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Dragons fly out of Tokyo Dome
John E. Gibson / Daily Yomiuri Sportswriter
The All-Star break did nothing to stamp out the Chunichi Dragons' fire.
The Central League's second-place team put the heat on the first-place Yomiuri Giants with four home runs and fine pitching, winning their ninth straight before 42,877 at Tokyo Dome on Tuesday.
Masahiko Morino, celebrated his 31st birthday in style, smacking a go-ahead two-run longball in the seventh inning to back lefty Chen Wei-yin (4-2), who tossed 6-2/3 strong innings in a 5-3 victory that gave the Dragons their longest winning streak in four years and put them just 1-1/2 games behind the Giants.
Morino, who has been swinging a hot stick since June, said he was hoping to go deep on his birthday.
"The thought of hitting a home run did cross my mind, but I didn't think it would really happen," said the infielder, who was hitting .246 on June 2 and is now at .279.
"I didn't think my average was going to stay that way the whole season and now I finally feel like I'm contributing to the team."
Morino's 14th homer jumped off his bat, but barely cleared the wall in right-center …