Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Hawks narrow gap on PL-leading Lions

Kyodo

Yuki Yanagita and Yurisbel Gracial each drove in a pair of runs as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks closed to within one game of the Pacific League-leading Saitama Seibu Lions on Sunday with a 6-5 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Yanagita singled in the Hawks’ second first-inning run against tough right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-6). The Hawks’ cleanup hitter then broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth with an RBI triple and came home to score on a two-out Akira Nakamura single.

Gracial made it 6-2 in the sixth with his 27th home run.

The Buffaloes rallied for three runs in the seventh, but Shota Takeda and closer Yuito Mori combined to keep the hosts quiet over the final two frames. Mori got the final four outs to record his 35th save.

Yamamoto, who entered the game with a 1.72 ERA, allowed five runs over 6-1/3 innings to take the loss.

Eagles 7, Lions 5

Former Lion Hideto Asamura homered, doubled, walked twice, scored twice and drove in three runs for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in a win over Seibu. The Lions’ loss froze their magic number to clinch a second straight pennant at three.

Marines 4, Fighters 0

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Atsuki Taneichi (8-2) struck out nine over eight innings, and the Chiba Lotte Marines scored three runs off rookie Kosei Yoshida (1-3) in one-plus inning in a win over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Swallows 10, Giants 3

The last-place Tokyo Yakult Swallows crushed the Yomiuri Giants at Jingu Stadium a night after the Kyojin clinched the pennant.

Tigers 3, BayStars 0

At Koshien Stadium, seven Hanshin Tigers pitchers combined on a six-hit shutout of the Yokohama BayStars, with 39-year-old Kyuji Fujikawa recording his 15th save.

Dragons vs. Carp (postponed due to Typhoon Tapah)