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Takahiro Norimoto struck out 11, using his forkball effectively over seven shutout innings as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles blanked the Seibu Lions 3-0 on Monday night.

Zealous Wheeler hit a two-run homer with two outs in the fourth inning to put Rakuten in the lead at Kobo Stadium Miyagi. Ryo Hijirisawa added a sacrifice fly for insurance in the eighth.

The Lions cannot reach the Climax Series playoffs unassisted. The idle Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, who have a magic number of 2, can possibly clinch their second consecutive title on Tuesday.

Fighters 8, Buffaloes 7

At Sapporo Dome, Kensuke Tanaka and Kensuke Kondo had three hits apiece and drove in five runs between them and Hokkaido Nippon Ham held off a late rally by Orix to snap a five-game losing streak. Luis Mendoza (10-7) yielded four runs and seven hits in seven innings.

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