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Ken Suzuki went 4-for-5 with a double and six RBIs as the Yakult Swallows stomped the defending Japan Series Champion Yomiuri Giants 12-2 on Thursday night at Jingu Stadium.

Masanori Ishikawa (1-2) allowed one run and scattered four hits in eight innings to pick up the win.

Suzuki’s fourth hit of the night keyed a five-run outburst in the eighth inning as the Swallows sent nine batters to the plate.

Yomiuri starter Hisanori Takahashi (0-1) was saddled with the loss after surrendering three runs on four hits and four walks in four innings.

Shinnosuke Abe and Roberto Petagine each drove in a run for the Giants.

Dragons 3, Tigers 0
At Koshien Stadium, Kenshin Kawakami pitched six-plus shutout innings as Chunichi blanked Hanshin.

Motonobu Tanishige singled in the first run of the game in the fourth inning and Alex Ochoa added two insurance runs in the sixth with his third homer of the season.

Carp 5, BayStars 3
At Yokohama Stadium, first year imports Andy Sheets and Jimmy Hurst both went deep and Shinji Sasaoka pitched 6 2/3 strong innings as Hiroshima beat the BayStars.

Kiyohara to return

Kyodo News Yomiuri Giants slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara, who has been playing on the club’s minor league squad since injuring both hamstrings, will return to the top team for a game against the Hanshin Tigers on Friday, team officials said Wednesday.

Yomiuri manager Tatsunori Hara said he spoke with Kiyohara at the Jingu Stadium clubhouse Wednesday. The 17-time All-Star slugger is penciled in to bat in the cleanup spot and play first against the Tigers at Tokyo Dome.

“He will be fine,” Hara said. “The team is doing well and it looks like we’ll keep winning.”

Kiyohara sustained an injury to his left hamstring last year and was on course to make a full recovery during spring training at the team’s Miyazaki camp.

However, he hurt his right hamstring while jogging at the end of February and has missed all games since Opening Day as he regained fitness on a minor league team.

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