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Baseball: Giants ace Sugano goes distance to win pitchers' duel

Tomoyuki Sugano of the Yomiuri Giants (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano struck out 11, while allowing only one hit over the distance in a 5-0 Central League win over the Chunichi Dragons on Friday.

    Locked in a pitchers' duel with lefty Yudai Ono, Sugano, who walked two batters and hit one, had to pitch out of trouble in the fourth and seventh innings.

    Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto broke the deadlock at Tokyo Dome with a sixth-inning home run. Ono surrendered an unearned run in the seventh, and the Dragons bullpen gave away three runs in the eighth.

    "Ono pitched a great game, so when I finally got a lead I was thankful I'd been able to hang in there so well," Sugano (2-0) said. "I wasn't that sharp, considering the walks."

    Sugano, who won the 2017 and 2018 Sawamura Award as Japan's most impressive starting pitcher, was troubled last year by injuries and went 11-6 with a 3.89 ERA.

    "Last year I had stretches when I didn't pitch well, so it's been a long time since I had a game like this."

    Ono (0-2) gave up four hits and three walks while striking out 10 over seven innings.

    At Tokyo's Jingu Stadium, Keita Sano singled in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning for the DeNA BayStars in a 5-4 win over the Yakult Swallows after both starting pitchers coughed up four early runs.

    In the Pacific League, Ryosuke Tatsumi homered to break a 1-1 tie and Takahiro Norimoto (3-0) allowed an unearned run over 6-2/3 innings to earn the win in the Rakuten Eagles' 3-1 victory over the Lotte Marines at Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

    At Sapporo Dome, Wladimir Balentien's third home run in two days, broke a 1-1 sixth-inning tie as the SoftBank Hawks came from behind to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 4-1.

    Sosuke Genda's two-run, sixth-inning single tied the game for the Seibu Lions at Saitama Prefecture's MetLife Dome after the Orix Buffaloes scored four runs in the top of the inning off Lions right-hander Zach Neal. The game was called a 4-4 tie after 10 innings.

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