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Togame shuts out Fighters to secure Lions sweep

Kyodo

Ken Togame (4-1) threw a one-hitter for his second shutout of the season as the Pacific League-leading Seibu Lions defeated the Nippon Ham Fighters 1-0 on Monday afternoon.

The Lions’ Hideto Asamura doubled in the only run in the sixth inning as Seibu completed a three-game sweep of the Fighters at Seibu Dome in Saitama Prefecture.

Fighters rookie Yohei Kagiya (1-1), Nippon Ham’s third draft pick last fall, was in and out of trouble in his first career start after 11 games in relief.

He worked 5-1/3 innings and left with a man on before right-hander Toshiyuki Yanuki surrendered a single to Esteban German and Asamura’s decisive double.

Togame struck out eight and walked one. The only hit he allowed was a one-out single in the top of the first to Taiwan international Yang Dai-kang.

“If you don’t allow a run, you can’t lose,” said Togame, who is 3-0 against the defending league champs this season, having allowed just two runs to the Fighters in 26-2/3 innings.

Asamura doubled twice, the only extra-base hits the Lions could muster, but it was enough with Togame on the mound.

Marines 5, Hawks 2

At Yahoo Dome, sixth-year right-hander Kazunari Abe (1-0) scattered four hits and four walks to work 6-1/3 innings and earn his first career victory as Lotte beat Softbank to win for the sixth straight time.

Tadahito Iguchi homered and Katsuya Kakunaka had three hits and two RBIs as the Marines beat side-arm southpaw Masahiko Morifuku, a bullpen stalwart making the first start of his seven-year career.

Eagles 10, Buffaloes 3

At Kleenex Stadium, Takashi Saito, pitching in Japan for the first time since 2005, got out of a bases-loaded jam to record a scoreless inning of relief and pick up the win after Rakuten hammered Orix with a seven-run eighth.

The loss was the Buffaloes’ 11th in their last 12 games.

The Eagles blew an early three-run lead created on first-inning homers by Andruw Jones and Casey McGehee. Jones and McGehee walked in the eighth to load the bases, and an error by Buffaloes first baseman Lee Dae Ho brought in the go-ahead run.

Teppei Tsuchiya doubled in two runs, and Kazuo Matsui’s grand slam iced the game.

Central League

Swallows 7, Dragons 3

At Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Shinichi Takeuchi put a damper on Chunichi’s Motonobu Tanishige big night when the Swallows reserve broke up a tie game with a pinch-hit grand slam homer.

Takeuchi homered in the bottom of the sixth, moments after Tanishige’s second hit of the game made him the 44th player and the third catcher with 2,000 career hits in Japan. He became the oldest to reach the milestone at 42 years, 4 months. The previous 2,000-hit catchers are Hall of Famer Katsuya Nomura and Atsuya Furuta.

Tigers 5, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, Hanshin southpaw Atsushi Nomi (2-2) beat Yomiuri with his arm, his glove and his bat. The Tigers ace threw a four-hitter, went 2-for-4 at the plate with his first career homer, and defused a Giants rally with some slick fielding.

Nomi, who had not pitched since April 23 due to a ripped finger nail, was given a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth on Takahiro Arai’s third homer. In the home half, Nomi threw out the lead runner on an attempted sacrifice, and the lefty ended the inning with a double play.

BayStars 3, Carp 2

At Mazda Stadium, Tony Blanco belted his Japan-best 17th home run, a two-run shot in the first, and DeNA ace Daisuke Miura (2-29 held Hiroshima to two runs in six innings as the BayStars won their third straight game.

BayStars center fielder Sho Aranami saved the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Playing shallow with one out and runners on first and second, Aranami raced back and caught a fly just shy of the warning track to preserve the lead.