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


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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