• Kyodo


Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit a two-run home run and Takumi Kobe’s tiebreaking single in the ninth inning lifted the Chiba Lotte Marines to a 5-4 win over the Chunichi Dragons in a preseason game on Wednesday.

Nishioka’s first drive of the spring gave Lotte a 2-1 lead in the top of the third before Chunichi went ahead 4-2 on an Atsushi Fujii two-run triple in the fifth at Nagoya Dome. Benny Agbayani had a run-scoring double in the eighth to cut the deficit to one.

Marines starter Shingo Ono struggled, yielding four runs on five hits while walking one in 4 1/3 innings. Dragons right-hander Kenichi Nakata, who is a candidate to pitch the season opener, gave up three runs and walked four batters in three shaky innings.

Fighters 5, Swallows 4

At Sapporo Dome, leadoff man Hichori Morimoto hit a tiebreaking double in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving Hokkaido Nippon Ham a walkoff victory over Tokyo Yakult.

Jason Botts’s three-run drive to the stands in left gave the Fighters a 3-2 lead in the fifth followed by Yoshio Itoi’s RBI double two innings later. But a Yuichi Matsumoto two-run double tied it in the top of the ninth.

Aaron Guiel hit a solo shot for Yakult.

Eagles 6, Hawks 0

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Teppei Tsuchiya delivered a two-run blast off second-year right-hander Sho Iwasaki to key a six-run third inning and Satoshi Nagai pitched six solid frames as Tohoku Rakuten blanked Softbank.

Rick Short went 3-for-3 with a run scored and Akihisa Makida contributed with a two-run single.

Iwasaki was chased in 2 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits.

The Hawks were limited to just three singles on the night.

Tigers sign Cheng

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) The Hanshin Tigers said Wednesday they have acquired right-hander Cheng Kai-wen, who is a member of Taiwan’s roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The 20-year-old university student, whose contract is for one year, passed a recent tryout at the team’s spring training camp.

“I am very happy I can join this great team,” Cheng said. “I hope to contribute in anyway I can to the team’s victory.”

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