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Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks ace Tadashi Settsu repeatedly pitched his way out of trouble to go seven innings and earn the win in a 10-1 rout of the Seibu Lions on Thursday.

Mixing his fastball, sinker and curve, Settsu (9-5) allowed just a run on five hits and four walks. The right-hander struck out three in a 115-pitch effort that started after he was already leading 5-0.

For the second straight night, the Hawks batted around in the first inning at Seibu Prince Dome.

Back-to-back singles off Kazuhisa Makita (6-9) by Shuhei Fukuda and Kenji Akashi, and a walk by Yuki Yanagita loaded the bases for Seiichi Uchikawa, who singled in two runs to break the ice.

“Shuhei and Kenji got those hits and Gita kept it going with a walk to set the table well, and I was thinking I need to get this done,” Uchikawa said. “Yesterday, we were also able to open the scoring but we weren’t able to add on. Scoring the first run is important, but Kenji’s three-run homer (in the fourth) was huge.

“This thing won’t be over until our magic number is down to zero, and everyone is doing their best to get it to zero.”

Lee Dae-ho followed with an RBI single, and after a one-out single by Akira Nakamura reloaded the bases, two more runs scored on Kenta Imamiya’s grounder, the second on a throwing error by second baseman Hideto Asamura.

Makita, Seibu’s Opening Day starter, allowed 10 runs, nine earned, in five innings.

Akashi went 3-for-5 and his home run in the fourth virtually ended the contest.

The loss dropped the Lions into fourth place, one game behind the Lotte Marines in the battle for the PL’s final playoff spot.

Marines 3, Fighters 2

At Tokyo Dome, Chen Kuan-yu (3-4) allowed a run in 6⅓ innings to earn the win for Chiba Lotte, which took the lead in the sixth after Ikuhiro Kiyota’s homer tied it against and Alfredo Despaigne walked and scored the go-ahead run on a groundout. Despaigne delivered an insurance run with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Tigers 5, Carp 1

At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Shintaro Fujinami (12-6) struck out a career-high 12 but walked nine and got a huge strikeout with his 147th and last pitch to preserve a 2-1 lead in the seventh as league-leading Hanshin outlasted Hiroshima.

Matt Murton went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs. His first-inning RBI single was his 1,000th in 809 games in Japan, making him the fifth fastest player to reach the milestone.

Dragons 4, BayStars 1

At Nagoya Dome, Daisuke Yamai held Yokohama to a run over six innings and Chunichi took the lead in the eighth on an RBI single by Hector Luna, while career minor leaguer Kazuyuki Akasaka’s two-run single in the same inning iced the game as the Dragons snapped a five-game losing streak,

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