association have already approved the 16-nation World Baseball Classic, which would be played in March 2006.

But officials of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball have argued that MLB and its players would get most of the profits generated from the tournament, the first World Cup-style event that would feature the world’s top professional baseball players.

“That’s just not the case,” Paul Archey, senior vice president of MLB International, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Saturday. “Every participating federation will potentially receive more money from this than every major league club.”

Archey said more than half of the net revenue created from the 39 games will go to the baseball federations of the participating nations while the other half will be split among MLB clubs and the other professional leagues and players’ associations.

“We’re taking all the economic risk,” added Archey, pointing out that as many as 250 players from the North American major leagues could take part while Japanese baseball only has to send 23 or 24 players. “We think we’ve been pretty fair to all the other countries and respect the fact that NPB is the second most established league taking part.”

Japanese baseball has been granted two seats on the tournament’s steering committee. One of the four first-round groups will be played in Asia, the other three in the United States.

Several Japanese players, including Atsuya Furuta, the head of the Japanese players’ association, have said they would prefer to play in November instead of March, just before the start of the regular season.

Archey said November isn’t an option.

Eagles on a roll

SENDAI (Kyodo) Yuji Yoshioka and Yosuke Takasu each singled home a run Saturday as the Rakuten Eagles stretched their winning streak to a season-high four games with a 2-1 home-game victory over the Hanshin Tigers in interleague play.

Yoshioka took advantage of a two-out, bases-loaded opportunity created on two hits and a walk for the opening run in the first inning at Fullcast Stadium and Takasu made it 2-0 on another bases-loaded single off Yuya Ando (2-4) in the second.

Masahiko Kaneda (3-3) walked none and held the Tigers to a run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings of work.

BayStars 6, Marines 3

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Shuichi Murata hit a tie-breaking two-run homer for the team’s second of three homers off Yasuhiko Yabuta (3-3) to ignite a four-run ninth inning as Yokohama snapped Lotte’s six-game winning streak with a come-from-behind victory.

Yuji Yoshimi (1-0) limited the damage to two runs on two hits, including a Lee Seung Yeop solo shot, over eight strong innings for his first win this season and Mark Kroon got the final three outs in a non-save situation.

Swallows 13, Fighters 5

At Sapporo’s Maruyama Stadium, Shinya Miyamoto and Akinori Iwamura drove in three runs apiece, and six of the starting nine had multihits in a 19-hit attack in Yakult’s lopsided win over Nippon Ham.

Masanori Ishikawa (4-2) was charged with four runs and nine hits in five innings, and received home-run support from Iwamura, Ken Suzuki and Yuichi Matsumoto.

Lions 4, Carp 3 (10)

At Invoice Seibu Dome, Toru Hosokawa singled home the game-winning run with none out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th.

Koji Onuma (3-3) earned the win for working a scoreless 10th after an RBI single by Shigenobu Shima in the ninth tied the game and forced an extra inning.

Buffaloes 5, Giants 0

At Kobe’s Skymark Stadium, former major leaguer Masato Yoshii combined with three relievers on a five-hit shutout as Orix handed Central-League cellar dweller Yomiuri its fifth loss in a row.

Designated hitter Yuji Goshima got the Buffaloes on the scoreboard with an RBI double with two out in the fourth followed by Hiroaki Onishi’s one-out two-run double that keyed a three-run fifth.

Hawks 12, Dragons 2

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Tsuyoshi Wada (5-4) won his first decision in his second complete game of the season backed up by an 18-hit onslaught that helped snap Softbank’s two-game losing skid and sent struggling Chunichi to its sixth loss in seven games.

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