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Shuichi Murata hit a three-run homer with no outs in the top of the ninth inning off Kyuji Fujikawa, lifting the Yokohama BayStars to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Hanshin Tigers on Thursday.

The second-place Tigers’ loss left the front-running Chunichi Dragons with a magic number of one to clinch the Central League pennant.

Murata sent his second home run of the night to left field after Fujikawa (3-4) walked the first two batters in the ninth at Koshien Stadium.

Craig Brazell’s RBI single put Hanshin ahead 2-1 in the fourth and Takashi Toritani added a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Shigeki Ushida (2-1) picked up the win with a scoreless eighth. Shun Yamaguchi escaped a two-out, two-on jam in the ninth for his 29th save.

Tigers starter Yasutomo Kubo pitched eight innings of one-run ball.

After the game, a retirement ceremony was held for Hanshin catcher Akihiro Yano.

The Dragons, meanwhile, have one game left to play — against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on Saturday.

Carp 1, Swallows 0

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Kenta Maeda pitched his second shutout of the season as Hiroshima edged Tokyo Yakult.

Maeda (15-7) extended his CL lead in wins after scattering six hits, all singles, and striking out four with a walk. Yoshiyuki Ishihara singled in the game’s only run in the second.

Shohei Tateyama (11-7) allowed one run in six innings. With the Swallows’ loss, the third-place Yomiuri Giants earned a Climax Series berth for the fourth straight year.

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