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Six-Game Losing Streak Broken

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Six-Game Losing Streak Broken

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One of the Hawks' nemeses over the years has been Nippon Ham lefty starter Tomoya Yagi. His junkball stylings are similar to yesterday's winner, Masaru Takeda. Lest we forget the 2006 Climax Series victory Yagi, then a rookie, notched against Kazumi Saitoh?

However, Yagi can't seem to put two good seasons together, and, making his second start of the season today, SoftBank jumped on him in the 4th inning to help out starter Hiroki Yamada, as he recorded his first professional win with a spectacular 8 and 1/3 inning start.

All the damage that needed to be done for the Hawks came in the bottom of the 4th. After the struggling Matsunaka grounded out, four straight batters reached. Tamura started the rally with a double, Petagine singled him in (1-0), Ortiz drew a walk, and the now-healthy Nobuhiro Matsuda cranked a two-run triple (3-0). Hasegawa finished the scoring with a sacrifice fly to send home Matsuda for a 4-0 advantage after four.

In the meantime, Yamada was on cruise control for most of the game. Nippon Ham didn't even have a runner reach second base until the 9th inning. With his pitch count rising, Yamada got the first out before he ran out of gas. Hichori Morimoto singled and Atsunori Inaba was hit with a pitch. Koyano finally chased Yamada with an RBI single to left. However, it was far too little, too late at 6-1. Settsu relieved Yamada and struck out both Itoi and Nioka to end the game.

SoftBank would add two more runs in support of Yamada in the 8th, all with two outs. Tamura was hit with a pitch by Miyanishi, and Petagine doubled him home. Shuhei Fukuda pinch-ran for Petagine, and it paid off when Satoru Morimoto doubled him home.

With the win, SoftBank snaps its six-game losing streak and is looking to build on it when they travel to Sendai to take on the pesky Rakuten Eagles. JD Durbin, a long-coveted prospect by SoftBank, makes his first NPB start against veteran ace Hisashi Iwakuma (5-4, 2.54).
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