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Dickson pitches Buffaloes to fifth straight win

Kyodo

Brandon Dickson allowed a run in seven innings a week after his first shutout in Japan as the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes won their fifth straight Saturday, beating the Seibu Lions 4-1.

Dickson, who pitched out of trouble in the first two innings, improved to 2-0 and Wily Mo Pena hit his sixth homer of the season, a three-run shot that capped the Buffaloes’ four-run fifth.

“It’s a team effort,” Dickson said. “I got in a jam two times, but luckily the defense picked me up. That (scoreline) could have been a lot worse, but Pena hit a three-run homer to give me a little bit of a cushion.”

Orix skipper Hiroshi Moriwaki said Dickson is a new and improved version compared to last year’s model, but Dickson said it was just getting used to things and getting his work done.

“That’s preparation,” said Dickson, who allowed six hits and a walk, while striking out six. “It’s my second year and I feel a little more comfortable.”

Lions lefty Yusei Kikuchi (0-2) also pitched out of trouble twice in the early innings — both times retiring Pena with runners in scoring position — but things unraveled for him with two outs in the fifth.

With two on, Yoshio Itoi reached on an infield single before Pena put one in the third deck at Kyocera Dome. Kikuchi gave up three earned runs in five innings, allowing six hits and four walks, while striking out one.

Fumikazu Kimura put the Lions on the board in the seventh with Seibu’s third straight single of the inning. Dickson, however, escaped again and the bullpen carried it the rest of the way.

Tatsuya Sato worked a scoreless eighth and closer Yoshihisa Hirano did the same in the ninth to earn his third save.

Marines 3, Fighters 2

At QVC Marine Field, Katsuya Kakunaka doubled to open the seventh and scored on captain Daichi Suzuki’s tie-breaking sacrifice fly as Chiba Lotte defeated Hokkaido Nippon Ham on just two hits.

Yuji Nishino, who made an impact in the starting rotation as a rookie last season, earned his first career save.

Hawks 8, Eagles 4

At Kobo Stadium Miyagi, offseason acquisition Kenichi Nakata (2-0) allowed four runs, three earned, in 7⅓ innings but got plenty of run support from a 13-hit Fukuoka Softbank attack as the Hawks downed Japan Series champion Tohoku Rakuten.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

BayStars 9, Carp 6

At Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima blew a three-run lead with the help of two errors in a six-run fourth inning highlighted by Takehiro Ishikawa’s RBI triple as Yokohama snapped a three-game losing streak.

Swallows 12, Tigers 11

At Jingu Stadium, Ryosuke Morioka broke up a tie with an eighth-inning RBI double as Tokyo Yakult overcame a two-homer, seven-RBI day from Matt Murton to beat Hanshin.

Giants 5, Dragons 3 (10)