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Fighters’ Darvish continues mastery of Lions

Kyodo

Yu Darvish threw his first shutout of the season and Kensuke Tanaka went 3-for-4 with an RBI as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Saitama Seibu Lions 5-0 for their third consecutive win on Saturday.

Darvish (4-2) allowed six hits, all singles, while walking four and striking out four at Sapporo Dome.

The Fighters finished with 12 hits.

“This was my third start against Seibu in only a month,” said Darvish, who improved to 3-0 against the Lions. “So I thought I had to pitch smart to lead my team to the win.”

Tanaka had an RBI single to right in the fifth inning off Hsu Ming-chieh (2-3) to push the advantage to 2-0.

Atsunori Inaba and Eiichi Koyano added run-scoring singles in the sixth and seventh, respectively.

Yoshihito Ishii went 3-for-3 with a walk for Seibu, which lost its third straight and dropped to third place in the Pacific League.

Hawks 7, Marines 4

At Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome, Jose Ortiz and Hiroki Kokubo led off the sixth inning with back-to-back homers to break a 3-3 tie and Softbank buckled down against Chiba Lotte to win its fifth in a row and move into first in the PL standings.

After Ortiz hit his third homer in two games and Kokubo went deep for the second straight day, both off Yoshihisa Naruse (4-3), the Marines moved within 5-4 in the top of the seventh.

Kim Tae Kyun hit two of Lotte’s three home runs.

Eagles 2, Buffaloes 1

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Hisashi Iwakuma threw one-run ball over eight innings and Ryo Hijirisawa had a tiebreaking single with two outs in the seventh inning as Tohoku Rakuten handed Orix its third consecutive loss.

Iwakuma (4-2) allowed four hits and struck out seven to win his fourth straight start.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 9, Giants 4

At Koshien Stadium, Matt Murton and Craig Brazell each hit two-run homers and drove in three runs apiece, leading Hanshin over Yomiuri for its fourth straight win.

Brazell’s shot off Wirfin Obispo (1-1) capped a three-run third that pushed the Tigers’ lead to 5-1. Murton homered in the fourth and added an RBI groundout in the sixth. Brazell doubled in a run in the seventh.

Jason Standridge (1-0) allowed four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings.

Hanshin moved within one game of the CL-leading Giants.

Dragons 12, Carp 6

At Mazda Stadium, Masahiko Morino had a go-ahead two-run double in a six-run fourth inning as Chunichi rallied past Hiroshima, banging out a season-high 18 hits.

Swallows 5, BayStars 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, rookie Masato Nakazawa threw two-run ball over seven innings and Yasushi Iihara had two RBIs as Tokyo Yakult snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Hiroshima.

Nakazawa (3-0) scattered nine hits, walked none and struck out three.