Baseball: Lions solidify PL lead as Yoza knocks out Hawks

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Kaito Yoza of the Seibu Lions takes on the SoftBank Hawks during their Pacific League match at the PayPay Dome on July 30, 2022 in Fukuoka, southwest Japan. (kyodo)

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — Kaito Yoza threw seven goals over the range for his first career shutout as the Pacific League-leading Seibu Lions defeated the SoftBank Hawks 6-0 on Saturday.

The Lions’ second straight win at the Hawks’ home park, Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, put them 1-1/2 games ahead of second-place SoftBank.

Yoza (8-3), a sub right-hander, hit five without allowing a walk. He unbalanced the Hawks’ batsmen throughout the game while his infielders rotated three double plays behind them.

“The atmosphere within the team is really good, so I took the mound and tried to keep that going for another game,” said Yoza. “I’m happy (with the shutout) but mostly I’m just exhausted.”

Rookie Hawks left winger Tomohisa Ozeki (6-6) gave up the lead in the first when Hotaka Yamakawa and Wu Nien-ting each scored in one run.

Sosuke Genda doubled in two more heats in the second, while Tomoya Mori and Yamakawa each had a heat in the fourth.

Last year’s PL champions, the Orix Buffaloes, moved within a half-game of the Hawks with a 6-4 win over the Lotte Marines, while the Rakuten Eagles trailed Masahiro Tanaka (6-7) after a half-game fourth place is seven innings in a 7-0 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters.

In the Central League, second-placed Hanshin Tigers defeated league-leading Yakult Swallows 7-3 for the second straight season, while Pedro Revilla homed and scored in one run on his Japan debut to defeat Chunichi Dragons 3-0 defeat the Hiroshima carp.

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