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Baseball: Hawks' Senga hurls gem to tame pennant-chasing Marines

Kodai Senga of the SoftBank Hawks pitches against the Lotte Marines on Oct. 19, 2021, at PayPay Dome in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. (Kyodo)

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) -- Kodai Senga tossed seven-plus innings of one-hit ball Tuesday as the SoftBank Hawks hammered the Lotte Marines 6-0 and knocked them off the top of the Pacific League standings.

    Senga (9-3) flirted with a no-hitter until Yudai Fujioka opened the eighth inning with an infield single at PayPay Dome. The right-hander was hooked after issuing his fourth walk of the night against his next batter in a 106-pitch effort.

    After five perfect innings by Senga, the Hawks finally rewarded their starter in the four-run sixth. With two on and two outs, Yuki Yanagita's RBI infield single drove in the first run before Alfredo Despaigne pulled a three-run shot off lefty Kazuya Ojima (10-4).

    "It was a chance, and I wanted to bring runners home by any means," said Despaigne. "It was a changeup, and I connected perfectly."

    Despaigne also had an RBI single in the eighth when the Hawks added another run through a bases-loaded wild pitch by Marines reliever Fumiya Ono as the home team kept their hopes alive for a playoff spot.

    At Kyocera Dome Osaka, the Orix Buffaloes rose above the Marines to lead the PL after beating the Rakuten Eagles 6-3, Yuma Mune's two-run triple in the four-run fifth proving decisive.

    At MetLife Dome, Yuki Nomura and Chusei Mannami went deep as the Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Seibu Lions 6-2. Former big leaguer Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for the last time in his career for the Lions.

    At Koshien Stadium, the Hanshin Tigers moved within 1-1/2 games of the Central League-leading Yakult Swallows with an 11-0 rout over their direct rivals. Kairi Shimada went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, and Koyo Aoyagi (13-5) tossed seven shutout innings.

    At Yokohama Stadium, Zelous Wheeler tied the game in the eighth with a sacrifice fly for his second RBI of the night as the Yomiuri Giants played out a 4-4 tie with the DeNA BayStars.

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