• Kyodo


Seiichi Uchikawa and Akira Nakamura homered for the second straight day as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks moved within reach of the Japan Series by beating the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 4-3 on Saturday afternoon.

The Game 4 win in the Pacific League Climax Series’ six-game final stage lifted the Hawks to a 3-2 lead — as league champs, they begin the series in their home park with a one-win advantage.

Trailing by a run in the sixth, Uchikawa greeted new reliever Sung Chia-hao by drilling his third pitch over the outfield wall. It was his sixth career postseason home run, and made him the first player to homer in four straight Climax Series games.

Nakamura, whose two-run, eighth-inning homer lifted the Hawks to their first victory on the field in this series on Friday night, followed with a solo blast to put SoftBank ahead.

“I got a fastball and just tried to square it up,” Uchikawa said. “I’m a bit surprised at this. If I knew why this was happening, you can bet I’d hit more in the regular season.”

Dennis Sarfate, who saved a record 54 games this season for the Hawks, struck out the first two batters in the ninth before issuing a walk on a 3-2 pitch. With pinch runner Louis Okoye on second after a steal, Sarfate struck out potent Eagles shortstop Eigoro Mogi to end it.

BayStars at Carp — ppd.

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