Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Fighters hang on to beat Lions in playoff action

AP , SAITAMA, JAPAN

Michihiro Ogasawara drove in a pair of runs yesterday and the Nippon Ham Fighters survived a late scare on their way to a 5-4 win over the Seibu Lions in the second game of their best-of-three Pacific League playoff.

Ogasawara hit a solo homer in the first inning at Seibu Dome and drove in a run in the sixth when the Fighters scored four runs to take a 5-1 lead.

"We knew there was no tomorrow for us if we lost," said Ogasawara.

"We wanted to come out and get an early lead and take the momentum away from Seibu and were able to do that."

With the win, Trey Hillman's squad evened the playoff series at one game each and will be looking to advance to the second stage against the Daiei Hawks with a win at Seibu Dome on Sunday. Seibu won the first game 10-7.

Nippon Ham starter Carlos Mirabal picked up the win after holding the Lions to four runs on 12 hits over 8-2/3 innings.

Alex Cabrera drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth and Kazuhiro Wada made it a one-run game with a single up the middle off Mirabal that scored a pair of runs.

Nippon Ham closer Yukiya Yokoyama retired Game 1 hero Jose Fernandez with two out in the ninth to nail down the win for the Fighters.

Fernandez, who hit a grand slam in Friday's win, popped out to center fielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo to end the game.

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