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Hasegawa’s three-run shot sends Hawks soaring past Giants

by David Hueston and Dave Hueston

Kyodo

Yuya Hasegawa hit a three-run homer, Hayato Terahara had just enough fire in the tank over 5⅓ innings before leaving with an injury, and the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks held off the Yomiuri Giants 3-2 for a two-game sweep in interleague play on Wednesday night.

Terahara (3-3), pitching for the first time this season at the Big Egg, dug himself in and out of trouble but at the end of the night he walked away the winner after the Hawks’ vaunted bullpen held its own the rest of the way.

Giants starter Hirokazu Sawamura (2-4) held a bloated 5.00 ERA in 18-plus innings at Tokyo Dome going into Wednesday’s game, and trouble came knocking on the right-hander’s door from the opening frame.

The 2011 Rookie of the Year walked Akira Nakamura to start off the game and after a bunt sent the leadoff batter to second, Seiichi Uchikawa hit a fast roller past the outstretched glove of shortstop Hayato Sakamoto. Sawamura struck out Nobuhiro Matsuda swinging, only for Hasegawa to tee off on the fifth straight fastball, a 3-1 pitch that went screaming over the left-field wall for a 3-0 lead.

Terahara put runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom half of the inning but escaped the jam when he got Hisayoshi Chono — dropped to fifth in the order from his normal leadoff position — to fly out to center to end the threat.

Sawamura’s control issues persisted when he loaded the bases with two outs on three free passes in the fourth but he miraculously finished the inning unscathed with a harmless groundout to second.

Then the wheels began to slide off for Terahara.

Shinnosuke Abe hit a one-out solo drive over the right-field wall in the home half of the inning, and Chono and Shuichi Murata followed with back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second.

Jose Lopez then reached on a groundball to third while Chono came around to score on a throwing error by second baseman Atsushi Fukumoto, who got Murata in the force at second but threw wildly to first in a botched double play.

Sawamura allowed three runs and three hits in five innings, striking out six with five walks and a hit batsman. Terahara gave up two runs —one earned — on four hits and walked three. A critical point came when he fanned Abe swinging at a forkball with two on for the final out of the fifth.

The Hawks are scheduled to face Hiroshima for a two-game set at home from Friday. The CL-leading Giants will take on PL leader Chiba Lotte at Chiba.

Fighters 8, Carp 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Sho Nakata hit a three-run homer in the first inning, 2012 MVP Mitsuo Yoshikawa (5-4) threw one-run ball over seven innings, and Hokkaido Nippon Ham snapped a two-game slide with a win over Hiroshima.

The Fighters piled on three runs in the fifth and two in the seventh. No. 1 draft pick Shohei Otani went 2-for-3 with a pair of base hits and a walk. Kan Otake (5-2) was charged with the loss.

Marines 3, Dragons 1

At Nagoya Dome, Ikuhiro Kiyota hit a tiebreaking homer leading off the fourth inning, Kazunari Abe (2-0) limited the damage to one run and four hits in five innings, and Chiba Lotte swept Chunichi in two games and won its fourth in a row.

Naoya Masuda worked the ninth for his 16th save. Daisuke Yamai (0-2), who made his first start of 2013, was tagged with the loss.

Eagles 2, Tigers 0

Swallows 12, Buffaloes 2

Lions 2, BayStars 1