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And yet so far …

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And yet so far …

Maeda losses no-no bid, game in 9th

The Yakult Swallows went from the brink of the most embarrassing way to close out the regular season to scattering a few postseason seeds of hope with a walk-off win over the Hiroshima Carp on Tuesday night at Jingu Stadium.

Hiroshima starter Kenta Maeda carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning, but gave up a one-out double for the first hit, lost his shutout three batters later and slumped off the field as the loser after pinch-hitter Kazuki Fukuchi's game-winning single in a 2-1 decision.

Maeda, bidding for the season’s only no-no, surrendered a looping double down the left-field line to Atsushi Fujimoto, who was just the third batter to reach base off last year’s Sawamura Award winner.

Tsuyoshi Ueda’s infield single to short and a walk to Hiroyasu Tanaka loaded the bases for cleanup man Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, who beat the relay throw to first to avoid a double play.

Fukuchi, hitting .140 coming in, laced his second-career walk-off hit in 14 seasons into left field. His first was Oct. 9.

Yakult’s Shinya Miyamoto finished the season with a .302 average to became the fourth 41-year-old to hit over .300. The last was [current Chunichi skipper] Hiromitsu Ochiai in 1996.

Maeda (10-12) allowed three hits and three walks with four Ks to take the loss.

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