SAPPORO – Brandon Laird’s three-run homer capped a seven-run sixth inning as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters came-from-behind to beat the Seibu Lions 9-7 on Sunday and clinch second place in the Pacific League.
Ginjiro Sumitani homered and singled to drive in four early runs to help stake Lions ace Takayuki Kishi to a 5-0 lead, but the right-hander surrendered a pair of no-out singles and a pair of one-out walks that put the Fighters on the board in the sixth.
Sho Nakata’s two-run single chased Kishi. Lefty Shota Takekuma (6-1) gave up an RBI single to the only batter he faced. Yosuke Okamoto entered and surrendered Laird’s 31st home run of the season.
The Fighters will host the best-of-three first stage of the PL Climax Series starting on Oct. 10 against the league’s third-place club.
Hawks 1, Marines 0
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Kodai Senga (2-0) allowed a hit over eight innings to outduel Rhee Dae-eun (9-7) and Dennis Sarfate tied a PL record with his 40th save as Fukuoka Softbank shut out Chiba Lotte for the second straight day.
Eagles 2, Buffaloes 0
At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium Miyagi, Takahiro Norimoto (9-11) struck out eight and walked two, and Yuki Matsui completed the shutout with a 1-2-3 ninth inning as Rakuten defeated Orix and moved to within 1-1/2 games of the fifth-place Buffaloes.
Tigers 8, Swallows 1
At Koshien Stadium, Minoru Iwata (8-9) held league-leadingTokyoYakult to an unearned run over eight innings and Hanshin hammered Hirofumi Yamanaka (6-1) for five runs in 1-2/3 innings to move within one game of the Swallows.
Dragons 5, Giants 0
At Nagoya Dome, rookie Shunta Wakamatsu (9-3) worked 7-1/3 innings and three relievers completed the shutout as Chunichi beat Yomiuri to keep the Giants from moving to within a game of the CL lead.
BayStars 6, Carp 4
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Takayuki Kajitani and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo sparked a three-run, eighth-inning rally with back-to-back hits to open the inning as Yokohama came from behind to beat Hiroshima.
Toshiro Miyazaki tied it with an RBI single, the go-ahead run scored on a groundout and Hiroki Minei singled in an insurance run.
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