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Nakamura powers Rakuten to historic sweep

Kyodo

Norihiro Nakamura went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles outlasted the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 9-6 in 11 innings Sunday to complete their first season-opening series sweep in club history.

Nakamura, who signed as a free agent from the Chunichi Dragons, hit a two-run home run in the first inning and tied the game at 6-6 in the ninth with his second RBI single of the afternoon at Sapporo Dome.

The third baseman then doubled in the go-ahead run in a three-run 11th against Yataro Sakamoto (0-1).

Teppei Tsuchiya and Fernando Seguignol added three hits apiece for Rakuten, which outhit Nippon Ham 17-16. Tsuyoshi Kawagishi (1-0) got in and out of jams in the final two innings.

Earlier in the game, the Fighters pounded out seven hits in the fourth off former New York Yankees right-hander Darrell Rasner to turn a 4-0 deficit into a two-run lead.

Hawks 2, Buffaloes 1 (10)

At Yahoo Dome, Yuichi Honda doubled in the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning as Softbank beat Orix.

Yuya Hasegawa led off the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a Katsuki Yamazaki sacrifice bunt and scored on Honda’s double to deep center off Hidetaka Kawagoe (0-1).

Alex Cabrera homered to break a scoreless tie for Orix in the top of the sixth. Nobuhiko Matsunaka answered right back with a homer of his own in the bottom half.

Yasushi Kamiuchi (1-0) won in relief. Softbank starter Toshiya Sugiuchi recorded his 1,000th career strikeout in the fourth and pitched 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball.

Marines 6, Lions 5

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Shoitsu Omatsu hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a game-ending sacrifice fly in the ninth, leading Chiba Lotte past Seibu.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Omatsu hit a fly ball to right field on the first pitch he saw from Alex Graman (0-1).

Brian Sikorski (1-0) retired the only batter he faced for the win. Hiroyuki Nakajima went 4-for-5 with two RBIs for Seibu.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 6, BayStars 0

At Nagoya Dome, Atsushi Fujii and Motonobu Tanishige drove in two runs apiece to back a solid outing by Taiwanese lefty Chen Wei-yin as Chunichi completed a three-game sweep of Yokohama.

Chunichi opened up a 4-0 lead in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk to Kei Nomoto, Fujii’s RBI infield single and Tanishige’s two-run single. Fujii added a solo home run in the sixth.

Chen (1-0) scattered three hits and five walks over six scoreless innings. Futoshi Kobayashi (0-1) gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Swallows 7, Tigers 6

At Kyocera Dome, Keizo Kawashima and Jamie D’Antona each hit two-run homers as Yakult held off a late rally to beat Hanshin.

Kawashima hit his second home run in as many days to put Yakult ahead 4-3 in the second inning and D’Antona’s first homer in Japan made it 6-3 in the fifth.

Ryo Kawashima (1-0) allowed three runs in six innings. Shinobu Fukuhara (0-1) was charged with six runs in five innings.

Giants 1, Carp 1 (12)

Ichiro back on Friday

LAS VEGAS (Kyodo) Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu indicated Saturday there is a good chance outfielder Ichiro Suzuki will join the team in Oakland next Friday.

Ichiro was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his major league career Friday after being diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer and is in Arizona trying to work his way back to fitness.