Fighters’ winless streak reaches nine


D.J. Houlton threw one-run ball over the distance in his third complete game of the season, Seiichi Uchikawa went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and the first-place Fukuoka Softbank Hawks pounded the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 10-1 on Tuesday.

The Hawks, who have already clinched a spot in the Climax Series playoffs, saw their magic number to win the Pacific League pennant drop to five.

Houlton (16-6), who matched the PL lead for wins this season, retired the first 14 batters he faced before allowing a two-out single to Sho Nakata in the fifth.

He scattered five hits, including a solo homer to Sho Nakata in the eighth, struck out six and walked none at Yahoo Dome. Brian Wolfe (12-9) was roughed up for eight runs in four innings.

Softbank grabbed a 4-0 lead on six hits in the second, which featured an RBI single by Uchikawa. Nobuhiro Matsuda capped the scoring for his team with a two-run blast in the sixth.

The second-place Fighters are winless in their last nine games, including a tie.

Lions 7, Eagles 1

At Sendai’s Kleenex Stadium, Hideto Asamura hit a two-run homer off Takahiro Shiomi (7-8) and Jose Fernandez drove in two runs and had three hits, helping power Seibu to a win over Tohoku Rakuten to extend its undefeated streak to 12 games.

The Lions returned to .500 for the first time since June. Hideaki Wakui (8-11) limited the damage to one run over seven innings.

Buffaloes 6, Marines 4

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Takahiro Okada drove in three runs and Mitsutaka Goto had four hits as Orix beat Chiba Lotte to win its fourth game in a row.


Giants 4, BayStars 1

At Yokohama Stadium, rookie Hirokazu Sawamura (9-11) used his fastball effectively over seven innings of one-run ball and Yomiuri broke a 1-1 tie when Hayato Sakamoto and Daisuke Fujimura hit back-to-back sacrifice flies in the fifth inning in a win over Yokohama.

Yuya Kubo pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save. Yuki Kuniyoshi (0-3) took the loss for the BayStars.

Swallows 8, Tigers 4

At Jingu Stadium, Shingo Kawabata hit a go-ahead grand slam off reliever Daiki Enokida with two outs in the sixth inning as Tokyo Yakult rallied past Hanshin.

Dragons 5, Carp 4

At Mazda Stadium, Tony Blanco went 4-for-5 with a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth inning, lifting Chunichi past Hiroshima and Takuya Asao (6-2) got the win in relief.

Hitoki Iwase retired three in the ninth for his 32nd save. Carp closer Dennis Sarfate (1-3) was tagged for the loss.