Francisco Caraballo, who won the triple crown last season in Japan’s independent Baseball Challenge League, showed off some awesome power on Friday night, when he broke his bat on a 1-2 pitch from former Pacific League MVP Mitsuo Yoshikawa — and knocked it over the fence at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome. If you can see the video above, take note of Yoshikawa’s priceless reaction. This stuff is not supposed to happen. The two-run shot didn’t change the outcome of the game, however, as the last-place Orix Buffaloes fell 8-3 at home to the Nippon Ham Fighters. Brandon Laird, who joined Nippon Ham this season, hit a two-run shot of his own, his fifth homer of the year.
Elsewhere in the PL, the league-leading Seibu Lions wiped out the Lotte Marines, winning on the road at QVC Marine Field in a game that saw former Atlanta Braves farmhand and 2014 PL home run leader Ernesto Mejia double in a run in a three-run first. The Lions’ DH, 19-year-old catching wannabe Tomoya Mori went 3-for-5 with his seventh home run and a pair of doubles.
In Fukuoka, former New York Mets reliever Ryota “formerly the pitcher known as ‘Rocket Boy” Igarashi did a little war dance when he escaped a two-on jam in the seventh for the Softbank Hawks in a 5-3 win over the Rakuten Eagles. Kazuo Matsui homered twice at Yafuoku Dome, which was made more home run friendly this season because Hawks ownership wanted the team to hit home runs the way they did when the balls were juiced. His second came off Hawks closer Dennis Sarfate, who hadn’t allowed a run until “Little” took him deep in the ninth.
In the Central League, the three-time champion Yomiuri Giants blew a four-run lead in a 6-5 loss in Yokohama to the surprising CL-leading DeNA BayStars in which rookie closer Yasuaki Yamasaki struck out the Giants in order in the ninth with his 146-kph fastball and a pitch he calls a two-seamer that looks for all intent and purposes like the nastiest splitter you’ve seen. It was his 13th save of the season.
In Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, freshly called-up lefty Takaya Toda continued his impressive spring by allowing two runs in six innings after winning six of his first seven games for the Hiroshima Carp’s Western League farm club. Toda (1-0) got the win in the Carp’s 8-3 victory over the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium. Tigers starter Shintaro Fujinami (1-4) bore the brunt of his club’s awful defense. The Tigers went into the game allowing opponents who put the ball in play to reach safely at an NPB-worst .365 clip. In his five innings on the mound, there were 18 balls in play and Carp batters reached safely eight times. It didn’t help that