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Buffaloes’ Hiroyuki Nakajima slugs sayonara homer in triumph over Lions

Teammate Stefen Romero adds a pair of long balls in dramatic contest

Kyodo

Two home runs from Stefen Romero and a ninth-inning walk-off blast from Hiroyuki Nakajima lifted the Orix Buffaloes to a 10-8 come-from-behind win over the Seibu Lions on Saturday.

Lions closer Deunte Heath (3-1), who had not allowed a run since July 18, surrendered a leadoff single to Romero in the ninth. Masataka Yoshida, who had doubled in the second inning and scored the game’s first run, doubled to put the winning runner in scoring position.

Nakajima belted Heath’s first pitch just over the wall in left for his third home run of the season.

“I was intent on deciding the game there,” Nakajima said. “I thought I ended the game when I hit it and started running, and I’m happy, too, that it was a home run. It was a first for me.”

Seibu battered starter Donn Roach for five runs over three inning, and tacked on two more against reliever Keisuke Sawada in the fourth to take an 8-1 lead. But the visitors wasted two-on, one-out scoring opportunities in the fifth and sixth and ended up paying the price.

The game still appeared well in hand for the Lions after starter Ken Togame’s six innings. Lefty Shogo Noda came on in the seventh, however, and surrendered two more runs.

Yuma Mune led off with a pinch-hit double and scored on Ryo Nishimura’s pinch-hit sacrifice fly. With two outs, Romero blasted a monstrous shot off Noda for his 20th home run, making it an 8-5 game.

“(The crowd) gives us a little extra motivation, especially in the ninth inning,” Romero said. “We’re never out of it. Guys came up clutch and Nakaji hit it out in the ninth.

“I was just trying to put a good swing on it and get on base, and I hit it really good.”

Lions right-hander Kyle Martin walked the leadoff batter in the ninth, and Takahiro Okada homered to left to make it a one-run game. The opposite-field blast was Okada’s 11th of the season and his first since June 28.

Fighters 4, Marines 3

Hawks 4, Eagles 3

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 5, Dragons 5 (12)

Carp 8, Swallows 3

Tigers 8, BayStars 3