• The Associated Press

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Tomoaki Kanemoto hit a pair of solo homers Thursday as the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers defeated the Chunichi Dragons 8-4.

News photoHanshin Tigers slugger Tomoaki Kanemoto hits a solo homer off Chunichi Dragons starter Kenshin
Kawakami in the fourth inning Thursday at Nagoya Dome.

Kanemoto, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs at Nagoya Dome, connected for his 24th homer of the season in the fourth inning and then added another solo shot in the seventh, when the Tigers took a 6-3 lead.

“I was just trying to put some extra runs on the board,” said Kanemoto. “This is a very important series for us and we wanted to widen our lead.”

Hanshin starter Yuya Ando earned the victory after holding the Dragons to three runs on five hits over six innings.

With the victory, the Tigers opened up a 2 1/2-game lead over the Dragons in the standings.

Chunichi ace Kenshin Kawakami took the loss after giving up six runs on seven hits over seven innings.

Swallows 3, Carp 1

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Alex Ramirez drove in all three runs to lead Yakult to a win over Hiroshima.

Ramirez drove in a run in the first inning with a single up the middle and then added a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Yakult starter Masanori Ishikawa struck out eight and picked up the win after holding the Carp to one run on four hits over seven innings. Hirotoshi Ishii retired the side in the ninth for the save.

BayStars 5, Giants 3

At Tokyo Dome, Masaaki Koike drove in a pair of runs in the seventh inning to lead Yokohama to a win over Yomiuri.

Yokohama starter Yoshihiro Doi earned the victory after holding the Giants to two runs on six hits over six innings and Marc Kroon retired the side in the ninth for his 19th save of the season.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Buffaloes 13, Eagles 0

In Kobe, red-hot Karim Garcia went 4-for-5 with six RBIs to power Orix to a resounding shutout victory over Rakuten.

Former New York Yankee Garcia, who had three homers in Wednesday’s win, had two solo homers and a three-run homer to lead Orix to the one-sided win at Skymark Stadium.

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