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Baseball: Lotte's Enny Romero hurls 7 shutout innings to tame SoftBank

The Lotte Marines' Enny Romero pitches during a Pacific League game against the SoftBank Hawks on June 27, 2022, at Tokyo Dome.(Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Enny Romero threw seven innings of four-hit ball as the Lotte Marines overpowered the COVID-19-hit Pacific League-leading Softbank Hawks 8-1 on Monday.

    The Hawks reported five positive cases of the coronavirus infection earlier in the day, three of them players including veteran former big leaguer Tsuyoshi Wada who was scheduled to start on the mound at Tokyo Dome.

    Kotaro Otake (0-1) was urgently tasked to start but gave up four runs in the third. With two outs and two on, Hisanori Yasuda's RBI single drove in the opening run for Lotte before Brandon Laird blasted a three-run shot over the left-field wall.

    Romero (6-4) allowed back-to-back singles in the home half and also a one-out double in the fourth but no runs from either jam. The left-hander hurled three 1-2-3 innings before being replaced, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out two in an 83-pitch outing.

    Otake, pitching for the first time this season, lasted four-plus innings allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk in an 87-pitch effort.

    Shogo Nakamura's solo shot made it a 5-0 game in the eighth before the Hawks had their biggest chance of the game in the bottom of the frame against Lotte reliever Tayron Guerrero.

    Three singles loaded the bases with one out and Ukyo Shuto's RBI single plated the Hawks' first run, with the bases still loaded. But Kenta Imamiya grounded out to shortstop for a double play as the chance quickly evaporated.

    Lotte added three runs in the ninth through a sacrifice fly and Nakamura's RBI double to complete the rout. The Hawks' lead over the Rakuten Eagles at the top of PL was cut to one game.

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