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Brian Buchanan went 4-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs Saturday as the Softbank Hawks beat the Seibu Lions 9-5 to extend their winning streak to five games and pull within one game of the first-place Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

News photoRakuten’s Takeshi Yamasaki hits a home run in the fourth inning of the Eagles’ game against Orix on
Saturday at Skymark Stadium. Rakuten won 4-3.
KYODO PHOTO

Softbank jumped out to a 4-0 lead on an RBI double by Nobuhiko Matsunaka and a two-run homer by Hiroki Kokubo in the first inning and Buchanan’s solo home run off Kazuyuki Hoashi (1-3) in the second at Yahoo Dome.

Buchanan added an RBI double in a four-run third and capped Softbank’s scoring with another solo shot in the fifth.

Rick Guttormson (4-6) threw eight innings of two-run ball to pick up his first win since June 14. Seibu scored three runs in the ninth off reliever Jason Standridge, but the rally was too late.

Marines 6, Fighters 2 (8)

At Kushiro Stadium, Jose Ortiz homered and drove in four runs to back a strong outing by Yoshihisa Naruse as Chiba Lotte defeated Nippon Ham in a game called after the top of the eighth inning because of rain.

Ortiz drove in Lotte’s second run with a sacrifice fly in a three-run first inning and hit a three-run homer off Satoru Kanemura (5-5) in the third for a 6-0 lead.

Naruse (9-1) won his third straight start after carrying a shutout into the seventh until Taiwanese shortstop Yang Chung-shou doubled in two runs.

Eagles 4 Buffaloes 3

At Skymark Stadium, Takeshi Yamasaki hit his Japanese baseball-leading 34th home run in the fourth inning and singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh as Tohoku Rakuten edged Orix to move back to fifth place in the Pacific League.

Rakuten rookie Masahiro Tanaka (8-4) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and three walks at Skymark Stadium. Shinichiro Koyama earned his second save with a perfect ninth.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Carp 5, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, Shigeru Morikasa went 3-for-4 with three RBIs Saturday, helping to power Hiroshima to a win over the Giants. Ken Takahashi (3-3) pitched six-plus shutout innings, allowing four hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Katsuhiro Nagakawa got the final out for his 18th save. Jeremy Powell (0-1), back from a knee injury that has sidelined him the entire season, took the loss.

Dragons 5, Swallows 4

At Jingu Stadium, Motonobu Tanishige hit a two-run drive in the fourth inning and had three RBIs, igniting a rally as Chunichi overcame a four-run deficit en route to a slim victory.

BayStars 7, Tigers 2

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