Baseball: Tsuyoshi Wada pitches Hawks past Fighters to sweep series

SoftBank Hawks’ Tsuyoshi Wada pitches in a Pacific League match against the Nippon Ham Fighters at the PayPay Dome in Fukuoka on August 21, 2022. (Kyodo)

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — Tsuyoshi Wada, 41, gave up a five-inning run and three teammates homered in the SoftBank Hawks’ 5-1 Pacific League win over the Nippon Ham Fighters on Sunday.

The win at the PayPay Dome completed a three-game sweep for the Hawks, who remained half a game behind the league-leading Seibu Lions.

Wada (4-4) allowed three hits and two walks, while striking out two.

“My throw wasn’t really good or that bad, but I had a lot of support on the run and I was determined somehow to get through five innings,” Wada said.

Alfredo Despaigne homered seventh in the second inning against Takayuki Kato (5-5) to give SoftBank a 1-0 lead with Isami Nomura’s two-run homer in the third to make it 3-0 .

Yuki Yanagita went deep in the sixth for his 16th homer, and Nomura’s 10th homer of the year made it 5-1 in the eighth as five relievers handcuffed Nippon Ham in the final four innings.

The Lions clung to first place as they salvaged the final game of their series with the Orix Buffaloes with a 3-1 victory after six innings from Dietrich Enns (8-6).

The Buffaloes moved from third to fourth place, half a game behind the Rakuten Eagles, 1-0 winners at the Lotte Marines.

In the Central League, second-placed DeNA BayStars closed within four games of first-placed Yakult Swallows with their sixth straight win, 3-0 over Hiroshima Carp.

The Swallows, who appeared to have the pennant nearly complete in early July before a flare-up of coronavirus infections, lost 5-2 to the Chunichi Dragons.

Meanwhile, Hiroto Saiki (3-1) allowed a 6-1/3 inning run to launch the Hanshin Tigers to a 6-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants and a sweep of their three-game series.

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