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Shoichi Ino struck out a season-high nine over seven innings and two relievers provided perfect relief as the Yokohama BayStars whipped the Chunichi Dragons 9-0 on Saturday.

Ino (4-4), who allowed five hits, walked a batter and hit one, and struck out four of the first five hitters he faced before the BayStars opened the scoring in the top of the third.

Masashi Kuwahara, who went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and three runs, got things going in the third against second-year lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (2-4).

Kuwahara doubled with one out, Hiroyasu Tanaka singled him home and wound up on second. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s RBI single made it 2-0.

The Dragons had a chance to tie in the fourth after a leadoff single and a hit batsman, but Ino struck out the next two batters before escaping via a groundout.

“The number of games that are more important will increase in the second half of the season, so I want to throw as many innings as I can,” said Ino, who leads the BayStars in innings pitched this season with 94⅓.

With that threat out of the way, Kuwahara hit his eighth homer of the year in the top of the fifth, and the ceiling came crashing down on Ogasawara in a six-run BayStars sixth.

Two outs after a Jose Lopez leadoff double, No. 7 hitter Takayuki Kajitani was walked intentionally ahead of the pitcher’s spot — No. 8 in manager Alex Ramirez’s lineup. But Ino reached on an infield single and No. 9 hitter Toshihiko Kuramoto singled in two, and Tanaka and Lopez each singled in two more to ice the game.

Lefty Edwin Escobar, acquired in a trade from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Thursday, retired all three batters he faced in the eighth. Right-hander Shingo Hirata repeated the feat in the ninth to close out the five-hit shutout.

The Dragons’ loss, before 32,280 at Nagoya Dome, snapped their four-game winning streak.

Carp 8, Swallows 2

At Jingu Stadium, Kazuki Yabuta (8-1) allowed two runs in seven innings and Hiroshima defensive wiz Ryosuke Kikuchi hit two of his team’s four homers as last-place Tokyo Yakult suffered its seventh straight defeat.

Giants 8, Tigers 1

At Koshien Stadium, Tetsuya Utsumi (2-5) went five innings to earn his first win since April 5, while Daisuke Yamai went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer, two runs and three RBIs as Yomiuri pounded Hanshin.

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Hawks 5, Fighters 2

At Sapporo Dome, Kodai Senga (7-2) who missed most of June due to back stiffness, threw six innings for his first win since May, while Yuki Yanagita homered for the third straight game, hitting his 23rd, a two-run shot in the first, as Fukuoka SoftBank held off struggling Hokkaido Nippon Ham.

Marines 6, Buffaloes 2

At Hotto Motto Field Kobe, Yuki Karakawa (4-7) allowed two runs in 7⅓ innings and Jimmy Paredes’ RBI single broke a 1-1, sixth-inning tie, while Shogo Nakamura drove in three runs in Chiba Lotte’s win over Orix.

Eagles 4, Lions 2

At Kobo Park Miyagi, Manabu Mima threw six scoreless innings for Tohoku Rakuten and Japhet Amador delivered a pinch-hit, two-run, eighth-inning double that broke a 2-2 tie in a win over Seibu.

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