SAPPORO – Shinji Shimoyama hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning as the Orix Buffaloes rallied past the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 6-5 to avoid a three-game sweep on Thursday.
Takeshi Hidaka’s RBI groundout in the sixth tied the score at 5-5 before Shimoyama’s double plated Tomotaka Sakaguchi an inning later at Sapporo Dome.
Mamoru Kishida (9-4) picked up the win despite giving up five runs in six innings. Chihiro Kaneko worked two scoreless innings for his third save.
Masanori Hayashi (3-1) took the loss. The Fighters magic number to clinch the Pacific League title remained at four.
Eagles 5, Hawks 4
At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Todd Linden had three RBIs as Tohoku Rakuten beat Fukuoka Softbank to climb into second place and reduce its magic number to two for clinching the final playoff spot.
Daisuke Kusano’s RBI single followed by Linden’s two-run double, both off D.J. Houlton (11-8), turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning. Linden also had a run-scoring double in the second.
Tsuyoshi Kawagishi (4-3) won in relief. Kazuo Fukumori pitched two scoreless innings for his ninth save. The Hawks dropped to third place for the first time since May 30.
Lions 2, Marines 1
At Seibu Dome, Takahiko G.G. Sato hit a “sayonara” two-run single as Saitama Seibu edged Chiba Lotte to end its four-game skid.
With runners on second and third, G.G. Sato delivered a one-out single to right off Shunsuke Watanabe (3-13). Takayuki Kishi (13-5) pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his career-high 13th win.
The Marines saw their winning streak end at six.