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Ma-kun brilliant again, but SoftBank loses no ground

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Ma-kun brilliant again, but SoftBank loses no ground

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As I mentioned yesterday, Masahiro Tanaka has been very good against the Hawks, but it's not like he has given up his share of hits against them. Last year, there was a game where he gave up 10 hits, but SoftBank got only one run out of it. Today, the same feat was achieved, but his adversaries left nine runners, five of them in scoring position, and scored no runs as "Ma-kun" went the distance and his Eagles avoided the sweep.

On the other hand, the fading Shinsuke Ogura couldn't get out of the first inning for the second time this month, as he gave up three runs (two earned) on two hits with four walks in two-thirds of an inning, taking his second straight loss.

Ogura got Hijirisawa to fly out to begin the game, but that would be the highlight of his day. Uchimura and Teppei walked, and Takeshi Yamasaki gave the Eagles all the offense they would need with an RBI single. Nori Nakamura legged out an infield single to score another run, but a bad throw from Kawasaki allowed the third run of the inning to score. After an out, Makida walked to reload the bases. That was it for Ogura, as Kanazawa came in to replace him.

The bullpen was able to keep it close, as Takehito Kanazawa (two and one-third), Masahiko Morifuku (three and two-thirds, HR), and Teruaki Yoshikawa (one and one-third) all worked four outs or more, but Tanaka kept the game out of reach despite giving up 10 hits.

One key was that when he did get in trouble, Ma-kun made sure that he didn't let anyone score, and he also didn't walk anybody to go with nine strikeouts in the complete-game effort.

The only other offense that the game would see came off the bat of Makida, who hit his second home run of the season in the 6th off Morifuku.

Despite the loss, the Fighters completed the sweep of the Lions, and Lotte also lost to keep all the deficits at one and a half games.

In other team news, Nobuhiko Matsunaka played his first full game as the DH in a rehab assignment against Hanshin. He went 1-for-4. Matsunaka is currently recovering from what has been described as a "triangular fibrocartilage injury."

After a day off tomorrow, the Hawks get back to work with a series against the Orix Buffaloes at Yahoo! Dome.
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