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Houlton shuts down Marines in 4-2 triumph

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Houlton shuts down Marines in 4-2 triumph
Looking at his first two starts, D.J. Houlton looked nothing like the dominating presence he was early last season. He struggled through his first two starts against Nippon Ham and Seibu, but the old saying goes "the third time's a charm," and it certainly was for the big righty today at Yahoo! Dome against the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Houlton (1-2) held Lotte to two runs over 6 and 2/3 innings while giving up 5 hits, walking two and striking out five. The Hawks starter got some help in the person of Nobuhiko Matsunaka, who hit his 2nd home run of the season off Lotte starter Yuki Karakawa, who was almost the polar opposite of Houlton for his first two starts of the season.

Karakawa (2-1), who could be seen as the ace of the future for Lotte, was solid over 5 and 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits, walking two and striking out one. Normally a good enough start to win, but not when the Hawks bullpen worked to perfection once again.

Settsu finished the 7th for SoftBank, while Falkenborg struck out two of the three batters he faced in the 8th, and Mahara worked around a hit in the 9th to record the save, his fourth of the season.

Offensively, the Hawks got eleven hits off Lotte pitching, with only two starters not getting a hit (Jose Ortiz and Katsuki Yamazaki). However, both Munenori Kawasaki and Matsuda picking up the slack with three hits each.

The Hawks get right back to work tomorrow against Lotte as they send Shingo Tatsumi (0-1, 14.73) to the mound against Yuta Ohmine (0-0, 9.00).

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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