SAPPORO – Kensuke Tanaka’s RBI single broke a 2-2 first-inning tie and the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters held on to beat the Chiba Lotte Marines 5-4 on Thursday.
The Fighters, who finished third in the Pacific League, wrapped up their regular season with three straight wins. They will begin their postseason against the second-place Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Saturday, when the first stage of the PL Climax Series gets under way at Yafuoku Dome in Fukuoka.
Seiya Inoue drove in all four of Lotte’s runs with a pair of two-run homers, but Oswaldo Arcia’s two-run homer in the third gave the Fighters all the additional runs they would need.
Both leagues are scheduled to complete their final regular-season games with makeups on Saturday afternoon — the same day postseason play begins.