After losing the first contest of their three-game series, the Nippon Ham Fighters took two straight wins over the Softbank Hawks to come to within a half-game of the league-leading Hawks in Japan’s Pacific League standings.
Jose Ortiz whacked a two-run homer to give the Hawks a 2-1 win in Tuesday night’s opener to snap the Fighters’ three-game win streak. Nippon Ham came back to win the final two games of the set, however. Fighters ace Yu Darvish tossed his fifth complete game of 2009 in Wednesday’s 9-1 win over Softbank as Darvish’s record was lifted to 11-3. One night later, the Fighters won the rubber match, 3-2, thanks to Eiichi Koyano’s two-run triple in the sixth inning.
The Hawks are clinging to the PL lead with a 45-31-2 record, while the Fighters are right on their heels at 45-32-1. Seibu is third at 40-38-3. In the Central League, the Yomiuri Giants have all kinds of breathing room with a 47-25-7 record, 5.5 games ahead of 45-34-1 Chunichi and six games up on 42-32 Yakult.