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Ariel Miranda allowed three hits over six scoreless innings as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat the Orix Buffaloes 9-2 on Sunday to preserve their slim lead in the Pacific League.

Miranda (4-3), who struck out four and walked one, won for the first time since May 19. The Hawks entered the day with a half-game lead over the second-place Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and the win prevented SoftBank from being swept at home by the last-place Buffaloes.

“Considering the team’s situation, I of course went to the mound determined not to drop this game,” Miranda said after the contest at Yafuoku Dome.

“I’m happy I could pitch this well with so many children in the stands today. My own two kids are the most important thing in my life, so I want to do well for all the children.”

Hawks relievers Ryoma Matsuda and rookie Hiroshi Kaino each worked a perfect inning of relief, although the Buffaloes broke through for two runs in the ninth against rookie Fumimaru Taura.

Orix starter Daichi Takeyasu, a right-handed rookie acquired over the winter, allowed seven runs over two-plus innings to fall to 2-1 with his first career loss.

“He threw so many hittable pitches,” Orix manager Norifumi Nishimura said. “We’ll need to find out what happened. But he’s going to get more chances going forward.”

SoftBank opened the scoring in the first, after a Kenta Imamiya walk and Seichi Uchikawa’s 350th career double. With two outs, Nobuhiro Matsuda singled both runners home.

The Hawks followed up with two-run homers from Seiji Uebayashi in the second, Alfredo Despaigne in the third, and Imamiya in the fourth.

Marines 4, Eagles 3

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Ikuhiro Kiyota’s ninth-inning, pinch-hit RBI single scored pinch-runner Hiromi Oka and gave the Marines a sayonara victory over Tohoku Rakuten.

Lions 8, Fighters 7 (10)

At Tokorozawa’s MetLife Dome, Fumikazu Kimura reached in the 10th inning on his fourth single and scored the winning run on a throwing error by Hokkaido Nippon Ham shortstop Takuya Nakashima.

Kensuke Kondo had tied it in the ninth for the Fighters with a three-run homer off Seibu closer Tatsushi Masuda.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 4, BayStars 2

At Nagoya Dome, Shotaro Kasahara (3-1) won for the first time since April 19, allowing two runs over six innings as Chunichi got past Yokohama to snap an eight-game losing streak.

Giants 16, Tigers 4

At Tokyo Dome, Alex Guerrero and Ginjiro Sumitani each hit a grand slam as CL-leading Yomiuri crushed Hanshin.

Carp 12, Swallows 5

At Jingu Stadium, 19-year-old Hiroshima rookie Kaito Kozono had three hits and his second career home run, while Aren Kuri (5-5) allowed two runs over seven innings as the Carp extended their current winning streak to nine.

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