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Kenshin Kawakami pitched eight strong innings while Kosuke Fukudome and Alex Ochoa combined for eight runs to power the front-running Chunichi Dragons over the Yomiuri Giants 14-3 in the Central League on Wednesday.

News photoChunichi pitcher Kenshin Kawakami doubles to center in the second inning against the Yomiuri
Giants on Wednesday at Sapporo Dome. The Dragons won 14-3.

Kawakami (7-5) went 2-for-4 and contributed to a 22-hit offense that featured four hits each by Masahiro Araki and Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, as Chunichi came within three hits of a single-game franchise record and extended its lead over second-place Yomiuri to 1 1/2 games.

Kawakami, who had been winless since May 21, struck out nine and walked none in his 106-pitch outing and limited the damage to a Takayuki Shimizu solo homer in the first inning and a Toshihisa Nishi RBI triple in the eighth.

Hisanori Takahashi (1-4) was knocked out in one-plus innings after having allowed eight runs on nine hits.

Tigers 5, Carp 2

At Koshien Stadium, Shinjiro Hiyama tied the game on an RBI sacrifice fly and Akihiro Yano singled home the go-ahead run off John Bale (4-3) in the three-run first inning as Hanshin came from behind to defeat Hiroshima for its third straight victory.

Tomoaki Kanemoto gave Hanshin a 4-2 cushion with a run-scoring double in the fifth and Atsushi Fujimoto singled in another run in the eighth.

Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (5-1) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings of work for the win.

BayStars 9, Swallows 4

At Jingu Stadium, four players — including Yokohama starter Ken Kadokura — connected for homers off Shugo Fujii (0-4) as the visitors pounded out 15 hits, at least one in each inning, en route to victory over last-place Yakult.

Kadokura (1-3) struck out 11 and scattered five hits in seven innings for his first win since he was traded from the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes to Yokohama last October.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Marines 9, Buffaloes 8

At Osaka Dome, Lee Seung Yeop, who connected for a three-run homer in a six-run first inning, doubled in the tie-breaking run in the ninth and Tsuyoshi Nishioka drove in the eventual game winner on an RBI single as Lotte edged Kintetsu in a 34-hit slugfest.

Masahide Kobayashi (3-5) earned the win despite allowing a run in the bottom of the ninth.

Lions 1, BlueWave 0

At Seibu Dome, Chang Chih-chia outdueled Masahiko Kaneda and pitched a five-hitter in his second shutout this season as the Lions blanked Orix.

Fighters 3, Hawks 0

At Fukuoka Dome, Carlos Mirabal (4-6) pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings and two relievers held the home team hitless the rest of the way as Nippon Ham beat Daiei for its first shutout victory this season.

Riggan faces surgery

OSAKA (Kyodo) Hanshin Tigers right-hander Jerrod Riggan will likely be required to undergo surgery on his right elbow in the United States, Hanshin manager Akinobu Okada said Wednesday.

Okada revealed that the results of Riggan’s medical tests have already been mailed to a hospital in the United States, raising speculation that Riggan will have to sit out the rest of the season while the defending Central League champions struggle to reach the .500 mark.

Last week, Riggan, 30, was diagnosed with damaged ligaments in the elbow of his throwing arm and was removed from the active roster.

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