Baseball: Hawks maintain push toward PL pennant

Pinch-hitter Kenji Akashi’s RBI double opened the floodgates in a seven-run eighth inning as the SoftBank Hawks earned an 11-4 win over the Rakuten Eagles on Sunday.The win at PayPay Dome increased the three-time defending Japan Series champions’ Pacific League lead to 5-1/2 games over the Lotte Marines, who suffered a 5-2 loss to the Nippon Ham Fighters. The Hawks have not won the PL pennant since 2017.The third-place Eagles remained another 5-1/2 games further back as they battle for the PL’s final playoff spot this year — limited to two teams in the shortened coronavirus-hit season.By the …

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