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The Chiba Lotte Marines maintained their slim Pacific League lead after Takashi Ogino hit a ninth-inning home run and closer Naoya Masuda pitched out of a tight spot to secure a 2-2 tie with the second-place Orix Buffaloes on Thursday.

The teams split the three-game series at Hotto Motto Field Kobe, leaving the Buffaloes trailing the league leaders on winning percentage, .551 to .548.

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