Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Hawks' Kodai Senga shuts down Lions for eight innings, nabs first win of season

Kyodo

Kodai Senga struck out 11 over eight innings as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks got past the Seibu Lions 2-0 on Friday.

Senga (1-0) surrendered two hits and three walks in his 126-pitch gem to outduel Shinsaburo Tawata (2-1) as the defending Japan Series champs knocked off last year’s Pacific League champions at MetLife Dome.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Hawks, who had gotten good work this year from their Opening Day starter but no wins. The win was also Senga’s first at the Lions’ home park, where he lost all three of his games their last season.

“This feels like my Opening Day,” said Senga, who had allowed only five runs this season in three starts and had recorded 26 strikeouts over his past two games. “I might have been overachieving. I’m happy to get the win here, though.”

SoftBank scored both of its runs in the third with two outs. Taisei Makihara walked and Go Kamamoto singled to set the table for back-to-back RBI singles by Kenta Imamiya and Nobuhiro Matsuda.

With Seibu unable to muster a hit through five innings, the Hawks wasted a chance to blow the game open in the top of the sixth, but Tawata pitched out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam.

Closer Yuito Mori allowed the tying runs to reach in the ninth on an error and a two-out walk, but survived the long inning to earn his sixth save.

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