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Nogami flirts with no-hitter as Lions maul Marines

by David Hueston and Dave Hueston

Kyodo

Ryoma Nogami flirted with a no hitter Wednesday, dominating all night with a slow curveball and a nearly untouchable slider as the Seibu Lions pounded the Chiba Lotte Marines 7-2 to win their third in a row.

Nogami retired the first 13 batters he faced before issuing a walk to Toshiaki Imae with one out in the fifth inning. But he began to show signs of tiring when he walked a batter with two out in the sixth and a no-hitter wasn’t in the tea leaves for the fifth-year right-hander on this night at Seibu Dome.

Ryan Spilborghs contributed with a two-run single and leadoff man Yasuyuki Kataoka went 3-for-4 in a 10-hit Lions attack. Nogami (3-1) allowed two hits, struck out six and walked two in a 103-pitch outing.

The home team got its first opportunity in the third to draw first blood and took advantage to start the hemorrhaging.

Ginjiro Sumitani had a one-out liner to left, took second on a passed ball before the second out was recorded on a strikeout, and moved to third when Kataoka beat out an infield single to short.

With runners at the corners, Shogo Akiyama hit a groundball to right to single home the opening run. After Lotte lefty starter Takahiro Fujioka walked a batter to load the bases, Spilborghs drilled a 2-2 fastball up the middle to make it a 3-0 ballgame.

Hideto Asamura homered to lead off the fourth and another run scored on Masato Kumashiro’s groundout to short. With runners at the corners, Sumitani scored on catcher Takeshi Kanazawa’s error when Akiyama stole second, and Takumi Kuriyama added an RBI double down the left-field line to send Fujioka (1-3) to an early shower.

Tadahito Iguchi broke up Nogami’s no-no to start the seventh when he hit a hard grounder to short as birthday boy Yuji Kaneko bobbled the ball and threw to first but not in time to get Iguchi. Josh Whitesell followed with a double to right-center and Kaneko made a throwing error that allowed two runs to score.

Fighters 9, Hawks 5

Eagles at Buffaloes — ppd.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 17, BayStars 1

Tigers 3, Dragons 0

Carp at Swallows — ppd.

Maeda set for surgery

KYODO

Veteran Hiroshima Carp pinch hitter Tomonori Maeda has been deactivated and will have surgery on his left wrist, the Central League club said Wednesday.

Maeda was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium. He will undergo surgery on Thursday in Hiroshima. He is expected to be out for two to three months. Maeda is 4-for-9 this season with four RBIs.

The Carp, however, received good news when ace right-hander Kenta Maeda began playing catch three days after he was deactivated due to stiffness in his shoulder. Maeda will be eligible for reactivation on May 1.

“I’m pretty much over the stiffness,” he said. “I won’t be out long. When my 10 days are up, I want to pitch.”

The 25-year-old pitcher, who was scratched from his scheduled start against the Yomiuri Giants on Saturday, is 2-0 this season with a 0.39 ERA in 23 innings.