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Push and shove …

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Push and shove …


Buffaloes knock off Fighters, keep Lions at distance

The Orix Buffaloes gave the slipping Nippon Ham Fighters another shot to the gut on Friday, taking down Yu Darvish 4-2 and sending them to their fifth straight loss.

Darvish was going on short rest and the Fighters were trying to stop the bleeding, since they had already had a skid of six games at the start of the month.

Takahiro “T.O.” Okada led the Buffaloes’ offensive charge with his first career four-hit game -- his 14th homer, and a double and three RBIs against Darvish -- and Mistutaka Goto’s triple in the ninth inning broke a 2-2 tie and was the difference.

Yoshihisa Hirano (6-1) worked a scoreless eighth for the win as the Buffaloes moved to within 5.5 games of the Fighters. The Seibu Lions won and are three games back of Orix.

“We’re doing all we can to make it to the Climax Series,” Goto said of the Buffaloes, who are 13-5 this month.

Okada, whose lack of hitting got him shipped out to the minors last month, connected off Darvish for the first time in his career -- a moon shot to right. He doubled in Tomotaka Sakaguchi in the fifth and pushed home Goto in the ninth.

Nippon Ham’s Atsunori Inaba left the game in the fourth inning after doubling.

LIONS 6, MARINES 4

Ginjiro Sumitani tripled in the go-ahead run in the eighth and scored on Takumi Kuriyama’s third single of the game as host Seibu extended its season-best winning streak to seven and kept pace with third-place Orix.

Jose Fernandez had a solo shot and Hiroyuki Nakajima had two hits and an RBI for Seibu, which is 15-3 this month.

HAWKS 3, EAGLES 2

Munenori Kawasaki socked his first homer since June 4 last year, and Yuichi Honda’s RBI single in the seventh was the difference as SoftBank dropped its magic number to win the PL title to 10 with a win over host Rakuten.

Hitoki Tamura also had an RBI double for the Hawks.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

DRAGONS 6, SWALLOWS 2

Hirokazu Ibata’s single allowed Masahiro Araki, who kicked off a four-run eighth with a two-out double, to score on a nifty slide as Chunichi rallied past front-running Yakult to move to within 2.5 games of the top spot.

Masahiko Morino and Tony Blanco each followed with RBI doubles as Chunichi put together a rally after super set-up man Takuya Asao, who inherited two runners in the eighth, walked in the game-tying run.

The Dragons have won the first two in a four-game series and have the most CL wins with 61.

BAYSTARS 1, CARP 0

Futoshi Kobayashi (2-3) and four relievers combined on a six-hitter, and host Yokohama’s only two hits of the game came in the second inning on back-to-back doubles by Shuichi Murata and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo for the lone run in a shutout of Hiroshima.

TIGERS 4, GIANTS 4

Takashi Toritani’s ninth-inning RBI single up the middle helped complete a rally from three runs down as Hanshin and Yomiuri played to a time-rule tie at Koshien Stadium.

Hanshin fell behind 4-1 before scrambling for two runs in the eighth on RBIs singles by Takahiro Arai and Matt Murton before Toritani’s third hit of the game got them even with one out in the eighth.

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