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Baseball: Otake outduels Wakui as Hawks close on 1st place

Rookie Kotaro Otake of the SoftBank Hawks pitches against the Lotte Marines during a baseball game at Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba Prefecture on Sept. 6, 2018. (Kyodo)

CHIBA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Rookie Kotaro Otake allowed a run over seven innings, and Kenta Imamiya contributed to both of the SoftBank Hawks' runs in a 2-1 win over the Lotte Marines on Thursday.

Otake (2-0) surrendered seven hits and a walk, but the Marines only run came on Daichi Suzuki's fourth-inning home run at windy Zozo Marine Stadium. The lefty struck out five to outduel veteran Hideaki Wakui.

The win lifted the second-place Hawks to within four games of the Pacific League-leading Seibu Lions, who were idle on Thursday.

Wakui (5-8) survived a couple of early scoring threats and retired 15 straight batters before surrendering Imamiya's leadoff single in the seventh. Akira Nakamura doubled, and the Marines wanted no part of cleanup hitter Yuki Yanagita who walked on four pitches to load the bases. With one out, Yurisbel Gracial forced Imamiya home with a walk.

After throwing 108 pitches through seven innings, Wakui came back out for the eighth and surrendered a leadoff triple to Kenji Akashi and Imamiya's one-out RBI double.

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Eagles 4, Buffaloes 0

At Hotto Motto Field, Takahiro Norimoto (7-10) struck out 14 batters over eight innings, and lefty Yuki Matsui worked a 1-2-3 ninth to complete Rakuten's four-hit shutout. It was Orix's eighth straight loss to Norimoto.

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Central League

Dragons 9, Swallows 3

At Jingu Stadium, Shuhei Takahashi drove in four runs and a trio of players scored twice each as Chunichi snapped a nine-game losing streak at the Swallows' home park.

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Tigers 13, Carp 3

At Mazda Stadium, rookie Hiroto Saiki (5-7) allowed a run over six innings and Hanshin bombarded Hiroshima starter Akitake Okada (7-6) for six runs over five innings. The Tigers knocked out six straight hits in their five-run fifth inning.

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