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Randy Messenger held the Yokohama BayStars to a run over eight innings as the Hanshin Tigers maintained a foothold at the top of the Central League with a 3-1 win on Sunday.

Messenger (8-10) allowed three hits and struck out 11 without a walk in his 108-pitch outing, giving up just one hit to Yokohama starter Guillermo Moscoso (3-6) through seven innings, before Jose Lopez doubled in the eighth and Hiroki Minei singled him in for the BayStars’ only run.

“I feel really good. Sumimasen, hisashiburi (I’m sorry, its’ been a while),” said Messenger after getting his first win since July 26, which also came at home against the BayStars.

“It’s unfortunate I haven’t been getting wins but the team’s been playing good baseball and that’s what matters. They showed up today and that’s all that matters.”

Kosuke Fukudome lined a one-out, RBI single over the second baseman to give Hanshin the lead in the first inning, hitting an 0-2 changeup with a runner on second.

Matt Murton doubled the lead in the fourth with a two-out solo home run over the left-field wall, again off the Venezuelan’s changeup, before Fukudome drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth from the right-hander with two outs.

“We had good support from our home fans, the team is playing positively. We’ve been sorry for not being able to perform when Randy was pitching and talked about it in a huddle before the game, too,” said Fukudome.

The Tigers ended the week with a series sweep, having lost their previous three games against the Yomiuri Giants.

Dragons 4, Swallows 0

At Jingu Stadium, Chunichi rookie Shunta Wakamatsu (7-2) threw seven shutout innings on four hits, striking out seven with two walks. Kyohei Kamezawa and Anderson Hernandez drove in a run each with a single and a double, respectively, off Tokyo Yakult’s Shohei Tateyama (3-2) in the first inning.

Carp 2, Giants 1

At Mazda Stadium, Brad Eldred’s RBI single off Yomiuri’s Kazuto Taguchi (2-5) in the sixth broke a 1-1 tie for Hiroshima. Hiroki Kuroda (8-6) allowed an unearned run on eight hits over seven innings, and right fielder Takayoshi Noma saved the game in the ninth as his strong throw prevented speedster Takahiro Suzuki from scoring the tying run.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Fighters 5, Buffaloes 1

At Tokyo Dome, Masaru Nakamura (2-3) went the distance, allowing Orix a run on six hit, and three walks, while striking out seven. Three home runs drove in all five runs for Hokkaido Nippon Ham as Yang Dai-kang, Sho Nakata and Brandon Laird all went deep.

Hawks 6, Eagles 4

At Kobo Stadium Miyagi, Shuhei Fukuda hit a two-run homer off Tohoku Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui (3-2) to break a 4-4 tie in the ninth. Softbank’s Akira Nakamura tied the game in the eighth with an RBI single off Rhiner Cruz that scored Fukuda, who entered as a pinch runner.

Lions 7, Marines 0

At Seibu Prince Dome, Kona Takahashi (3-1) marked his first career shutout on six hits as he struck out five against Chiba Lotte, helping Seibu move into the third place in the PL. Ryota Wakiya singled in a run off Yuta Omine (6-6) in the first inning and Shogo Akiyama ripped a three-run homer in the third.

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