• Kyodo


Shinnosuke Abe delivered a two-run go-ahead double in the fifth inning and the patchwork Yomiuri Giants’ bullpen held off the Chunichi Dragons en route to a 5-4 win in the Central League on Thursday.

Yomiuri went ahead 2-0 through Toshihisa Nishi’s two-run single in the first before Chunichi pulled to a 3-2 lead in the third, setting the stage for Abe’s two-out double to right at Nagoya Dome.

Brian Sikorski (5-1) and three other relievers held Chunichi to one hit after Yomiuri starter Kentaro Nishimura (0-1) was knocked out in 2 1/3 innings.

Swallows 8, Carp 6

At Hiroshima Stadium, Noriyuki Shiroishi hit a two-run double off Katsuhiro Nagakawa to break a tie in the ninth inning, and Akinori Iwamura and Kosei Ono both went deep to drive in five runs between them in a 28-hit slugfest.

Ryota Igarashi (3-1), who took over in relief with one out in seventh, allowed two unearned runs in 1 2/3 innings for the win. The Carp overcame a 6-1 deficit to tie it in the eighth before Nagakawa (3-5) gave up the winning run.

Tigers 6, BayStars 5, (10)

At Osaka Dome, Akihiro Yano singled home the game-winning run off Atsushi Kizuka (5-5) with one out in the 10th inning to give frontrunner Hanshin a “sayonara” victory over Yokohama for its third straight win, including one tie.

Tomoyuki Kubota (4-4), Hanshin’s sixth pitcher of the night, pitched one scoreless inning in relief for the win. The BayStars tied the game on a sacrifice hit by Masaaki Koike in the eighth to force an extra inning.


Buffaloes 8, Hawks 1

At Yahoo Dome, Hidetaka Kawagoe pitched one-run ball over seven sharp innings and Arihito Muramatsu drove in three runs on 2-for-5 hitting, lifting Orix to victory over league-leading Softbank.

Kawagoe (5-6) allowed three hits with four strikeouts and walked none to set the pace, helping the Buffaloes end a four-game skid.

He got run support from Muramatsu, who had a run-scoring bases-loaded single in a four-run sixth and a two-run triple to key a three-run seventh. Karim Garcia hit a two-run single and Mitsutaka Goto, Eiji Mizuguchi and Takeshi Hidaka also drove in runs for Orix.

Lions 5, Marines 4 (12)

At Invoice Seibu Dome, Jose Fernandez hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift Seibu to a walkoff win over Chiba Lotte.

Noguchi free agent?

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Chunichi Dragons left-hander Shigeki Noguchi acquired the rights to become a free agent on Thursday, officials of the Central League club said.

Noguchi said he is still focused on the pennant title race and has not decided whether he will declare himself a free agent.

The 31-year-old was drafted as a No. 3 pick with the Dragons in 1993 and was named MVP when he helped lead Chunichi to the league title by posting 19 wins in 1999.

Noguchi, who has also claimed the ERA title twice, pitched a no-hitter against the Yomiuri Giants in 1996. Thus far, he is 3-4 with a 3.20 ERA this season.

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