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After early blunder, Settsu settles down, stifles Eagles

Kyodo

Tadashi Settsu overcame a dicey first inning to last seven frames and pick up the victory as the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks defeated the Pacific League-leading Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 9-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Settsu (14-5) surrendered a home run to light-hitting Takero Okajima on the game’s first pitch. After his fielders ended the first inning by throwing out a runner at the plate, Settsu settled down and retired the next 15 batters he faced.

The right-hander gave up two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out seven. He improved to 9-0 against the Eagles in his last nine starts against them.

“I didn’t do anything more than the bare minimum,” Settsu said. “I have to reflect on allowing that leadoff homer.”

Hawks second baseman Yuichi Honda made a strong relay on Casey McGehee’s two-out double in the first to throw out Ginji Akiminai at the plate. When the Hawks got their first base runner against lefty Wataru Karashima (1-2) in the third, Honda bunted into a forceout, but made amends by stealing second and scoring the tying run on Toru Hosokawa’s double.

Yuya Hasegawa walked with two outs in the fourth and scored the go-ahead run on a triple by Nobuhiro Matsuda. Hasegawa then helped put the finishing touches on the Hawks’ victory by singling in the first two runs in a six-run sixth.

Kenta Imamiya highlighted the sixth with a three-run triple.

“If we had lost with our ace on the mound, things would take a turn for the worse,” Matsuda said.

Lions 2, Buffaloes 1

At Seibu Dome, Yuji Kaneko’s two-out, eighth-inning single broke a 1-1 tie and lifted Seibu past Orix.

Randy Williams (1-2) earned the win in relief, while Dennis Sarfate recorded his eighth save.

The Lions knotted it 1-1 in the fifth on Takumi Kuriyama’s RBI single. With two on and two out, Adachi singled off rookie All-Star Tatsuya Ito (2-2) to decide it.

Marines 7, Fighters 5

At Chiba’s QVC Marine Field, Lotte broke a 1-1 tie in a five-run fifth inning and held on to defeat Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Katsuya Kakunaka singled in the go-ahead run and Tomoya Satozaki’s three-run double highlighted the outburst.

Seth Greisinger (5-2) allowed two runs in five innings to earn the win for the second-place Marines, who moved to within 4-1/2 games of the first-place Eagles.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 9, Giants 6

At Tokyo Dome, leading off the sixth inning, Matt Clark tied the game 3-3 with his 22nd home run, and Ryosuke Hirata hit the first of three RBI doubles in the seventh as Chunichi went on to beat league-leading Yomiuri.

Tigers 2, Carp 1

At Koshien Stadium, Shintaro Fujinami became the first CL rookie out of high school with 10 wins in 46 years as Hanshin defeated Hiroshima in a game that was twice delayed by rain.

Fujinami (10-4) allowed a run in six innings on six hits and a walk. He struck out six.

Carp starter Bryan Bullington left the game in the second after he was struck by a batted ball.

BayStars 12, Swallows 9

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Nyjer Morgan’s three-run home run capped a six-run eighth inning as Yokohama overcame a seven-run deficit to defeat Tokyo Yakult.

The BayStars got home runs from Tony Blanco and Toshiki Kurobane, who drove in three runs.

Swallows cleanup hitter Wladimir Balentien remained stuck on 52 home runs, three shy of the Japan record. He was walked twice, singled twice and struck out.