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Buffaloes’ Brandon Dickson twirls three-hit shutout, fans career-high 12 batters

Yutaro Sugimoto slugs grand slam in Orix's rout of Hokkaido Nippon Ham

Kyodo

Brandon Dickson threw his first shutout in four years, while Yutaro Sugimoto hit a grand slam in his second straight game as the Orix Buffaloes demolished the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 11-0 in the Pacific League on Tuesday.

Dickson (2-5) matched his career high 12 strikeouts in a 146-pitch marathon. He surrendered three hits and three walks.

“I threw a lot of pitches. I was fortunate, these guys made a lot of plays and scored a lot of runs. That made it easier,” Dickson said after his second shutout in Japan.

“I’m not used to them scoring a lot of runs for me. Hopefully they’ll save some tomorrow for (ace Chihiro) Kaneko.”

The Buffaloes opened the scoring in the first inning on an errant pickoff throw by Fighters starter Nick Martinez (7-6). With runners on the corners and two outs, Masahiro Nishino scampered home when Martinez’s throw went wide of the bag.

Sugimoto hit a grand slam in his season debut on July 11, and replicated the feat in the third inning. With Orix leading 4-0 after a two-run Masataka Yoshida single and a Torai Fushimi RBI double, Sugimoto belted his third career home run.

“I thought it was going to find the gap, but never thought it would clear the wall,” said the 27-year-old Sugimoto, who was playing in just his 12th career game and is now the eighth player in NPB history to hit grand slams in two straight games.

“It was just luck.”

Dickson was in danger in the top of the first but two strikeouts got him out of a one-out, two-on jam. He then retired 20 straight batters before surrendering a leadoff single in the eighth. Nippon Ham loaded the bases against him in the ninth on a single and a pair of two-out walks, but Dickson sealed the deal with a foul out.

“I was trying to throw strikes (in the ninth),” Dickson said. “Unfortunately, I was getting a little tired, leaving some balls off the plate. Luckily they didn’t score a run there.”

Hawks 6, Lions 1

At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Shuta Ishikawa (8-5) struck out 11 and allowed a run in seven innings, while Fukuoka SoftBank hammered Seibu starter Ken Togame (5-7) for five runs in 5-1/3 innings.

Eagles 6, Marines 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, a night after singling in the winning run in extra innings, Hiroaki Shimauchi’s sixth-inning solo home run broke up a 1-1 pitchers’ duel and Tohoku Rakuten iced the win over Chiba Lotte in a four-run ninth.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Swallows 6, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, David Buchanan (7-6) scattered four hits over seven innings, Wladimir Balentien homered and drove in two runs, and two Tokyo Yakult relievers completed the five-hit shutout of Yokohama.

Carp 5, Dragons 1

At Nagoya Dome, Allen Kuri (4-2) allowed a run over 6-1/3 innings, and Takayoshi Noma’s two-run double capped a three-run fourth inning as league-leading Hiroshima beat Chunichi.

Giants 4, Tigers 2

At Koshien Stadium, Taylor Jungmann (3-0) remained perfect in three starts, giving up two runs and striking out 10 over seven innings, and capped Yomiuri’s four-run fourth inning with a two-run single to beat Hanshin.