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Durbin's debut dutiful, but extra effort needed

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Durbin's debut dutiful, but extra effort needed

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A long- coveted prospect by SoftBank, JD Durbin was eventually signed by the team and sent to ni-gun to ease him into Japanese play. Once a boisterous prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization (he once called himself "the real deal"), Durbin was in the middle of the Dodgers organization before the Hawks came calling.

In his minor league starts, Durbin sure looked like the real deal, and he also did today over six innings against the Rakuten Eagles at Kleenex Stadium. If there were any worries, they were about Durbin's control. The righty walked four batters and hit one against two strikeouts, but he only gave up a single run in his outing.

On the other side was Hisashi Iwakuma, who was his usual dominating self against SoftBank. However, the Hawks did get to their nemesis in the first inning thanks to a pair of singles from Honda and Matsunaka, and RBI singles from Tamura and Petagine.

Staked to a 2-0 lead, Durbin did end up giving one back in the 4th, when he gave up a single to Teppei and a throwing error got him to second. Nori Nakamura's groundout advanced Teppei to 3rd, and Yamazaki knocked him in with a double to cut the lead in half at 2-1.

With the score still 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th, Mahara came on to seal the deal. However, the Eagles had other ideas, as Nakamura led off with a single. Nao Watanabe pinch-ran for Nakamura, and was driven in by Randy Ruiz's RBI single.

However, the Hawks didn't keep the outcome of the game in doubt for very long in the extra frames. Against Kawagishi, Fukuda drew a walk to start the inning and was sacrificed to 2nd by Dohue.

With Fukuda on third after a Matsuda groundout, Satoru Morimoto drew a walk, then took away the double play by stealing second. With first base open, Hasegawa drew an intentional walk to set up the light-hitting Tanoue. This time, Tanoue came through with a two-run double, and Kawasaki hit one of his own to give the Hawks four runs in the 10th.

That was enough for Mahara, as he worked a 1-2-3 10th for the win. Coupled with a Lotte loss, the Hawks are now one and a half games in back of the Marines for second place, and SoftBank still stands at four and a half in back of Seibu for first place in the Pacific League.

SoftBank goes for their third win in a row tomorrow when they renew acquaintances with the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Tsuyoshi Wada (9-4, 3.52) goes against Satoshi Nagai (4-4, 3.57).
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