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Hirotoshi Takanashi continued his strong run as a starter with seven scoreless innings on Friday as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 5-2, extending their winning streak to eight games.

Takanashi (4-2) has allowed one unearned run over 18 innings since being inserted into the starting rotation on June 8. The right-hander allowed five hits and no walks, while striking out 11 before 38,389 at Yafuoku Dome.

“The fact that I didn’t walk anyone was good,” said Takanashi, who began the season in the bullpen. “I had confidence in all my pitches tonight and could command them all well. Because of that, I could get those strikeouts.

“This is a big series for us and I really wanted us to get a win here today. The Hawks are a team we have to beat, so to be able to pitch well against them is great.”

The Fighters broke the ice on a two-out double steal in the second after Kensuke Tanaka doubled with one out off former Chicago Cub lefty Tsuyoshi Wada (9-3) and Brandon Laird was hit by a pitch. After Kenshi Sugiya grounded into a force out, he took off for second, and Tanaka came home when the throw went through to second base. Shota Ono singled home Sugiya to make it 2-0.

Tanaka drove in a run in the third after Yang Dai-kang doubled in the first of his two RBIs for the visitors.

Softbank got on the board in the ninth against Nippon Ham’s second reliever, Yohei Kagiya, who allowed a two-run homer to Akira Nakamura. Chris Martin replaced Kagiya and struck out both batters he faced to end it and send the Fighters to their longest win streak in seven seasons.

Wada lasted just four innings. He allowed five runs on seven hits with two walks and a hit batsman, while striking out six.

Eagles 3, Lions 2

At Sendai’s Kobo Stadium, Ginji Akaminai overturned a two-run, sixth-inning deficit with a no-out, three-run double to propel Tohoku Rakuten past Seibu.

The Lions have lost five straight for the second time this season.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 7, Tigers 2

At Nagoya Dome, Dayan Viciedo broke up a scoreless game with a three-run, sixth-inning home run off Shintaro Fujinami (4-4), and Jordan Norberto (5-2) allowed two runs in 7-2/3 innings as Chunichi clobbered Hanshin.

Carp 6, BayStars 2

At Yokohama Stadium, a night after seeing an 11-game win streak go down the tubes, league-leading Hiroshima bounced back with 13 hits in a one-sided win over Yokohama behind seven innings from lefty Kris Johnson (8-5).

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