Shohei Fukuda saved the day with a two-run triple in the top of the 10th inning to lift the Pacific-League leading Fukuoka Softbank Hawks to their seventh consecutive win in an 8-6 victory over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, and a loss by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters later Sunday, the Hawks saw their magic number to clinch the PL title drop to two.

After singles by Lee Dae-ho and Kenta Imamiya put runners on first and second with two outs, Fukuda tripled up the middle to drive in both runners at Kobo Stadium Miyagi.

Lee broke a 5-5 tie with an RBI single in the seventh before Rakuten’s Akihisa Makita’s two-out, RBI triple tied the game again in the ninth. But the pesky Hawks immediately answered back — and then some — when the Eagles’ bullpen imploded in the top of the inning.

Seiichi Uchikawa opened the scoring with a two-run double in the first. Rakuten rallied for four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Imamiya had a leadoff blast in the second and rapped out five hits on the day.

Softbank’s Hiroaki Takaya went 3-for-4 in the victory.

Buffaloes 5, Fighters 3

At Sapporo Dome, left-hander Sachiya Yamasaki (3-4) threw three-run ball over five innings en route to his first win since July 30 as Orix staved off Hokkaido Nippon Ham, which has lost five straight. Orix’s Tony Blanco homered and drove in two runs.Marines 5, Lions 4

At Saitama’s Seibu Prince Dome, Takashi Ogino had a suicide squeeze with one out in the seventh inning that overturned a 2-1 deficit when two runners scored on a poorly made throw home from pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (8-9).

Hideaki Wakui (12-8) yielded four runs in seven innings to earn the win over his former team.


Giants 3, BayStars 0

At Tokyo Dome, Kan Otake (3-3) walked none over seven shutout innings, Leslie Anderson and Shuichi Murata both homered, and Yomiuri completed a three-game sweep of Yokohama. Hirokazu Sawamura saved his 31st game of the year.

Carp 3, Tigers 0

At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Kenta Maeda (13-7) allowed two hits over seven strong innings to grab the league lead in wins, Brad Eldred homered for the second straight day and Hiroshima blanked listless Hanshin, which slipped into second place.

Swallows 2, Dragons 2 (12)

At Nagoya Dome, Tokyo Yakult’s Yuichi Matsumoto had an RBI single in the seventh inning, and Kazuhiro Hatakeyama hit a game-tying homer in eighth, as the Swallows played to a tie against Chunichi and retook sole possession of first place in the CL standings.

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