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Houlton's two-hitter aided by abundant offense

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Houlton's two-hitter aided by abundant offense

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With seven runs in the first three innings, DJ Houlton didn't have to work too hard in his fifth start of the season. Maybe because he was able to relax, he was able to put together his best start since coming to Japan. He truly looks like a completely different pitcher than he did last year, with an injury-riddled campaign.

Houlton tossed a two-hitter, bettering his complete game effort against Nippon Ham on April 27th. It was also the first time he had double-digit strikeouts in Japan, with 10. The shutout also lowered his ERA from 2.08 to 1.65, and he has yet to give up more than three runs in a start this season.

Offensive help came from everywhere but the middle of the lineup, as the 3-4-5 set of Uchikawa, Cabrera and Kokubo went a combined 1-for-11 with an RBI groundout from Uchikawa. Instead, it was everyone else who contributed. Toru Hosokawa sparked a five-run second inning with a two-run double, Honda had an RBI single, and the two other runs in the 5th came off Hiroshima starter Junpei Shinoda's second wild pitch of the game.

More offense came from Hitoshi Tamura (RBI double), and RBI singles from Yuya Hasegawa and Munenori Kawasaki. The Haws were able to tee off on the wild Hroshima pitching, as the Carp issued seven walks and four wild pitches.

SoftBank has a day off tomorrow, but stays at home to take on the visiting Hanshin Tigers for a short two-game set. Pitchers have not been named yet, but we will find out soon enough.
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