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Fighters pound Buffaloes, climb to top in standings

Kyodo

Atsunori Inaba and Shinya Tsuruoka drove in three runs apiece, and Hokkaido Nippon Ham sent 16 batters to the plate in an 11-run fifth inning as the Fighters routed the Orix Buffaloes 13-3 on Tuesday.

With the win coupled with the Seibu Lions’ loss later the same day, the Fighters moved back into first place in the Pacific League.

Trailing 1-0 in the third, Nippon Ham scored the tying run on Hiroshi Kisanuki’s (4-7) wild pitch and Yang Dai-kang gave his team a 2-1 lead with an RBI double to right-center.

The Fighters banged out nine hits to put the game out of reach in the fifth at Asahikawa Starffin Stadium. The 11 runs in one inning matched a team high established in 1996, when the club was called the Toei Flyers.

“That was a nice game,” said Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama. “The team really came through with the hits.”

Left-hander Masaru Takeda (9-6) limited the damage to three runs on seven hits in seven innings. Orix is winless in its last seven games.

“I struggled with my control today, but the point was being able to make adjustments,” said Takeda, whose changeup initially was not dropping the way he wanted on a mound he was not accustomed to. “I’m glad I could get this win to start off this series.”

Hawks 4, Lions 0

At Seibu Dome, Tadashi Settsu pitched seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball, and Hiroki Kokubo went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs late in the game as Fukuoka Softbank shut out Seibu to win its sixth straight.

Settsu (12-5) walked two and struck out two and became the winningest pitcher this season in Japanese baseball. Takayuki Kishi (9-9) took the loss.

Marines 4, Eagles 1

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Yoshifumi Okada had a game-tying bunt single in the sixth inning and Josh Whitesell gave his team the lead with an RBI single off Satoshi Nagai (1-1) as Chiba Lotte rallied past Tohoku Rakuten.

Seth Greisinger (8-6) allowed one run, despite giving up eight hits in six innings. Tadahito Iguchi and Tomoya Satozaki added insurance with run-scoring singles in the ninth.

The Eagles lost their fourth straight and fell a season-worst six under .500.

CENTRAL LEAGUE


Dragons 1, Tigers 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Ryosuke Hirata broke a scoreless deadlock with a one-out RBI double in the ninth inning, and Enyelbert Soto and Daisuke Yamai combined on a five-hit shutout in Chunichi’s win over Hanshin.

Hirata hit a sharp line drive off Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa (2-2) to bring home a runner from third for the decisive run. Soto (2-0) scattered four hits over eight innings for the win.

BayStars 3, Carp 2

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Taketoshi Goto and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo both hit tiebreaking solo homers, in the second and eighth innings respectively, as Yokohama held off Hiroshima.

BayStars right-hander Kazumasa Kikuchi (3-1) got the win in relief and Shun Yamaguchi picked up his 15th save. Kenta Maeda (11-6) gave up three runs and seven hits in eight innings and lost his third consecutive decision.

Giants 6, Swallows 6 (9)

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Kazunari Sanematsu, Hayato Sakamoto, and Shinnosuke Abe each homered as Yomiuri rallied in a four-run fifth inning, but a Ryosuke Morioka two-run single tied it in the sixth.

Lastings Milledge, Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, and Shinichi Takeuchi each hit homers for the Swallows in the 23-hit slugfest.