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Andy Sheets hit three homers and drove in four runs and Shinjiro Hiyama had three RBIs as the front-running Hanshin Tigers routed the Yomiuri Giants 9-3 in the Central League on Tuesday.

News photoAndy Sheets of the Hanshin Tigers hits a two-run homer, the first of his three home runs of
the game, in the first inning Tuesday at Tokyo Dome. Sheets added two solo homers later in the
game to lead the Tigers to a 9-3 win.

Sheets put the Tigers on the board in the first inning with a two-run shot off Koji Uehara (6-9) and Hiyama’s two-run homer made it 4-1 in the fourth after Toshihisa Nishi cut the lead to 2-1 on a solo drive in the third at Tokyo Dome.

Sheets then connected off Tetsuya Utsumi leading off the sixth and capped the scoring with a ninth-inning solo blast off Hideki Okajima.

Akihiro Yano doubled home two runs in a three-run eighth.

Kei Igawa (10-3) became the first 10-game winner in the CL after giving up three runs on six hits, including solo homers to Nishi and Kazuhiro Kiyohara, in seven innings. Uehara allowed four runs and five hits and was chased after five innings.

Carp at Swallows — ppd.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Hawks 5, Buffaloes 3

At Osaka Dome, Tony Batista and Nobuhiko Matsunaka homered to help league-leading Softbank rally to beat Orix in their first game after the All-Star break.

Batista connected off Josh Stewart (0-2) for a game-tying leadoff shot in the sixth inning before the Hawks scored the go-ahead run when Orix second baseman Keiichi Hirano committed a throwing error on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder by Jolbert Cabrera.

Marines 3, Lions 2

In Kanazawa, Koichi Hori drove in two runs with a fifth inning double as Chiba Lotte beat Seibu.

Fighters at Eagles — ppd.

Eagles ax foreigners

SENDAI (Kyodo) Infielder Damon Minor and right-handers Aaron Myette and Matt Skrmetta will be placed on waivers for unconditional release from the Rakuten Eagles, team officials said Monday.

Minor, who was expected to play a pivotal role in the Pacific-League club’s lineup, hurt his left ankle in May and has slumped to a .200 average with no home runs.

Myette, 27, and Skrmetta, 31, have appeared in just three and five games with ERAs of 6.23 and 7.36, respectively.

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