Don't throw at Benny Agbayani. Actually, this fight in a game between the Seibu Lions and the Lotte Marines was likely no worse than anything that you would see in MLB. However, baseball fights are much rarer in Japan.
The Seibu Lions squandered an opportunity to clinch the Pacific League pennant for yet another day, crumbling to the Lotte Marines 9-1 Wednesday in a game marred by a judo-style fight and an ejection. Seibu's magic number to win the league title remained at one after its third straight home loss and the Orix Buffaloes' 4-1 win at the Softbank Hawks. The Lions, who hold a five-game edge over Orix, will now travel to Sapporo for a two-game series against the Nippon Ham Fighters from Friday.
Reliever Koji Mitsui struck out Tasuku Hashimoto on three pitches but then struck Julio Zuleta with his next offering to make it 5-0. Omatsu followed with a two-run single to chase Mitsui, who was replaced by Taiwanese right-hander Hsu Ming-chieh with Agbayani Hsu struck Agbayani with a belt-high inside pitch on a 1-1 count and seconds later the left fielder locked his right arm around the neck of Toru Hosokawa, who apparently tried to stop him rushing toward Hsu, and rolled the Seibu catcher down to the dirt.
After a brief brawl, Agbayani was ejected while Hosokawa left the game and received treatment for bruises. Seibu matched a Japanese baseball record for hitting three batters with pitches in an inning.
In other news from Japan, both Yomiuri and Hanshin have clinched playoff berths in the Central league and they have identical 78-53-2 records with 9 games left. Defending champion Chunichi leads Hiroshima by a 1/2 game (65-65-5 to 64-65-5).
In the Pacific League, only Seibu has clinched a spot and they have a magic number of one to clinch first place. Orix is in second at five games out and with 5 games to play has a 2 1/2 game lead on Nippon Ham and Lotte, who are tied for third.