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Japan tops Aussies

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yu Darvish struck out eight in four solid innings and Norichika Aoki drove in three runs Friday, leading Japan to a 5-1 win over Australia in its final warm-up game for the upcoming qualifying tournament for next year’s Beijing Olympic Games.

Darvish gave up an RBI double to cleanup hitter Ben Risinger in the first inning but settled down to hold the Aussies scoreless over the rest of his outing at Yahoo Dome. The 2007 Pacific League MVP and Sawamura Award winner left after allowing four hits and three walks with a hit batter.

“I can’t say I was in good form,” Darvish said. “I was struggling with my control. There was tightness in my body tonight and I believe I will pitch better in the qualifying tournament if I can get rid of the problem.”

Aoki hit a game-tying sacrifice fly in a three-run third and drove in two more runs in the fourth.