While the biggest news of the day centered around SoftBank’s announcement that it had signed 19-year-old American pitcher Carter Stewart, the Hiroshima Carp need to bring back their red-hot chili uniforms, because they are on fire!
Carp 7, Giants 5
At Tokyo Dome, Kris Johnson (4-3) handled the Yomiuri Giants for seven innings before they knocked him out, but Hiroshima still held on for the win, as Johnson singled in a run off Cristopher Mercedes (4-3), and Xavier Batista went deep for the third time in two games.
“They put enough of the the bat on the ball when they needed to. I kept them quiet for a while, but then in the eighth inning their bats came alive,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to give to them, but we still came away with the victory.”
I can’t do simultaneous interpretation or any other kind of interpretation, but this was rendered in Japanese as: “The Giants are a good hitting team, and they really made that inning hard on us, but I had confidence in my teammates after I left the mound.”
If I tried it, I’d do much, much worse.
Johnson, however, is getting steadily better. He continues to do well in day games this season, although the three runs without an out in the eighth will put a dent in his day-game ERA.
There was an article the other day about how well he pitches in day games because he entered Saturday’s game 3-0 in the afternoon and 0-3 at night, so I thought I’d check how he’s done over his career in Japan, where his win total increased to 50.
Since arriving in 2015, Johnson is 36-17 at night, with a 2.65 ERA. In day games, he’s now 14-7 with a 2.60 ERA.
BayStars 6, Tigers 5
At Yokohama Stadium, the BayStars came close to blowing a six-run ninth-inning lead after starter Taiga Kamichatani (2-3) allowed the first four batters to reach.
Dragons 10, Swallows 3
At Jingu Stadium, a trio of Dragons had three hits apiece, including rookie Kosuke Ito, who scored four runs as Chunichi handed Yakult it’s 10th straight loss.
Buffaloes 4, Eagles 2
At Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten welcomed back veteran right-hander Takayuki Kishi for his first game since he injured his left hamstring on Opening Day. Kishi allowed a run in seven innings, but got no decision as Sung Chia-hao (1-2) surrendered three runs in the eighth inning.
To give the game something of an old-timers feel, lefty Yoshihisa Naruse allowed a run in 5-2/3 innings in his second start for the Buffaloes, who got two RBIs apiece from young slugger Masataka Yoshida and Stefen Romero.
Lions 7, Fighters 5
At MetLife Dome, it was an ugly day for starting pitchers as both Johnny Barbato of Nippon Ham and Shinsaburo Tawata of Seibu surrendered five runs. The Fighters’ bullpen cracked first, with lefty Mizuki Hori (2-1) walking three batters after Sosuke Genda‘s leadoff single.
The Lions have now won five straight, the PL champs’ longest winning streak of the season. Shogo Akiyama, who has expressed his desire to play in the majors next season as a free agent, homered twice off Barbato.
The Lions announced after the game that Tawata would be sent to the farm to regain his form.
Marines 4, Hawks 3
The Marines’ Mike Bolsinger allowed three runs, one earned over 5-1/3 innings, but the win went to the bullpen, as four relievers delivered 3-2/3 innings of spotless work.
In other news
- The Carp became the first team in CL history to ever go from eight games under .500 to 10 games over in the same season. They are now one game shy of the franchise record for consecutive wins, 12 set by the 1984 CL champions, who were the last Carp team to win the Japan Series.
- Chunichi veteran Daisuke Matsuzaka is slated to work his first rehab game in the minors on Tuesday. after being injured in spring training by a fan. It will be his first game action since September.
- The Fukushima Red Hopes of the Route Inn Baseball Challenge League have announced that Justine Siegal, the first woman to work as a coach for a major league team, will coach the independent minor league club over the coming weeks on a temporary basis. The Red Hopes are managed by former major leaguer Akinori Iwamura.