• The Associated Press

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Koichi Hori connected for a grand slam in the fifth inning Wednesday night as the Chiba Lotte Marines trounced the Softbank Hawks 13-3 to move within two games of the Pacific League leaders.

News photo
Lotte Marines starter Dan Serafini pitches against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Matt Franco added a two-run homer in the fifth at Chiba Marine Stadium, as Bobby Valentine’s team won the first three games of a key four-game series against front-running Softbank.

Toshiaki Imae added a three-run homer in the seventh to give the Marines an 11-2 lead.

Lotte starter Dan Serafini picked up the win after holding the Hawks to two runs on five hits over six innings.

Keizaburo Tanoue took the loss after being rocked for six runs on five hits in just 4 1/3 innings for the Hawks, who have now lost four of their last five games.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 4, Dragons 0

News photoTsuyoshi Shimoyanagi of the Hanshin Tigers pitches against the Chunichi Dragons at Koshien Stadium.

At Koshien Stadium, left-hander Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi gave up six hits over six scoreless innings as Hanshin defeated Chunichi to move closer to clinching the CL pennant.

With the victory, the Tigers avoided a sweep and reduced their magic number to win the league title to six.

Carp 3, BayStars 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Hiroki Kuroda gave up two runs on six hits over eight strong innings as Hiroshima edged the BayStars.

Tomonori Maeda, Koichi Ogata and Kenta Kurihara each drove in a run for the Carp, who snapped the Yokohama’s season-high seven-game winning streak.

Giants 3, Swallows 2 (12)

At Tokyo Dome, Satoshi Kuroda hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 12th to give Yomiuri a win over Yakult.

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