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A seventh-inning solo homer by Ryosuke Hirata proved decisive as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Central League-leading Hiroshima Carp 7-5 on Saturday.

Hiroshima battled back from a run down in the sixth to tie it at 5-5 before Hirata hammered a solo shot — his eighth homer of the season — into the left-field stands off right-hander Daichi Osera (15-7).

“I thought that the only way to score was to homer, so I went to the plate with a strong determination,” Hirata said. “I knew it was a homer the moment I hit the ball.”

Hirata also sparked a five-run third inning, with an RBI single to open the scoring and scored on Yohei Oshima’s single. Dayan Viciedo drove in another run with a sacrifice fly before Zoilo Almonte blasted a two-run homer.

In the ninth inning, the Dragons loaded the bases with a walk and a pair of singles off right-hander Jay Jackson, then Oshima singled in another run.

Chunichi starter Shotaro Kasahara (5-3) earned his fifth straight win. He surrendered five runs — four earned — on seven hits and issued five walks over six innings.

Hiroshima’s Yoshihiro Maru went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a three-run homer in the fourth.

The Carp have already secured a Climax Series berth for the third straight year.

BayStars 3, Giants 1

At Yokohama Stadium, right-hander Kentaro Taira (4-2) picked up the win by throwing 6-1/3 innings as Yokohama beat Yomiuri for the second straight day.

The Giants dropped their fourth in a row.

Swallows 6, Tigers 4

At Koshien Stadium, Tetsuto Yamada broke a 1-1 tie before Shingo Kawabata added another run in the third inning of Tokyo Yakult’s triumph over Hanshin.

A late Tigers rally proved too little too late as Hanshin lost its third straight game, falling to the bottom of the CL standings.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Buffaloes 10, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, right-hander Taisuke Yamaoka (6-11) tossed his first shutout of the season as Orix hammered Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Masataka Yoshida opened the scoring with a first-inning RBI double, and Hiroyuki Nakajima went 3-for-4 with four RBIs for the Buffaloes.

Eagles 10, Marines 3

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Hiroaki Shimauchi blasted two homers to lead Tohoku Rakuten’s offense, while right-hander Takahiro Norimoto (8-10) earned the win by throwing six innings.

The Eagles ended their fourth-game losing streak.

Lions 11, Hawks 5

At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Takumi Kuriyama put Seibu on the scoreboard first in the three-run first inning and Hotaka Yamakawa hit a pair of homers as the Lions routed Fukuoka SoftBank.

Lions starter Kuo Chun-lin (1-0) recorded his first win in three years.

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