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Baseball: Hawks narrow gap on Pacific League-leading Lions

Yuki Yanagita drives in a pair of runs as the SoftBank Hawks close to within one game of the Pacific League-leading Seibu Lions on Sept. 22, 2019 with a 6-5 win over the Orix Buffaloes. (Kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Yuki Yanagita and Yurisbel Gracial each drove in a pair of runs as the SoftBank Hawks closed to within one game of the Pacific League-leading Seibu Lions on Sunday with a 6-5 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

    Yanagita singled in the Hawks' second first-inning run against tough right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-6). The Hawks' cleanup hitter then broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth with an RBI triple and came home to score on a two-out Akira Nakamura single.

    Gracial made it 6-2 in the sixth with his 27th home run.

    The Buffaloes rallied for three runs in the seventh, but Shota Takeda and closer Yuito Mori combined to keep the hosts quiet over the final two frames. Mori got the final four outs to record his 35th save.

    Yamamoto, who entered the game with a 1.72 ERA, allowed five runs over 6-1/3 innings to take the loss.

    Elsewhere in the PL, former Lion Hideto Asamura homered, doubled, walked twice, scored twice and drove in three runs for the Rakuten Eagles in a 7-5 win over Seibu. The Lions' loss froze their magic number to clinch a second-straight pennant at three.

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