• Kyodo News


Norihiro Nakamura hit a tiebreaking three-run homer off Marc Kroon in the top of the ninth inning as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Yomiuri Giants 4-3 Saturday to earn the third and final postseason spot in the Central League.

Their seventh consecutive win ensured that the Dragons will finish the regular season in third and face the second-place team, the Giants or Hanshin Tigers, in the first stage of the Climax Series playoffs.

With the game tied 1-1 at Tokyo Dome, Nakamura ripped a 1-1 forkball over the center-field wall after Kroon (1-4) issued two walks and threw a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third with one out.

Hayato Sakamoto singled in two runs to pull Yomiuri within a run in the bottom of the ninth but Chunichi closer Hitoki Iwase retired pinch hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei for the game-ending out and earned his 36th save.

Masahiko Morino homered to put Chunichi ahead 1-0 in the second and Michihiro Ogasawara connected to tie the game.

BayStars 14, Carp 5

At Yokohama Stadium, Central League batting-leader Seiichi Uchikawa homered twice and drove in five runs as Yokohama ended a 15-game winless streak with an 18-hit attack and eliminated Hiroshima from postseason contention.

The bottom-dwelling BayStars took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on consecutive RBI singles by Yuki Yoshimura, Tatsuhiko Kinjo and Ryoji Aikawa. Uchikawa hit a solo homer in the fourth and a three-run shot in the fifth before capping a 3-for-5 afternoon with an RBI double in the seventh, raising his average to .377.

Futoshi Kobayashi (5-5) gave up five runs in eight innings for the win.

Tigers 2, Swallows 2 (12)


Eagles 4, Lions 3 (10)


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