YOKOHAMA – Hanshin lefty Atsushi Nomi went the distance and Kosuke Fukudome was 2-for-2 with four RBIs as the Tigers pounded the Yokohama BayStars 11-2 on Thursday and secured a berth in the Central League playoffs.
The second-place Tigers qualified for the Climax Series for the first time in two years and seventh time overall after downing the BayStars, who are in third place with no game difference over the fourth-place Yomiuri Giants, who were idle Thursday.
Hanshin will be able to secure a second-place finish in the league with a win or tie against Yokohama on Friday. The second-place ballclub hosts the third-place team in the best-of-three first stage of the playoffs to determine who will face league champion Hiroshima Carp in the final stage.
Nomi (6-6) held the BayStars to two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out two in his 93-pitch effort at Yokohama Stadium, where he and all his teammates in the starting lineup had at least one hit to total 16.
Fukudome opened the scoring with a bases-loaded, two-run single in the third inning, when the Tigers erupted for five runs, and backup catcher Taichi Okazaki hit a two-run shot — his second home run of the season as well as his 13-year career — two innings later.
After allowing the visitors an 11-0 lead by the top of the sixth, Yokohama got its first run on Masayuki Kuwahara’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning. Takayuki Kajitani belted a solo homer in the seventh.
“Because of what happened yesterday, I didn’t want the opponents to score early on, so I went into the game at full throttle from the beginning,” Nomi said, referring to Wednesday’s game against the BayStars who had built a 4-0 lead by the second inning before the Tigers came back to claim a 4-4 tie.
Nomi’s pitching was perfect until he issued a walk with no outs in the fourth and yielded his first hit in the fifth.
“My arm moved really well today,” said the 38-year-old veteran who tossed a complete game for the first time this year. “We really want to play (the Climax Series first stage) at home at Koshien Stadium, so we will just do our best toward that end.”
BayStars starter Shoichi Ino (6-10) was pulled after surrendering five runs on six hits and two walks over three innings.
Carp 3, Swallows 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yoshihiro Maru and Xavier Batista each had an RBI single and starter Daichi Osera (10-2) struck out seven over as many innings as Hiroshima won its last regular-season home game by defeating Tokyo Yakult.
The Swallows recorded their 94th loss, equaling the franchise’s most losses in a season set in 1950.PACIFIC LEAGUE
Fighters 4, Eagles 3
At Sapporo Dome, Toshitake Yokoo hit a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the eighth and Haruki Nishikawa had a walk-off RBI hit the next inning to lift Hokkaido Nippon Ham over Tohoku Rakuten.
The Fighters won their third straight game.
Hawks 8, Lions 5
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Fukuoka SoftBank rallied to beat Seibu, pulling ahead 3-2 in the third inning due to a bases-loaded fielding error.
Hiroaki Takaya belted a three-run homer in the fifth for the Hawks.
SoftBank closer Dennis Sarfate tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his 53rd save.
Buffaloes at Marines — ppd.
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