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Daisuke Kusano went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Takeshi Yamasaki hit his Pacific League-leading 43rd home run, leading the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to an 8-2 rout of the Softbank Hawks on Sunday.

News photoChiba Lotte Marines starter Shunsuke Watanabe delivers a pitch against the Nippon Ham Fighters on Sunday at Chiba Marine Stadium. Watanabe went the distance for his ninth win in the Marines’ 2-1 victory.
KYODO PHOTO

Kusano broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run double in the seventh inning and added an RBI single in the ninth. Yamasaki capped the scoring with a two-run shot, breaking a tie in the home run race with the Orix Buffaloes’ Tuffy Rhodes, who is nursing a groin injury in the United States.

Yasuhiro Ichiba (6-2) held Softbank to two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. Nagisa Arakaki (7-9) was charged with five runs in seven innings.

Rakuten picked up its third straight win. Softbank has lost four in a row.

Marines 2, Fighters 1

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Toshiaki Imae tripled in the game-winning run in the ninth inning as Chiba Lotte rallied to beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Shoitsu Omatsu had a pinch-hit game-tying double in the eighth. Imae lined the first pitch from Takayuki Kanamori (4-1) into center field after Jose Ortiz reached on an infield single with one out in the ninth.

Shunsuke Watanabe (9-6) threw his second straight complete game, allowing only three hits and a walk. Nippon Ham took a breather after claiming the league title on Saturday.

Buffaloes 4, Lions 1

At Kyocera Dome, Yoshihisa Hirano pitched eight strong innings to pick up his first win since Aug. 7, leading Orix over Seibu.

Hirano (8-13) held the struggling Lions to one run and six hits before Daisuke Kato closed out the ninth for his 26th save.

Orix built a 3-0 lead on a Daisuke Maeda RBI single and a Shogo Makita sacrifice fly in the third and an RBI single by Yuichiro Mukae in the fourth en route to its first win in four games. Kazuyuki Hoashi (2-7) took the loss.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 3, Carp 0

At Hiroshima Stadium, Daisuke Yamai threw eight shutout innings to lead Chunichi to a win over of the Carp.

Yamai (6-3) allowed just three singles, struck out four and walked one batter to set the pace at Hiroshima Stadium. Hitoki Iwase worked the ninth for his 43rd save. Kan Otake (8-10) was charged with three runs — two unearned — in thelosing effort. Masahiko Morino drove in a run on an RBI single in the first and Chunichi took advantage of two Hiroshima errors.

The second-place Dragons closed within 1.5 games of the idle Central League leading Yomiuri Giants. Yomiuri, which has a magic number of two, can clinch the league title as early as Tuesday.

Swallows at BayStars — ppd.

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