TOKYO (AP) _ Julio Franco hit a two-run homer, his fourth of the season, and Eric Hillman scattered seven hits over eight innings Saturday as the Chiba Lotte Marines beat the Kintetsu Buffaloes 5-2.

Kip Gross pitched a seven-hitter, and Bernarde Brito and Rob Ducey homered as the Nippon Ham Fighters rallied past the Seibu Lions 5-4.

With one out and the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Brito's bases-loaded sacrifice fly scored Ducey.

Terry Bross and two relievers scattered eight hits as the Central League's front-running Yakult Swallows blanked the Hanshin Tigers 3-0.

Hensley Meulens drove in a run for Yakult.

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SEATTLE (AP) _ The Seattle Seahawks lost more than $5 million last year and need guarantees of assistance from King County to keep them financially viable, majority owner Ken Behring says.

The NFL club caused a stir this week when it sent a letter to County Executive Gary Locke saying it needed $150 million in Kingdome improvements to support a tax measure that would largely be used to build a new stadium for baseball's Seattle Mariners.

Behring wants a solution soon so he's not tempted to end his Kingdome lease by Feb. 1. The lease runs through 2005, but the team says it can be broken because the domed stadium is no longer a first-class facility.

Behring said he supports the idea of putting a sales-tax increase on this fall's ballot for the Kingdome improvements and new baseball stadium, but wonders how much of the money would go to the Seahawks' home.

Without some revenue-producing improvements, the team could move, Behring warned.

``As a last resort for us to stay viable, we are going to have to keep some options open,'' he said. ``We are going to make a concentrated effort to work this out. We want to stay here. But you have to keep your options open.''

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BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Jesus Chong of Mexico captured the WBF junior flyweight crown Saturday by stopping defending champion Sairung Or Suwannasilp of Thailand in the ninth round.

Sairung, also known as Sairung Dutch Boy Gym, was making his fourth defense since taking the title from Indonesia's Azadin Anhar last year.

Chong hammered Sairung when the ninth round opened, and knocked him to one knee with a left hook for a standing eight-count.

At 2 minutes, 45 seconds into the round, another lunging left hook sent Sairung bouncing off the ropes twice to end up flat on his back, and the referee ended the fight.

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BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) _ British shot putter Guy Marshall faces a four-year ban after failing a drug test, the British Athletics Federation announced Saturday.

The federation would not specify what substances Marshall tested positive for, but said in a statement that matching A and B samples contained ``prescribed substances.''

The presence of more than one drug indicates the seriousness of the case.

The 23-year-old jumped up the British rankings from 54th last season with a best put of 47 feet, 6 1/4 inches, to 17th this year, having improved to 52-6.

``It is always disappointing to get a drugs finding,'' said BAF spokesman Tony Ward. ``But it shows the efficiency of our testing system at all levels, not just among internationals.''

Marshall was tested at an inter-area match at Birmingham, venue for Britain's world championship trials this weekend, in May.

Last year, national shot put champion Paul Edwards was banned for four years for taking what was said to be a ``cocktail'' of steroids.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Charleston Alley Cats GM Heath Brown resigned, the Class A South Atlantic League team announced Saturday.

``He just resigned to pursue other interests,'' said Tim Bordner, the assistant general manager for the Cincinnati Reds affiliate.

Brown could not be reached for comment Saturday.

``I am really not sure what he's doing. It was spur of the moment. There wasn't very much notice,'' Bordner said.

Brown, a Lancaster, Ohio, native, had been general manager since November 1993, running day-to-day operations.

Bordner said he will take over as general manager until the season ends on Sept. 3.