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Terrmel Sledge hit a grand slam to highlight a six-run seventh inning as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 9-2 on Friday.

Sledge’s grand slam to right off Kanehisa Arime came after Atsunori Inaba and Shinji Takahashi drew back-to-back bases-loaded walks to put the Fighters up 4-2 in the seventh at Kleenex Stadium.

Nippon Ham trimmed its magic number to 24 for clinching the Pacific League title.

Kazumasa Kikuchi (5-2) won in relief. Tsuyoshi Kawagishi (2-3) took the loss.

The Fighters tied the game at 2-all in the third on Makoto Kaneko’s solo home run and Hichori Morimoto’s RBI double.

Buffaloes 13, Marines 4

At Kobe’s Skymark Stadium, Tuffy Rhodes hit a two-run homer and Koji Yamasaki drove in three runs, leading Orix to a rout of Chiba Lotte.

Rhodes’ 18th home run of the season, off Naoyuki Shimizu (4-6), gave the Buffaloes a 2-0 lead in the first inning and Orix went on to build a 12-0 lead through four innings.

Mamoru Kishida (8-2) allowed four runs in seven innings. Alex Cabrera had a two-run single among his three hits for the Buffaloes, who won for the first time in three games.

Hawks 5, Lions 4

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Hiroki Kokubo homered and singled in the winning run in the ninth inning to lift Softbank over Saitama Seibu for its third win in a row.

Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth with one out, Munenori Kawasaki hit an RBI double. Jose Ortiz had a sacrifice fly to tie it before Kokubo followed with a game-ending single to left.

Kokubo also hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth and finished with three RBIs. Akio Mizuta (3-0) won in relief. Koji Onuma (3-6) took the loss.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 2, Carp 0

At Mazda Stadium, Craig Brazell went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, Atsushi Nomi combined with Kyuji Fujikawa on a five-hit shutout, and Hanshin downed Hiroshima.

Brazell put the Tigers ahead 2-0 in the first inning when he delivered a bases-loaded single with two outs off Colby Lewis (8-7).

Nomi (9-8) held the Carp to five hits in 7 1/3 innings, while striking out eight and walking one. Fujikawa picked up his 18th save.

Swallows 3, Giants 3

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