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Friday the 13th unlucky for Darvish

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Friday the 13th unlucky for Darvish

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Yu Darvish is one of those pitchers nobody wants to face. The 2007 Sawamura Award winner was nicked up with injuries last year, but he is back to his dominant self in 2010.

Except against the SoftBank Hawks. Of all the teams in the Pacific League, Darvish's ERA against them is second-highest, and after today, the Hawks have defeated him the most times with five victories.

Today was another dubious personal record as he lost his sixth start of the season today, the highest amount of losses he has suffered in any one season. In addition, he gave up five runs on a career-high 11 hits despite the complete game, 141-pitch effort.

In his third start of the season against SoftBank, the Hawks used a little bit of home-field advantage to get to the dreaded Fighters ace. A four-run fifth was the tipping point in the game as Hawks starter Hiroki Yamada was walk-free over seven strong innings en route to win number three.

Kawasaki and Petagine were the catalysts behind the deciding inning. With the game tied at one, Kokubo got the rally started with a single. Tamura struck out, but Petagine didn't miss his chance, jacking a two-run home run to give SoftBank the lead for good. Lee and Hasegawa both singled to pile on, and Kawasaki hit a two-run double, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.

Yamada took it from there, scattering eight hits with just one run, courtesy of a Tomohiro Nioka sacrifice fly. The most encouraging part of his start was that he didn't walk anybody and had three strikeouts.

Even more encouraging was that Settsu and Falkenborg teamed up for two scoreless innings to finish the game. Settsu struck out the side, while Falkenborg gave up a hit, but didn't surrender a run, regaining the solid form he's had all season long.

Seibu also won today against Orix, keeping the Hawks one and a half games behind first place. Lotte's loss today gave SoftBank more breathing room for second place, to the tune of three and a half games.

The Fighters look to even the series tomorrow, sending Ryo Sakakibara (5-0, 2.43) to the mound for his first start of the season. Hawks ace Toshiya Sugiuchi (13-5, 3.24) will get the ball, looking to stay perfect this season against the Fighters.
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