• The Associated Press

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Veteran Makoto Kaneko connected for a grand slam in the fifth inning Sunday as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters downed the Pacific League-leading Softbank Hawks 10-6.

News photoHanshin hurlers Jeff Williams (left) and Tomoyuki Kubota acknowledge the crowd Sunday after
the Tigers beat the Yomiuri Giants 6-2 at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

Tomochika Tsuboi hit a solo homer in the second inning at Sapporo Dome and Kuniyuki Kimoto added a three-run blast in the third before Kaneko gave the Fighters a commanding 10-1 lead in the fifth with his third homer of the season.

Tony Batista hit a three-run homer in the sixth for the Hawks and Sadaharu Oh’s team added another run in the seventh but couldn’t close the gap and lost their second straight game in Hokkaido.

Yusaku Iriki picked up the win after holding the Hawks to three runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Lions 8, Eagles 2

At Invoice Seibu Dome, Hiroyuki Nakajima hit a grand slam in a five-run first inning to power Seibu to a win over Tohoku Rakuten.

Kazuyuki Hoashi picked up the win after holding the Eagles to two runs on seven hits over six innings.

Marines 4, Buffaloes 0

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Saburo Omura, Lee Seung Yeop and Tomoya Satozaki all connected for solo homers as Chiba Lotte blanked Orix.

Tomohiro Kuroki picked up the win after holding the Buffaloes to seven hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. With the victory, the Marines pulled to within three games of Softbank in the standings and wrapped up a place in the Pacific League playoffs.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 6, Giants 2

At Koshien Stadium, Tomoaki Kanemoto hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Akihiro Yano drove in a pair of runs in the sixth on a clutch single as front-running Hanshin downed Yomiuri.

Tigers starter Naohisa Sugiyama held the Giants to two runs on nine hits over six innings for the win.

Dragons 3, Carp 1

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiko Morino belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning, leading Chunichi to victory over Hiroshima.

Swallows 3, BayStars 2

At Jingu Stadium, Akinori Iwamura drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Yakult over Yokohama.

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