Baseball: Swallow Bat Murakami beats up dragons

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Yakult Swallows cleanup hitter Munetaka Murakami watches his second home run of the game, a blast in the eighth inning with two runs in the Central League league leaders’ 10-0 win over the Chunichi Dragons on June 23, 2022 at the Vantelin Dome in Nagoya. ( Kyodo)

NAGOYA (Kyodo) — Munetaka Murakami hit two home runs, drove in six runs and scored three goals in Central League leaders Yakult Swallows’ 10-0 win over the Chunichi Dragons on Thursday.

The win extended the Japan Series champions’ CL lead to 10 games over the Yomiuri Giants, who lost 7-5 to the DeNA BayStars.

Murakami opened the scoring at Vantelin Dome Nagoya, one of Japan’s toughest home run parks, with his 22nd homer and fourth grand slam of the year.

The Swallows’ 22-year-old cleanup hitter hit in the third singles, doubled and hit in the seventh, and hit his 23rd homer in the eighth with a man.

“He’s not just No. 4,” said Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu. “He’s the absolute center of our line-up.”

Tetsuto Yamada, the team’s No. 3 hitter, doubled in three runs in the fourth inning to make it a 7-0 game while Hirotoshi Takanashi (5-3) hit nine over the distance in a six-hit shutout.

Elsewhere in the CL, the Hanshin Tigers were without a win after their 3-3, 12-inning draw against third-placed Hiroshima Carp. The Carps lead the season’s streak 9-0, while the teams have drawn twice.

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