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Oba fans 16 batters

One shy of Nomo's rookie record

Kyodo

Rookie Shota Oba pitched his second shutout of the season, striking out a club record 16 batters as the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks blanked the Chiba Lotte Marines 3-0 on Saturday.

Oba allowed four hits and recorded his second shutout without walking a batter in a 132-pitch outing.

The 22-year-old right-hander retired 18 in a row, including seven consecutive strikeouts, after allowing a first-inning single to Tsuyoshi Nishioka and got in and out of jams in the seventh and eighth.

Nobuhiko Matsunaka went 3-for-3, driving in all three runs on an RBI single in the first and a two-run double in the fifth at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Oba struck out all of Lotte’s starting nine — the first to achieve the feat since Daisuke Matsuzaka did so with the Seibu Lions in 2004 — and came within one strikeout of Hideo Nomo’s rookie strikeout record of 17 in one game with the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1990.

Yoshihisa Naruse (1-1) allowed three runs in seven-plus innings and saw his winning streak against Pacific League clubs snapped at 16 games.

Buffaloes 7, Fighters 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Alex Cabrera and Tuffy Rhodes homered and Kazuki Kondo threw two-run ball with seven strikeouts over the distance in his career first complete game in Orix’s rout of Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Cabrera tied the game 1-1 on a solo shot in the second and Rhodes’ two-run drive to the seats in left gave the Buffaloes the lead in a three-run sixth. Osamu Hamanaka drove in two runs on 2-for-3 hitting.

Greg LaRocca and Cabrera walked and Rhodes singled to load the bases to spark a three-run eighth.

Kondo (2-0) allowed six hits and three walks in a 123-pitch outing. Shugo Fujii (0-1) took the loss.

Lions 4, Eagles 2

At Seibu Dome, Takumi Kuriyama had a game-tying single in the third inning and a Shugo Akada run-scoring triple gave Seibu the lead in the following frame en route to a win over Tohoku Rakuten.

Veteran lefty Kazuhisa Ishii (3-0) limited the damage to two runs in eight innings, scattering seven hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. Koji Onuma got the final out to pick up his first save in three seasons.

Masahiro Tanaka (1-1) yielded four runs — two earned — in six innings for the Eagles.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 3, Giants 1

At Tokyo Dome, Tomoaki Kanemoto homered to back a strong outing by Minoru Iwata as Hanshin notched its seventh win in eight games this season while handing Yomiuri its seventh loss in eight games.

Hanshin took a 3-0 lead on a Toshihiro Noguchi sacrifice fly in the fifth inning and Kanemoto’s two-run shot off Seth Greisinger (0-1) in the sixth that brought him within two hits of reaching 2,000 career hits.

Iwata (2-0) allowed one run and four hits in eight innings before Kyuji Fujikawa closed out the ninth for his fifth save.

Dragons 6, Swallows 3

At Nagoya Dome, Hirokazu Ibata, Masahiro Araki and Tyrone Woods homered as Chunichi beat Tokyo Yakult to pick up its first win in three games.

Ibata broke a 2-2 tie with a solo shot in the third inning and Araki also connected off rookie left-hander Mikinori Kato (0-1) for a two-run homer in the fourth. Woods added a solo blast in the fifth off reliever Jun Hagiwara.

Takashi Ogasawara (2-0) held the Swallows to two runs and five hits over seven innings. Hitoki Iwase earned his fourth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

Carp 4, BayStars 3 (10)

At Hiroshima Stadium, Soichiro Amaya singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th as Hiroshima rallied to beat Yokohama for only its second win of the season.

The Carp tied the game 3-3 in the ninth on a Yoshiyuki Ishihara run-scoring double and a Tomonori Maeda two-out RBI single, both off Travis Hughes.

Ryuji Yokoyama (1-0) threw a scoreless 10th while Takumi Nasuno (0-1) took the loss. Ishihara went 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs for Hiroshima.

Corder put on DL

ST. LOUIS (AP) The Washington Nationals placed closer Chad Cordero, who has not pitched this season due to right shoulder tendinitis, on the 15-day disabled list Friday night.

The move was made retroactive to March 27 for Cordero, who had 37 saves last season. Left-hander John Lannan will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday, and will start Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals.

“We just felt this was the best for him,” manager Manny Acta said. “We didn’t want to rush him back.”

The 26-year-old Cordero is scheduled to throw a side session on Saturday. Jon Rauch has been the fill-in closer and has one save.

“I’m fine with it,” Cordero said. “It’s the best for the team. I totally understand. The arm is fine.”

Cuddyer injured

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins placed right fielder Michael Cuddyer on the 15-day disabled list on Friday night after he dislocated his right index finger while sliding into third base against the Kansas City Royals.

Cuddyer collided awkwardly with Alex Gordon in the third inning of Friday night’s 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals and had to go to the hospital to get stitches to close the gash. It’s a huge blow to the middle of the Twins’ lineup and their athletic outfield.

“He probably won’t be able to throw for at least two weeks,” Gardenhire said.