• Kyodo

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Ryoya Kurihara belted a three-run first-inning home run and Shuta Ishikawa threw a one-hitter as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat the Pacific League champion Seibu Lions 4-0 on Saturday afternoon.

After Ishikawa struck out two of the four batters he faced in the first inning, Kurihara came up with two outs and two on in the home half at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The left-handed hitter hit a 1-2 fastball off the end of the bat but still reached the short porch in left field for his seventh homer.

“I bat after some amazing hitters and it seems I am always coming to the plate with guys on base,” he said after raising his RBI count for the year to 29. “I owe those RBIs to them.”

Ishikawa (4-0) struck out 13 and walked two. The Lions only hit off him came when Cory Spangenberg singled with one out and one on in the sixth.

Lions right-hander Keisuke Honda (0-3) allowed four runs on six hits and two walks over five innings.

Keizo Kawashima, batting second for the Hawks, got things started with a first-inning double. He led off the third with another two-bagger and scored on a Yuki Yanagita single.

At Sapporo Dome, right-hander Drew VerHagen (3-1) pitched seven scoreless innings and Ryo Akiyoshi threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save in the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ 3-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Takahiro Shiomi (2-3) worked seven innings and Yasuhito Uchida hit a first-inning grand slam for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in an 8-0 win over the Chiba Lotte Marines.

In the Central League, Yohei Oshima broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run single in the eighth as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3-1 at Nagoya Dome.

At Tokyo Dome, Kazuma Okamoto drove in four runs and scored three, while Zelous Wheeler and Hiroyuki Nakajima each had two RBIs in the Yomiuri Giants’ 11-3 win over the Hiroshima Carp.

At Koshien Stadium, Keita Sano went 4-for-4 with a triple and one of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars’ five home runs in their 7-3 win over the Hanshin Tigers.

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