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Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011

Dragons' Yoshimi shares CL lead in wins, finish first in ERA


The Chunichi Dragons' Kazuki Yoshimi won two titles of the pitching Triple Crown as the Central League regular season ended Tuesday.

Yoshimi tied the Yomiuri Giants' Tetsuya Utsumi for most victories with 18 and led the league with a 1.65 ERA for CL champion Chunichi.

"I managed to stay in really good shape throughout the year," Yoshimi said. "I thought I was pretty consistent, and I was determined to help the team win games this season.

"We still have the Climax Series to play for and I need to be ready."

The Hiroshima Carp's Kenta Maeda, who was two outs away from a no-hitter on Tuesday against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, had the most strikeouts for the second straight year with 192.

The Hanshin Tigers' flame-throwing closer Kyuji Fujikawa had 41 saves to pick up his second saves title, his first in four seasons.

At the plate, the Giants' second-year outfielder Hisayoshi Chono won his first batting title with a .316 batting average while Yakult's Wladimir Balentien became the home run king with 31 in his first season in Japan.

"I didn't think I'd win it so I'm thrilled," said Chono, who also had 17 home runs and 69 RBIs. "This has been a good experience for me. I have to be sure not to get complacent and keep getting better."

Hanshin's Matt Murton had the most hits for the second straight year with 180, and teammate Takahiro Arai won his first RBI title with 93.

And the Giants' Daisuke Fujimura stole the most bases — 28

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