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Kei Igawa pitched his career first no-hitter with an eight-strikeout effort in a 1-0 victory over the Hiroshima Carp in the Central League on Monday.

News photoHanshin Tigers starter Kei Igawa unleashes a pitch against the Hiroshima Carp en route to
throwing a no-hitter at Hiroshima Stadium. The Tigers won 1-0.

The 25-year-old Igawa (13-11) walked one and hit a batter in a 118-pitch outing in the Carp’s final game this season at Hiroshima Stadium en route to becoming the 71st player in Japanese pro baseball history to pitch a no-hitter.

Kenshin Kawakami was the 31st pitcher in the Central League to pitch a no-hitter on Aug. 1 2002, while Tetsuro Kawajiri was the seventh in Hanshin club history to achieve the feat on May 26, 1998.

Igawa, a southpaw in his seventh year in Japanese pro baseball, joined Hanshin as a No. 2 draft pick in 1998.

Last season, Igawa won the CL MVP honors as well as the Sawamura Award and recorded 20 victories to help lead the Tigers to their first league championship in 18 years.

Giants 7, BayStars 3

At Yokohama Stadium, Shinnosuke Abe hit a three-run homer and Tomohiro Nioka added an RBI single as Yomiuri held off Yokohama.

Abe connected for a shot off Cedric Bowers (7-3) in the third inning to five Yomiuri a 3-0 lead followed by Nioka’s clutch single in the fifth.

Hitoshi Taneda delivered a two-run blast in the bottom of the fifth as Yokohama came within one run but the Giants tacked on three insurance runs to put the game out of reach.

The 41-year-old Kimiyasu Kudo (10-7) went seven innings on three-run ball with eight strikeouts to notch double-digit wins for the first time in four years.

Hillman to stay on

SAPPORO (Kyodo) The Nippon Ham Fighters said Monday manager Trey Hillman, who has already agreed to return for a third season next year, will hold a formal press conference on Tuesday announcing his plans to continue at the helm of the Pacific League club.

The club finished in fifth place in Hillman’s first year as skipper but made vast improvements after moving its home base to Hokkaido, led by a group of talented young players including catcher Shinji Takahashi and pitcher Yukiya Yokoyama.

This season, Hillman guided the team into a first-stage playoff spot after finishing the season in third place in the PL standings with a record of 66 wins against 65 losses and two ties.

Despite the Fighters being eliminated by the Seibu Lions in the best-of-three series, the 41-year-old Hillman was given a high evaluation for his strong leadership ability.

Takahashi sidelined

Yomiuri Giants outfielder Yoshinobu Takahashi, who is scheduled to have bone chips removed from his right elbow next week, will skip an eight-game exhibition series against major leaguers in November, club officials said Monday.

Takahashi, who will be replaced for the series by a yet undecided player, will undergo surgery on Oct. 14 and hence has decided to sit out the Nov. 5-14 series taking place in Fukuoka, Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo.

Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens and St. Louis Cardinals infielder Albert Pujols as well as Texas Rangers infielder Alfonso Soriano are among the featured major league players appearing.

Yagi set to retire

KOBE (Kyodo) Hanshin Tigers infielder Hiroshi Yagi on Monday announced his decision to bring the curtain down on his playing career at the end of this season.

The 39-year-old Yagi, who is in his 18th year in pro baseball, had hinted at retirement after being taken off the roster on Sept. 1 and has decided to take his place behind the net as a baseball commentator.

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