OSAKA – The Pacific League-leading Fukuoka Softbank Hawks had to put the champagne on ice, at least for another day, in their bid to clinch their second consecutive pennant on Tuesday.
Softbank’s 6-1 loss to the Orix Buffaloes coupled with the second-place Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ 6-3 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles meant that the Hawks wereforced to wait as their magic number to clinch the title remained at two.
Softbank’s seven-game winning streak was snapped.
Orix’s Shunta Goto went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to contribute in a 12-hit attack. Goto opened the scoring with his single in the second and added a run-scoring single in a two-run fourth at Kyocera Dome.
Tony Blanco hit a solo drive with two outs in the fifth and two runs were added in the sixth, featuring a Takahiro Okada RBI double. Yuya Hasegawa had an RBI single for the Hawks’ sole run in the sixth.
Brandon Dickson (9-9) allowed one run in six innings for his first win in three months. Softbank outfielder Yuki Yanagita had something to celebrate: he got his 30th stolen base of the season to mark the “Triple Three” with a .369 batting average and 32 home runs.
Fighters 6, Eagles 3
At Sapporo Dome, Kensuke Kondo had a three-run double and the starting nine each contributed at least one hit as Hokkaido Nippon Ham defeated Tohoku Rakuten and kept its slim hopes alive in the pennant race.
Mitsuo Yoshikawa (11-7) yielded two runs in five innings of the win.
Tigers 3, Dragons 0
At Koshien Stadium, Shintaro Fujinami (13-6) pitched eight scoreless innings en route to matching the league lead in wins, Ryota Arai hit a two-run blast off Yudai Ono (11-9) in the second, and Hanshin beat Chunichi to snap a four-game winless streak.
Carp 1, Giants 0
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima scored the lone run on an error by shortstop Hayato Sakamoto in the second inning and Kris Johnson (12-7) tossed eight shutout frames, leading his team over Yomiuri as the Carp returned to .500 for the first time since March 31.
Tomoyuki Sugano (9-10) took the loss.
Swallows 2, BayStars 1
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Tokyo Yakult catcher Yuhei Nakamura hit a walk-off RBI single to break a 1-1 tie in the ninth inning, liftingthe Swallows over Yokohama.
Yakult retained its lead in the CL standings.
Reliever Tony Barnette (3-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
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