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Masaaki Koike and Tatsuhiko Kinjo drove in three runs apiece and Daisuke Miura pitched eight sharp innings Wednesday as the Yokohama BayStars handed the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers to their fourth straight loss with a 6-3 victory.

Koike hit a two-run homer off Shinobu Fukuhara (5-12) in the first inning and added an RBI sacrifice fly in the third before Kinjo padded the lead with a bases-clearing double in the seventh at Yokohama Stadium.

Miura (5-7) limited the Tigers to one run and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. Fukuhara allowed three runs and five hits in six innings in taking the loss as the Tigers slumped to their longest losing streak in three months.

Yokohama returned to .500 with its second consecutive victory.

Swallows 4, Dragons 2

At Nagoya Dome, Ryuji Miyade drove home three runs and Dicky Gonzalez threw seven strong innings in his first start of the season, lifting Yakult over Chunichi to its fourth victory in as many games.

Giants 8, Carp 7

At Hiroshima Stadium, Tomohiro Nioka and Shinnosuke Abe homered and drove in two runs apiece as Yomiuri held off a late rally to edge the Carp.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Hawks 5, Fighters 1

In Fukuoka, Naoyuki Omura went deep twice and Nobuhiko Matsunaka hit his league-leading 36th homer as front-running Softbank beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Marines 14, Eagles 6

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Jun Inoue hit a go-ahead two-run single in a five-run rally in the fourth inning as Lotte came from behind twice to rout Tohoku Rakuten.

Lions 6, Buffaloes 4

At Skymark Stadium, Alex Cabrera had three RBIs and Daisuke Matsuzaka notched his ninth win of the season, helping Seibu end its three-game skid with a victory over Orix.

Woods takes honors Tyrone Woods and Kenshin Kawakami won the Central League’s monthly MVP awards for July after leading the Chunichi Dragons’ longest unbeaten streak in six years.

Woods, who led the league with a .378 average in July, was named the best position player in the league while Kawakami was selected in the category for pitchers with a 4-0 record and an 0.61 ERA.

Woods was named monthly MVP for the second time and Kawakami received the honors for the sixth time.

The Pacific League selected Seibu Lions right-hander Fumiya Nishiguchi and Softbank Hawks infielder Nobuhiko Matsunaka for the MVP awards for July.

Nishiguchi went 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA while Matsunaka had a league-high 10 homers. Both players won the award for the fourth time.

Sasaki denies quitting

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) Yokohama BayStars pitcher Kazuhiro Sasaki said Wednesday he is eager to make a comeback to the top team while denying a report that he is set to retire from baseball.

Sasaki told club president Susumu Minegishi and manager Kazuhiko Ushijima that he hopes to pitch in an Aug. 9 game against the Yomiuri Giants in Sendai, the hometown of the 37-year-old right-hander.

“I just want to get myself ready to pitch again and I can’t think about anything else,” Sasaki said at Yokohama Stadium when asked about a report that he has decided to draw an end to his playing career and make his final appearance in the upcoming game in Sendai.

“If I have something to say about my future, I’ll speak about it myself,” Sasaki said. “Whether I get a recall to the top team depends on the manager’s decision and that’s not a matter that I can do anything about.”

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