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Hiroyuki Kobayashi pitched a seven-hitter and struck out six in his first career complete-game shutout as the Lotte Marines blanked the Orix Buffaloes 4-0 Friday in the Pacific League.

News photoHiroyuki Kobayashi of the Lotte Marines reacts after notching his 12th victory with a win over the Orix Buffaloes at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Kobayashi (12-5) walked none in a 114-pitch outing while Benny Agbayani provided key run support with a two-run double in a three-run fourth inning. Lee Seung Yeop and Tomoya Satozaki had RBI groundouts at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Veteran Orix right-hander Masato Yoshii (6-3) was charged with all four runs in seven innings of work.

Second-place Lotte is five games behind the idle Softbank Hawks.

Lions 6, Eagles 3

At Invoice Seibu Dome, Toru Hosokawa hit a grand slam to highlight a five-run fourth inning and Jose Fernandez added a solo homer in the fifth, lifting Seibu past Rakuten.

Seibu got on the scoreboard on a run-scoring error by Rakuten shortstop Yoshinori Okihara before Hosokawa’s second homer in as many games gave starter Akira Miyakoshi a five-run cushion.

Miyakoshi (3-0) held Rakuten to two runs on a Takeshi Yamasaki two-run homer in 5 1/3 innings of work.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Giants 4, Tigers 0

In Nishinomiya, Kimiyasu Kudo pitched six scoreless innings and combined with two relievers on a three-hitter as Yomiuri handed Central League-leading Hanshin its third straight defeat.

Kudo (10-7) rebounded from a shaky start to retire 12 batters in a row, including five straight strikeouts, in one stretch and gave way to the bullpen after holding the Tigers to three singles.

The 42-year-old southpaw, who has a career record of 211-125, became the oldest pitcher in Japanese baseball to notch double-digit wins in a season. He struck out seven and walked one.

Toshihisa Nishi put Yomiuri ahead with a second-inning leadoff homer before RBI doubles from Yoshinori Murata and Shinnosuke Abe made it 4-0 through five innings at Koshien Stadium.

Dragons 8, Carp 6

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiro Araki capped a four-run rally in the sixth inning with a go-ahead single and Kosuke Fukudome drove in a pair of key runs as Chunichi overcame a three-run deficit to beat Hiroshima and move within 1 1/2 games of the league lead.

After a Tomonori Maeda two-run homer helped Hiroshima take a 3-0 lead in the second, Chunichi rocked right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (11-8) with four hits and a walk in the sixth, including Fukudome’s RBI single and a game-tying two-run single by Motonobu Tanishige.

Araki followed with a two-out line-drive to right that gave the Dragons the lead for good. The second baseman singled home another run in a four-run seventh.

Swallows 8, BayStars 7

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Norichika Aoki hit a leadoff “sayonara” homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to help Yakult edge Yokohama in a seesaw contest and snap its four-game losing skid.

Akinori Iwamura homered twice and drove home three runs on a 3-for-4 night while Alex Ramirez and Kosei Ono also homered for the Swallows, who got back to .500.

Hoshino: No comment The Associated Press

Former Hanshin Tigers manager Senichi Hoshino returned to Japan from the United States on Thursday saying he doesn’t want to talk about becoming manager of the Yomiuri Giants.

“The Giants? I have nothing to say about that,” Hoshino said on his official Web site. “I’ve decided that I’m not going to say anything about it and I don’t care how persistent they (the media) are.”

Hoshino has been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace current manager Tsuneo Horiuchi, likely to step down after this season.

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