Blanco homer sends Dragons past Marines


Tony Blanco hit a tiebreaking solo home run in the fourth inning as the Chunichi Dragons rallied to beat the Chiba Lotte Marines 3-2 on Wednesday.

In a rematch of the 2010 Japan Series, Lotte jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run single by Kazuya Fukuura, but Ryosuke Hirata quickly answered with a game-tying two-run homer in the second at QVC Marine Field.

Blanco drove a high fastball from Yuji Yoshimi (0-1) over the left-field wall in the fourth for his fifth home run of the season.

Chunichi starter Maximo Nelson (3-1) settled down after a shaky first inning to pitch 6? innings.

Four relievers held the Japan Series champions scoreless the rest of the way. Takuya Asao got the final four outs for his first save of the season.

Fighters 3, Swallows 0

At Sapporo Dome, Yu Darvish won his fifth straight start with eight shutout innings as Hokkaido Nippon Ham snapped Tokyo Yakult’s winning streak at four games.

Darvish (5-1) allowed just five hits, walked none and struck out five before Hisashi Takeda pitched the ninth for his 10th save. Sho Nakata opened the scoring with an RBI single in the second.

Hawks 9, Carp 0

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, D.J. Houlton threw a two-hitter for his second shutout of the season as Softbank routed Hiroshima.

Houlton (5-1) struck out 10 and walked none in a 118-pitch outing. Toru Hosokawa doubled in two runs in a five-run second inning against Carp pitcher Jumpei Shinoda (2-3).

Lions 5, BayStars 2

At Tokorozawa’s Seibu Dome, Hiroyuki Nakajima homered and drove in three runs as Seibu beat Yokohama for its third straight victory.

Kazuhisa Ishii (2-1) pitched seven innings of one-run ball, striking out 10. Yokohama has lost its last six games after winning five in a row.

Giants 6, Eagles 4

Buffaloes 2, Tigers 0

Asia Series set for Taiwan


The four-nation Asia Series involving this year’s Japan Series champions will be held Nov. 25-29 in Taiwan, organizers announced Wednesday.

League champions from South Korea and Australia will join those from Japan and the hosts in a round robin, with the top two teams playing in the final on the 29th.

The Australians will appear in the tournament for the first time. Taiwan will also be hosting its first Asia Series.

The Asia Series, the first to be held in three years, was originally scheduled for Nov. 11 but was pushed back after the start of the Japanese season was postponed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Eagles’ Iwakuma injured


Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma has been deactivated with pain in his right throwing shoulder, the team announced Wednesday.

The Eagles said the soreness stems from fatigue, and expect him to return in 10 days.

“It’s pretty stiff right now,” said Iwakuma, who is 3-2 with a 1.72 ERA. “The manager told me to get it right once and for all.”