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Baseball: BayStars slow Giants pennant pursuit

DeNA BayStars reliever Hiromu Ise pitches against the Yomiuri Giants in a regular-season game at Yokohama Stadium on Oct. 28, 2020. (Kyodo)

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) -- Reliever Hiromu Ise got Central League home run leader Kazuma Okamoto to hit into a rally-killing fifth-inning double play, allowing the DeNA BayStars to hold off the league leaders in a 10-6 win on Wednesday.

    Thanks to a loss by the second-place Chunichi Dragons, Yomiuri's magic number to clinch their second straight pennant dropped to two, and they can clinch it as early as Thursday.

    The BayStars hammered Giants lefty Yuki Takahashi (1-2) for seven runs, six earned, in 2-2/3 innings at Yokohama Stadium. Neftali Soto's two-run double was the big blow in the hosts' four-run first.

    BayStars catcher Hikaru Ito tripled in two runs in a four-run third after Okamoto's 27th home run, a three-run shot, tied it in the top of the inning.

    Okamoto came up in the fifth with no outs and the bases loaded and a chance to tie the game with one swing. Instead, Ise got him to ground to third. Okamoto just beat the throw to first to stay out of a triple play, allowing one run to score. Ise (3-0) then struck out two-time CL MVP Yoshihiro Maru to end the threat.

    Ise allowed a run over two innings to earn the win in relief.

    At Koshien Stadium, Jefry Marte's RBI double highlighted a three-run fifth inning as the Hanshin Tigers came from a run down to clobber the Dragons 9-1.

    At Hiroshima's Mazda Stadium, Atsushi Endo (4-6) allowed a run over seven innings as the Hiroshima Carp overcame Munetaka Murakami's 25th and 26th home runs to beat the Yakult Swallows 3-2.

    In the Pacific League, the newly crowned SoftBank Hawks got eight innings from ace Kodai Senga (10-6) in a 2-0 win over the second-place Lotte Marines at Fukuoka's PayPay Dome. The Marines' lead in the fight for the league's second and final playoff spot fell to just one game over the Seibu Lions.

    SoftBank's Ukyo Shuto tied Hall of Famer Yutaka Fukumoto's 46-year-old Japan record of stealing a base in 11 consecutive games.

    At MetLife Dome, Fumikazu Kimura hit a two-run home run and Takumi Kuriyama a two-run double as the Seibu Lions beat the Rakuten Eagles 4-3.

    At Osaka's Kyocera Dome, Drew VerHagen (8-6) threw a two-hitter and Nippon Ham Fighters catcher Shingo Usami broke up a scoreless game with a ninth-inning RBI single in a 1-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

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