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Darvish outshines Iwakuma

Kyodo

Yu Darvish outdueled Hisashi Iwakuma in his second complete-game shutout of the season Thursday as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters blanked the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles 1-0 to win their fourth straight game.

Darvish (3-0) took a no-hitter into the sixth and finished with a three-hitter while striking out six and walking one in a 95-pitch outing at Sapporo Dome. Terrmel Sledge gave Darvish the only run he would need with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Iwakuma (2-1) was equally impressive, holding the Fighters hitless in the first six innings before giving up a leadoff single to Hichori Morimoto in the bottom of the seventh.

Kensuke Tanaka followed with a sacrifice bunt, Atsunori Inaba was intentionally walked and Shinji Takahashi walked on five pitches to load the bases. Sledge then took a 2-2 forkball to left field to break a scoreless deadlock, sending last-place Rakuten to its sixth defeat in a row after seven straight victories.

Lions 15, Marines 5

At Seibu Dome, Craig Brazell and Toru Hosokawa drove in seven runs between them to lead a 17-hit attack as league leader Seibu hammered Chiba Lotte.

Brazell ignited a five-run first inning with an RBI single and added a two-run homer in the second, while Hosokawa hit a run-scoring single in the first and bases-loaded double in a sixth-run fourth.

Hiroyuki Nakajima had a four-hit night with a pair of RBIs and Takahiko “G.G.” Sato also drove home two runs for the Lions.

Hideaki Wakui (1-2), the PL’s winningest pitcher in 2007, earned his first win of the season after yielding two runs in six innings of work.

Yasutomo Kubo (1-2) took the loss.

Hawks 5, Buffaloes 1

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Tadaatsu Nakazawa hit a go-ahead double and Rick Guttormson threw 7 1/3 strong innings against Orix as Softbank ended its three-game losing skid and returned to .500.

Fukuoka got on the board in the third on a Hitoshi Tamura sacrifice fly and retook the lead for good in the fifth on two-out RBI hits by Nakazawa and Tamura after a Mitsutaka Goto double made it 1-1 in the fourth. Nobuhiko Matsunaka homered in a two-run eighth.

Guttormson (1-1) allowed a run and six hits en route to winning his first decision this season.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Carp at Swallows — ppd.

Giants at BayStars — ppd.

Dragons at Tigers — ppd.