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Right-hander Nao Higashihama pitched seven effective innings, Seiichi Uchikawa homered and drove in five runs, and the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka Softbank Hawks scratched out an 8-5 win over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Tuesday night.

The Hawks, who are the runway PL leaders under first-year manager Kimiyasu Kudo, won their third straight and saw their magic number to clinch the pennant drop to 10.

Softbank mounted a big early lead with a boost from Uchikawa’s three-run shot in the first inning and his two-run single in a three-run second at Victor Starfin Stadium. Kensuke Tanaka had a pair of RBI hits for the Fighters, who rallied late but came up short.

Higashihama (1-1) scattered seven hits and walked five and allowed two runs. Luis Mendoza (9-7) was chased after getting roughed up for seven runs in 4⅔ innings. Dennis Sarfate saved his league-leading 35th game.

Lions 3, Buffaloes 1

At Seibu Prince Dome, Ernesto Mejia hit a go-head two-run blast in the eighth inning off closer Yoshihisa Hirano (0-3) as Seibu beat Orix and moved into second place with its fourth win in a row. Takayuki Kishi (5-5) yielded one run over eight innings of the win.

Marines 5, Eagles 1

At Kobo Stadium Miyagi, Ayumu Ishikawa (10-11) held the damage to one run in seven innings and Ikuhiro Kiyota and Daichi Suzuki both homered and drove in four runs between them as Chiba Lotte snapped a three-game skid with a win over Tohoku Rakuten.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Carp 5, Dragons 0

At Mazda Stadium, Kenta Maeda (12-7) threw a four-hitter over seven shutout innings to match the league lead in wins and Brad Eldred hit a two-run homer off Tomoya Yagi (3-6) with two outs in the first as Hiroshima blanked Chunichi, which lost its 70th game.

BayStars at Swallows — ppd.

Giants at Tigers — ppd.

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