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Baseball: Hawks hammer Lions in Pacific League

SoftBank Hawks right-hander Rei Takahashi earns his fourth straight win of the season as his team beats the Seibu Lions 16-5.(Kyodo)

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama (Kyodo) -- The SoftBank Hawks' lineup combined for 16 hits on Sunday to claim their three-game series on the road against the Seibu Lions.

    While the Hawks' bullpen thwarted the Pacific League's defending champions, last year's Japan Series winners had back-to-back five-run innings in their 16-5 victory over the Lions at MetLife Dome.

    SoftBank catcher Takuya Kai, the 2018 Japan Series MVP, opened the scoring by leading off the third with a home run and drove in the first of five runs in the fourth against Seibu starter Kona Takahashi (2-2). The right-hander gave up seven hits and six runs over four innings.

    In the fifth, SoftBank rookie Ukyo Shuto hit his first career home run -- a two-out three-run shot to right -- to cap another five-run rally after Lions' reliever Hayato Takagi got into a bases-loaded jam.

    Hawks right-hander Rei Takahashi (4-0) was solid through four innings, but the rookie loaded the bases in the fifth and allowed two runs on a walk and a balk. Ren Kajiya took over in the sixth and yielded two runs, including a solo shot to Shuta Tonosaki.

    After Kenta Imamiya's RBI single in the ninth, veteran SoftBank slugger Nobuhiro Matsuda added a two-run blast before Yuki Mima's solo shot wrapped up the scoring.

    In other Pacific League games, Motohiro Shima's two-run homer in the second spurred the Rakuten Eagles to a 7-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes. Yoshinao Kamata (1-0) picked up his first win in two years.

    In the Central League, Cristopher Mercedes (2-1) tossed seven scoreless innings in the Yomiuri Giants' 3-0 win against the Hanshin Tigers.

    Reliever Yuki Kuniyoshi (1-1), making a rare start, allowed four runs in one inning to take the loss as the Hiroshima Carp beat the DeNA BayStars 7-4. Xavier Batista went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a home run.

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