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Matsunaka hits 44th homer to lift Hawks

Kyodo

Hisao Arakane delivered an RBI double to break a 1-1 tie in the second inning and Nobuhiko Matsunaka and Julio Zuleta hit solo homers as the first-place Daiei Hawks defeated the Orix BlueWave 5-3 in the Pacific League on Tuesday.

News photoShinjiro Hiyama of the Hanshin Tigers hits a run-scoring double off Chunichi starter Kenshin Kawakami in the second inning at Koshien Stadium. The Dragons won 4-3.

Matsunaka’s league-leading 44th homer this season gave Daiei a 3-1 lead in the fourth and Zuleta capped the scoring with his 33rd blast in the sixth at Yahoo BB Stadium.

Marines 8, Buffaloes 1

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Matt Franco went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Hiroyuki Kobayashi (9-6) pitched one-run ball over the distance to power Lotte to a victory over Kintetsu, returning to .500 and to third place in the PL standings.

Lions 8, Fighters 4

At Seibu Dome, Alex Cabrera hit a game-tying three-run homer in the third inning and Kazuhiro Wada followed with a go-ahead solo homer as the Lions pulled away to beat Nippon Ham and secure at least second place in the PL standings.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 4, Tigers 3 (11)

At Koshien Stadium, Motonobu Tanishige hit a tie-breaking homer with two out in the top of the 11th inning as Chunichi mounted a late-inning rally to edge Hanshin.

Swallows 6, BayStars 1

At Jingu Stadium, Alex Ramirez hit homers in back-to-back at-bats, both off Ryotaro Doi (3-3), to drive in four runs and highlight a 3-for-4 evening that boosted his average to .306 in Yakult’s come-from-behind victory over Yokohama.

Yamamoto to stay

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Koji Yamamoto has accepted the front office’s request to take charge as the manager of the Hiroshima Carp again next season, officials of the Central League club said Tuesday.

Galliard set for release

The Yokohama BayStars said Tuesday the team will not renew the contract of Eddie Gaillard for next season but will continue talks with Tyrone Woods in a bid to retain the services of the 2003 Central League home-run king.