Sendai – Kodai Senga’s troubled season showed signs of turning around on Wednesday, as he went six innings in the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks’ 3-0 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles in the Pacific League.
Senga (2-1) was named to Japan’s Olympic team despite being hurt most of the season. The win was his first since he hurt his ankle in his season debut in April. Four relievers finished up as SoftBank’s pitchers set a franchise record by throwing 42 consecutive scoreless innings.
“It’s been a long time since I was able to flip the right switch,” said Senga, who allowed two hits, issued one walk and hit a batter while striking out six at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.
The Hawks opened the scoring in the first through two of Senga’s gold medal-winning Olympic teammates. Yuki Yanagita singled with two outs off rookie lefty Takahisa Hayakawa (7-4) and scored on Ryoya Kurihara’s double. Alfredo Despaigne then singled to make it 2-0.
Yanagita singled in a run in the second to make it 3-0.
Sho Iwasaki, the Hawks’ fifth pitcher, struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his sixth save.
The third-place Hawks moved to within one game of the second-place Eagles, who are 2½ back of the first-place Orix Buffaloes.
Buffaloes 5, Fighters 2
At Hotto Motto Field Kobe, Ryoichi Adachi doubled in the tiebreaking run and Masataka Yoshida iced the game with a two-run home run, his 19th of the season.
Marines 5, Lions 3
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Kazuya Ojima (6-3) allowed two runs over six innings in the Marines’ win over Seibu.
Tigers 5, BayStars 2
At Tokyo Dome, rookie Masashi Ito (6-5) allowed two runs over eight innings as Hanshin came from behind to beat DeNA to maintain its two-game Central League lead over the Yomiuri Giants.
Giants 3, Swallows 2
At Matsuyama Botchan Stadium, Hiroyuki Nakajima singled in two seventh-inning runs to help the Giants rally for a win over Yakult.
Dragons 3, Carp 0
At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Takahiro Matsuba (2-2) allowed one hit over 5⅔ innings and four relievers completed a one-hit shutout.
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