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Hawks stay in hunt for fifth interleague title

Kyodo

Tadashi Settsu pitched out of early trouble to go seven innings on Thursday as the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks defeated the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 7-2 to remain alive in their bid for their fifth interleague title.

Settsu (5-2) allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out six. The right-hander pitched out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the first, and put two on in the second after two were out, but had little trouble after that before a crowd of 19,560 at Jingu Stadium.

The Hawks, who won last year’s interleague championship, are 1-1/2 games back of the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants. The Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes are a game back in second place. Both Yomiuri and Orix have two games remaining, while Softbank has three.

The Hawks and Giants will clash Saturday and Sunday at Tokyo Dome. Orix will finish up against the Swallows, who are fifth in the CL.

Lee Dae-ho, Yuki Yoshimura and Toru Hosokawa each homered for Softbank. Lee’s 10th homer, a solo shot off lefty Masanori Ishikawa (4-5), broke up a scoreless game in the third inning. Yoshimura hit a two-run shot in the fourth, and Hosokawa belted a three-run shot in the fifth to all but ice it.

Carp 6, Eagles 2

At Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Kenta Maeda (6-4) allowed a run in eight innings to earn his first victory since May 29 by beating Tohoku Rakuten.

Rainel Rosario broke a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the third inning off rookie lefty Yuki Matsui (0-4), who returned from a successful stretch in the minors only to once more get burned by walks. He issued five free passes in four innings.