Darvish wins 15th game in convincing style


Yu Darvish struck out 14 en route to his fifth shutout of the season as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 4-0 on Friday.

Darvish (15-3) became the first 15-game winner in Japan this season after scattering five hits, all singles, and walking two in a 126-pitch outing at Sapporo Dome.

The 24-year-old right-hander has reached 15 wins for the fourth time in five seasons.

The second-place Fighters took the opener of the three-game series and pulled within 2½ games of the Hawks in the Pacific League standings.

Nippon Ham got on the board in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by cleanup hitter Sho Nakata.

Yang Dai-kang made it 3-0 in the sixth when he delivered a two-run single, his third hit of the night. Softbank second baseman Yuichi Honda’s eighth-inning error allowed the game’s final run to score.

Hawks left-hander Hiroki Yamada (7-6) was charged with one run and seven hits in 4⅔ innings.

Eagles 9, Marines 1

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Luis Garcia hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Kelvin Jimenez (1-5) allowed one run in 5⅔ innings as Tohoku Rakuten trounced Chiba Lotte to end a seven-game losing streak.

Takeshi Yamasaki and Ryo Hijirisawa drove in two runs apiece.

The Marines’ Yuki Karakawa (8-4) was roughed up for five runs in six innings.

Buffaloes 8, Lions 6

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Aarom Baldiris homered and drove in three runs as Orix beat Seibu to extend its unbeaten streak to seven games.

Shinya Nakayama (3-7) allowed three runs in 6⅔ innings in a winning effort. Takayuki Kishi (3-5) took the loss.


Tigers 4, Swallows 1

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Takahiro Arai hit a three-run home run in the third and Yasutomo Kubo (5-4) pitched seven innings of one-run ball, leading Hanshin over Tokyo Yakult.

Wladimir Balentien hit his CL-leading 20th homer, a solo shot in the seventh for the Swallows.

Kyuji Fujikawa struck out the side in the ninth for his 26th save.

Carp 4, Giants 0

At Tokyo Dome, Giancarlo Alvarado (2-4) went seven innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hit shutout as Hiroshima downed Yomiuri.

The Carp took a 3-0 lead in the second against Giants rookie Hirokazu Sawamura (5-9), pounding out four hits and sending nine batters to the plate.