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With a roar …

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With a roar …

Angry Lions come back to top Fighters

Takeya Nakamura of the Seibu Lions angrily asked the umpires, “Why me? Why me? after he was called for obstructing a runner in a sixth-inning rundown. The Lions left no question about their toughness.

Seibu rallied to take the lead on pinch-hitter Hiroshi Hirao’s two-run double that capped a three-run seventh and carried it to a 9-8 comeback win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Seibu Dome.

The Fighters had taken the lead with two runs in the sixth, and even put the tying and go-ahead runs on second and third with no outs in the ninth before rookie Kazuhisa Makita retired the next three batters for a six-out save in NPB’s longest nine-inning game of the season at four hours 19 minutes.

“In the second half of the season, there have been a number of games we could have won had I gotten a hit, so I just felt a strong sense of responsibility,” an emotional Hirao said after the Lions snapped a
nine-game losing streak to the Fighters.

“We just have to win games, there’s nothing else we can do,” Hirao said about the last-place Lions.

The second-place Fighters lost a chance to gain ground on the SoftBank Hawks, who had already lost at home to Lotte. But they couldn't hold the lead.

Nakamura, who hit a grand slam in the third for his Japan-best 29th homer, was called for obstructing Yang Zhong-sho between third and home. Yang was allowed to score and the Fighters added another run to take a 7-5 lead after they had blown a 4-1 cushion.

Lions skipper Hisanobu Watanabe argued with umpires but the call against his third baseman went unchanged. His team dug in and fought back, though.

“We have to show the tenacity we did tonight more often,” Watanabe said. "It’s important to show that you’re not just going to give up and I’d like to see more of it in the games to come.

“The lineup really strung hits together well and we had some homers, so I want this game to get us going.”

MARINES 3, HAWKS 1

Toshiaki Imae busted up a shutout bid by Tsuyoshi Wada (9-4) in the seventh inning with a three-run blast, and second-year righty Tomohisa Otani (4-6) scattered six hits and two walks over seven innings as Lotte downed SoftBank for the second straight night at FYJ Dome.

Jose Castillo had two of Lotte’s four hits, and singed after Tadahito Iguchi walked in the seventh to set up Imae, who cracked his eighth longball.

BUFFALOES 4, EAGLES 3

Naotaka Takehara, who joined Orix from Lotte in May, drove in two with a clutch go-ahead third-inning single, and Aarom Balidiris’ scoring flyball in the eighth proved to be the difference as the Buffaloes held off Rakuten in Kobe.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

SWALLOWS 6, CARP 1

Yuki Shichijo (4-0) gave Yakult seven strong innings and Josh Whitesell connected for two-run homer as the Swallows halted their season-worst skid at five by topping Hiroshima at The Zoom.

Shinichi Takeuchi’s two-run triple in the ninth iced it for the Swallows, who are five games ahead of second-place Hanshin.

GIANTS 8, BAYSTARS 7

Daisuke Fujimura had his fourth three-hit game, including an RBI infield single in the eighth that proved to be the difference as Yomiuri held off host Yokohama and reached the .500 mark by extending its season-best winning streak to seven.

Tetsuya Utsumi (12-2) wasn’t at his best, leaving after allowing four runs in 5.1 innings, but picked up his CL-best 12th win. Yuya Kubo nailed it down with 1.2 innings.

DRAGONS 1, TIGERS 0

Chen Wei-yin (4-7) went to the brink of a shutout, firing 8.1 scoreless innings before departing, and Naomichi Donoue’s RBI infield single capped a rally that started with two out and the bases empty as Chunichi blanked Hanshin at Nagoya Dome.

Chen scattered four hits -- three to Keiichi Hirano -- and a walk with six Ks in his longest outing of the season.

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