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Friday, July 16, 2010

Hirano fires Lions by Fighters

Staff writer

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Pref. — Masamitsu Hirano had to wait almost two years to earn his second career win. So it's hard to blame him for wanting to savor every inning of it.

News photo
Up for grabs: Orix Buffaloes center fielder Tomotaka Sakaguchi jumps to catch a flyball hit by Chiba Lotte's Saburo Omura in the fourth inning on Thursday at Chiba Marine Stadium. KYODO PHOTO

Hirano cooled off Japanese baseball's hottest team with a three-hit shutout, Jose Fernandez drove in two runs, and the Seibu Lions routed the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 7-0 on Thursday night at Seibu Dome.

"It's the first time (to win) since my first start," Hirano said. "I went at full strength from the beginning, but I never imagined I would finish the game with a shutout."

Hirano's last victory came on July 23, 2008 in a 14-5 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Hirano gave up three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3innings in that game.

He was much more efficient this time around.

Pounding the zone with fastballs and keeping the Fighters off balance with an array of breaking pitches, Hirano struck out five, walked one and induced a number of easy outs in an 130-pitch outing.

"I did better than I could have possibly expected," Hirano said. "I tried to pitch aggressively to all the batters."

Fernandez slipped back into his old routine at Seibu Dome, driving in a pair of runs on a 2-for-4 night. He spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the Lions and returned to the team as a free agent late last month.

"It feels good," Fernandez said. "I was kind of rushed out. I didn't play any games in the minor leagues. So I was trying to make sure I didn't overdo things and try to do too much.

"It was great today. I was able to swing the bat well and hopefully it carries on from here."

He was 0-for-4 on Wednesday in his first game back.

"Yesterday was a little bit rushed," Fernandez said. "You feel the butterflies, you want to try to do everything the first day. Today, I tried to stay back. Basically that was the key. Try to stay patient."

Ryo Sakata hit his fifth homer in nine games for the Lions in the fourth inning, and Masahiro Abe hit his first of the year in the fifth.

"I caught a fastball," Abe said. "It was 3-2 in the count, so I tried to swing hard. I'm relieved I finally got one."

Takumi Kuriyama, Hisashi Takayama and Tatsuyuki Uemoto also drove in runs.

The defeat gives the Fighters consecutive losses for the first time since being swept by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in a two-game interleague series from June 9-10.

Yoshio Itoi, Atsunori Inaba and Daikan Yoh picked up the team's only hits.

Starter Mitsuo Yoshikawa fell to 0-3 after allowing four runs on nine hits. He struck out seven and walked none.

Marines top Buffs

CHIBA (Kyodo) Yuji Yoshimi pitched six innings of one-run ball, leading the Chiba Lotte Marines to a 3-1 victory over the Orix Buffaloes on Thursday night at Chiba Marine Stadium.

Yoshimi (3-4) allowed three hits and struck out five. The Marines took the lead for good at 2-1 in the sixth when Orix third baseman Aaron Baldiris made his second error of the night with a runner on third.

Hiroyuki Kobayashi picked up his 15th save.

Masayuki Hasegawa (0-1) was charged with three runs, one earned, in eight innings.

Hawks at Eagles — ppd.


Carp 12, BayStars 6

At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshikazu Kura hit one of Hiroshima's five homers and finished with four RBIs against Yokohama.

Kura hit a three-run homer off Daisuke Miura (3-7) to put the Carp up 3-1 in the second inning and added an RBI single in the fourth.

Takahiro Iwamoto, Eishin Soyogi, Jun Hirose and Yuichiro Mukae also homered.

Yuki Saito (2-4) allowed four runs in six innings to win for the first time since April 14.

Swallows 9, Dragons 4

At Nagoya Dome, Yasushi Iihara and Kazuki Fukuchi drove in two runs apiece as Tokyo Yakult routed Chunichi for its fifth straight win.

Norichika Aoki highlighted his four-hit night with an RBI single off Kazuki Yoshimi (8-5), making it 5-3 in the sixth inning.

Fukuchi hit a two-run single in a four-run ninth.

Rookie Masato Nakazawa (6-5) gave up three runs, one earned, in five innings.

Giants at Tigers — ppd.

Peavy has surgery

CHICAGO (AP) Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy had surgery Wednesday to repair a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right posterior shoulder. He will miss the rest of the season.

The surgery at Rush University Medical Center revealed a clean avulsion of the tendon off the bone with little or no muscle damage, doctors said. The procedure was performed by a team of surgeons from Midwest Orthopedics, led by Dr. Tony Romeo and Dr. Greg Nicholson and assisted by Dr. Charles-Bush Joseph.

The team said in a release that the season-ending surgery was a success. Peavy said last week he hoped to be throwing by spring training in February.

Peavy was hurt early in Chicago's victory over the Los Angeles Angels last Tuesday night.

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