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Arakaki goes distance as Hawks complete sweep

by David Hueston and Dave Hueston

Kyodo

Nagisa Arakaki went the distance on one-run ball, Yuya Hasegawa broke open a close game with a three-run homer, and the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks beat the Orix Buffaloes 5-1 to complete a three-game sweep in the season-opening series on Sunday.

Softbank got on the scoreboard in the second, when Nobuhiko Matsunaka and Hiroki Kokubo singled and doubled to put runners at second and third, and Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.

Kokubo drew a two-out walk in the sixth, and Matsuda followed with a double into the gap in left-center to drive home the second run in front of a jubilant crowd of 37,338 at Yahoo Dome.

Another opportunity came in the seventh when the Hawks had consecutive singles to put runners at first and second with two outs, but Yuichi Honda was tagged out at the plate on Seiichi Uchikawa’s single to left to end the inning.

Wily Mo Pena singled with two outs after Matsunaka’s leadoff walk in the eighth, and Hasegawa gave the Hawks all the breathing room necessary with his full-count drive over the right-field wall.

Orix had its best chance when Takahiro Okada and Aarom Baldiris singled and doubled to place runners on second and third with none out in the eighth, but Arakaki was picture perfect, retiring three batters in succession to end the threat.

Arakaki (1-0) allowed five hits, struck out five and walked none in a 120-pitch outing.

Lions 1, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, Takayuki Kishi threw 7⅔ scoreless innings, and Takeya Nakamura homered as Seibu beat Hokkaido Nippon Ham to pick up its first win of the season.

Kishi (1-0) allowed five hits, struck out eight and walked none. Nakamura, the 2011 PL home run king, broke a scoreless deadlock with a solo blast off Mitsuo Yoshikawa (0-1) in the fifth. Enrique Gonzalez picked up his first save in Japan.

Marines 4, Eagles 2

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, rookie Takahiro Fujioka limited the damage to two runs over 7⅔ innings and Josh Whitesell drove in two runs as Chiba Lotte swept Tohoku Rakuten in the three-game season-opening series.

BayStars earn first win

STAFF REPORT

Tatsuhiko Kinjo sparked a five-run seventh inning with a solo home run and the Yokohama BayStars defeated the Hanshin Tigers 6-2 for their first win their new ownership group.

DeNA purchased the Central League club in November, but had to wait three days into the season to taste victory.

Veteran pitcher Daisuke Miura gave up a pair of runs on six hits with five strikeouts for his first win of the season.

Hanshin’s Tomoaki Kanemoto hit his first home run of the year in the loss.

Giants 4, Swallows 2

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri catcher Shinnosuke Abe finished with two hits and an RBI to help starter Toshiya Sugiuchi to a win in his Giants debut.

Dragons 2, Carp 2 (10)

At Nagoya Dome, Hiroshima rallied for two runs against reigning CL MVP Takuya Asao in the eighth, and the game ended in a 10-inning tie.