Sun, Sep 28, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Daiei wiped out by BlueWave as the Buffaloes triumph

AP , TOKYO

Mitsutaka Goto hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday as the Orix BlueWave put Daiei's pennant hopes on hold with a 12-11 walkoff win over the front-running Hawks.

Daiei had a chance to clinch the Pacific League pennant with either a win or a tie, but lost to the last place BlueWave in extra innings for the second straight game when Goto connected off Hawks reliever Katsunori Okamoto.

Despite the loss, the Hawks saw their magic number to clinch the pennant reduced to one after the second place Seibu Lions lost to the Kintetsu Buffaloes earlier Saturday.

Jose Ortiz belted a three-run homer in the first inning as Orix jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after two innings at Yahoo BB Stadium, but the Hawks battled back and took a 9-7 lead in the sixth inning when they scored three runs.

Veteran Takeshi Yamasaki gave Orix the lead with a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh before the Hawks sent the game into extra innings in the top of the ninth with RBIs from Julio Zuleta and Hiroshi Shibahara.

Orix reliever Tomonori Kitagawa, the eighth pitcher to take the mound for the BlueWave, picked up the win after retiring the side in the top of the 10th inning.

The Hawks could wrap up their first pennant since 1999 with a win over the Kintetsu Buffaloes on Sunday at Fukuoka Dome.

At Seibu Dome, Tuffy Rhodes hit a pair of homers to power Kintetsu to a 9-3 victory over Seibu.

Rhodes, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, connected for a grand slam in the fifth inning off Seibu starter Daisuke Matsuzaka as the Buffaloes took a 7-0 lead.

Rhodes hit a two-run shot in the top of the ninth for his league-leading 50th homer of the season. Rhodes tied the Japan single-season home run record of 55 in 2001.

Kintetsu starter Kevin Beirne picked up the win after holding the Lions to three runs on six hits over 6-1/3 innings.

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