The Seibu Lions had ace Daisuke Matsuzaka going against the fourth place Chiba Lottle Marines Tuesday night, but the Marines jumped on him four runs in the third inning and won 6-2 at the Invoice Seibu Dome. That loss left the door open for the Nippon Ham Fighters to take over first place and they did. The Fighters did as three pitchers combined on a 4-hit shutout over the Softbank Hawks 8-0 at the Sapporo Dome.
The Fighters now lead by one game with one game left in an attempt to get the top spot and bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks are now guaranteed third place. The Fighters will finish first with a win or a loss by the Lions. The Lions and Fighters play their last regular season games tonight. The Hawks have an additional game on 9/29.
The Pacific League playoffs will not start until 10/7.
In the other league:
The Dragons have 16 games left and the Tigers have 11.