Baseball: Yamakawa of the Lions knocks out fighters

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Hotaka Yamakawa hits a double home run in the first inning, the first of his two in the Seibu Lions’ 5-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters on May 8, 2022 at the Belluna Dome in Saitama Prefecture. (kyodo)

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama (Kyodo) — Hotaka Yamakawa hit two early home runs, his Japan-leading 13th and 14th, to drive in five runs and carry the Seibu Lions to a 5-1 Pacific League win over the Nippon Ham Fighters to drive Sunday.

At Saitama Prefecture’s Belluna Dome outside of Tokyo, Yamakawa laced a two-run homer in the first ahead of Toshihiro Sugiura (1-3) in the first. The 2018 PL MVP hit a three-run shot in the third to chase down the Fighters’ starting pitcher.

Lions freshman left-back Dietrich Enns (2-1) allowed a three-hit run over six innings. He hit four without taking a walk.

Another first-year import, Seibu’s Brian O’Grady, drew a walk and doubled before each of Yamakawa’s home runs.

Elsewhere in the PL, the SoftBank Hawks defeated the Lotte Marines 8-4 for their sixth straight win, while the PL-leading Rakuten Eagles won their 10th straight decision and the Orix Buffaloes went 2-1 in 10 innings defeated.

In the Central League, the Yakult Swallows gave rookie relief sensation Taisei Ota (1-1) his first loss when he came from behind in ninth place and defeated the Yomiuri Giants 4-3 while the Hiroshima Carp defeated the DeNA BayStars the Hanshin Tigers defeated the Chunichi Dragons 4:3 with 17:3.

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