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Saito, four relievers combine for shutout

Kyodo

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters rookie Yuki Saito threw five shutout innings in a 1-0 victory over the Seibu Lions on Sunday afternoon.

Saito (3-2) allowed four hits, struck out five and walked three en route to his first win since April 24, lifting his team into first place in the Pacific League.

“I was out so long with that injury, so this win today makes me really happy,” said Saito, referring to a strained oblique muscle that sidelined him early in the season.

Four relievers finished off, with Hisashi Takeda retiring three in the ninth for his PL-leading 25th save.

Takayuki Kishi (3-3) went the distance for the last-place Lions, who lost their sixth in a row.

Eagles 4, Buffaloes 3

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Fuminori Yokogawa had a game-tying sac fly in the eighth and Ryo Hijirisawa delivered a game-ending infield single off Mamoru Kishida (3-5) the next inning to give Tohoku Rakuten its third win in a row.

Koji Aoyama (2-3) won in relief.

Marines 8, Hawks 0

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Hiroki Ueno pitched a shutout in his first career start and Shota Ishimine went 3-for-5 with three RBIs in Chiba Lotte’s blowout of Fukuoka Softbank, which dropped into second place.

The defending Japan Series champion Marines had five hits in a five-run second inning and added three runs in the third.

Ueno (1-0) scattered six hits, struck out five and walked none in a 110-pitch outing.

Tadashi Settsu (8-5) took the loss.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 3, Swallows 2

At Tokyo Dome, Shinnosuke Abe hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the fourth inning and Yomiuri had enough in the tank to hold off Yakult for the second day in a row.

Norichika Aoki gave the Swallows a 2-0 lead with his two-run single in the top of the fourth before Yomiuri’s rally against Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi (5-5) in the bottom half of the inning.

Jumpei Ono (1-0), making his career first start, allowed two runs in five innings.

The CL-leading Swallows lost two straight for the first time in nearly a month.

Carp 5, Dragons 0

At Nagoya Dome, Ryohei Matsuyama opened the scoring with a two-run single in the first inning and Hiroshima chipped away against Chunichi on the way to winning its fourth in a row.

Tigers 12, BayStars 9

At Yokohama Stadium, Takahiro Arai hit two of his team’s five home runs, featuring a grand slam in the eighth inning, as Hanshin staved off Yokohama in a 31-hit slugfest.