Jefry Marte and Haruto Takahashi hold the Tigers in the middle of the pennant race

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Jefry Marte scored his second home run with three runs in two days, and Haruto Takahashi threw his second shutout when the runner-up Hanshin Tigers beat the Chunichi Dragons 3-0 in the Central League on Saturday.

Looking for their first CL pennant in 16 years, the Tigers are one game behind the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Takahashi (3-1) has not allowed a run since giving six to the Swallows on his late season debut on Sept. 9, doing the job.

Marte gave Dragons starting pitcher Yariel Rodriguez (0-4) the devastating blow in the first inning and shot his 21st home run after no-out singles by Koji Chikamoto and Takumu Nakano.

“I’m really happy with that,” said Marte. “You always want to get a few runs for your mug early on.”

Takahashi, who had only lost to Yakult this season, will face the CL leaders in a week.

“I can’t explain these results other than to say that the guys behind me played good games and I was a little lucky,” said Takahashi. “Personally, I want to take revenge (against Yakult) after they defeat me. I think this is normal.”

At Mazda Stadium, Tetsuto Yamada scored a two-run home run and Domingo Santana a three-run blast, and the Swallows held on to beat Hiroshima Carp 9-5.

In the Tokyo Dome, Seiya Matsubara scored three runs and Hayato Sakamoto drove three when the third-placed Yomiuri Giants were four games behind Hanshin with a 5-4 win over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (16-5) won his 13th straight decision with a two-hitter when Orix Buffaloes, leader of the Pacific League, defeated the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in fourth place 6-0.

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Takayuki Kishi (8-9) allowed a six innings run when the third-placed Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles beat the second-placed Chiba Lotte Marines 6-1, leaving Lotte 1½ games behind Orix.

In the Sapporo Dome, Yuto Takahama doubled the starting shot in the seventh inning when the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters defeated the Saitama Seibu Lions 2-1 in a clash between the two bottom teams in the PL.

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