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Eagles’ Takayuki Kishi goes the distance, scatters five hits in triumph over Hawks

Kyodo

Takayuki Kishi snapped a personal losing streak to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Saturday, going the distance in the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles’ 7-1 victory.

The right-hander dominated a Hawks lineup lacking its best hitter, Yuki Yanagita, by throwing a lively fastball with pinpoint precision.

Working with a lead from the get-go, Kishi’s few mistakes didn’t cost him and he held the Hawks off the board until Kenta Imamiya’s eighth-inning RBI triple reduced the Eagles’ lead to 6-1.

Kishi (9-1) allowed five hits, hit a batter and struck out seven. He was on a different level from last Saturday, when he surrendered five home runs to the Pacific League-leading Seibu Lions in a game the Eagles still managed to win.

“Having reflected on my start last week, I came out to throw strikes and challenge them,” Kishi said. “Because we scored so early and often, I was able to relax and do my thing. I think it makes a difference for a pitcher to know that if he does well, the guys will score for him. It makes him fight even harder.”

The Hawks mounted their first threat of the game in the third inning, when Kenta Imamiya and Seiji Uebayashi hit back-to-back, one-out singles, Imamiya off a curve and Uebayashi off a slider. That seemed to jar Kishi, who switched back almost exclusively to his heater until the late innings.

Rakuten wasted no time scoring in the top of the first. Rookie Kazuki Tanaka opened the game by hitting Tadashi Settsu’s first pitch to the opposite field for his ninth home run. Eigoro Mogi walked with two outs and scored on Ginji Akaminai’s single. Lumbering Japhet Amador capped the rally by singling off the top of the outfield wall to make it 3-0.

Settsu (2-4) allowed four runs on six hits and three walks over 2-2/3 innings.

Hiroaki Shimauchi singled home Tanaka in the second and Mogi in the fourth to make it 5-0, and Amador led off the seventh with his 20th home run.

Kishi’s win against the Hawks was his first since July 12, 2017, and was his first complete-game victory over SoftBank since April 2012, when he was still pitching for the Lions.

The Hawks have been without Yanagita since he felt stiffness in his neck on Tuesday. The league’s batting average and slugging average leader, Yanagita leads the Hawks in runs, RBIs, home runs and stolen bases.

Fighters 3, Buffaloes 0

At Sapporo Dome, 20-year-old Hokkaido Nippon Ham rookie Mizuki Hori (1-0) threw 5-1/3 innings and four relievers completed the two-hit shutout that extended Orix’s season-worst losing streak to seven games.

Lions at Marines — ppd.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Dragons 4, Giants 0

At Tokyo Dome, lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (5-6) allowed three hits and three walks, while striking out nine en route to his first career shutout.

Atsushi Fujii and Dayan Viciedo each drove in two runs as Chunichi got past Yomiuri ace Tomoyuki Sugano (9-7).

BayStars 9, Carp 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, rookie Masaya Kyoyama (5-2) allowed a run in 5-2/3 innings, and Neftali Soto hit a two-run home run and scored twice as Yokohama trounced league-leading Hiroshima.

Soto has hit seven of his 16 home runs over his past nine games.

Tigers at Swallows — ppd.