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NPB wrap 4-14-21

Old dog teaches pup new tricks

Hawks 4, Buffaloes 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, 40-year-old SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1) pitched really well for the first time this season, missing bats and striking out five while allowing a walk and four hits over 6-2/3 innings. Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-2) came could only muster his “C” game, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks over 5-1/3 innings.

Alfredo Despaigne singled and scored the opening run in the second on a Nobuhiro Matsuda broken-bat single. Yamamoto appeared to be back in control after stranding two runners in the third, but some good hitting by Yurisbel Gracial opened the sixth. Despaigne walked with one out and three straight singles chased Yamamoto.

Wada left one on in the seventh. Gracial made a good catch in left for the second out, and Wada was gone after suffering a cramp. Sho Iwasaki allowed Orix’s only run in the eighth, and Yuito Mori earned his fourth save with a perfect ninth against the heart of the Buffaloes’ order.

Lions 2, Fighters 1

At MetLife Dome, Seibu Lions right-hander Tatsuya Imai (1-2) survived his customary lack of command to hold the Nippon Ham Fighters to an unearned run over six innings. He walked four and hit one, but allowed only three singles while striking out seven to outpitch rookie Hiromi Ito (0-2). Imai has been mediocre this year except in his two starts against Nippon Ham.

Ito continued to be a strikeout machine. He fanned nine over six innings, to raise his season total to 28 strikeouts in 19 innings. He surrendered the lead in the first inning after surrendering a leadoff double to Lions rookie Gakuto Wakabayashi, his former high school teammate.

Wakabayashi scored on a Tomoya Mori flare single after the Lions wasted Sosuke Genda’s turn at bat by having him bunt the runner to third. Mori singled and scored a third-inning insurance run on a Wu Nien-ting RBI single.

After Matsumoto left, the Lions’ bullpen turned on the heat. Reed Garrett struck out the bottom of the Fighters’ order in the seventh. Kaima Taira struck out two of the four batters he faced in the eighth, and Tatsushi Masuda worked around a leadoff walk with three straight strikeouts to notch his fifth save.

Marines 2, Eagles 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten right-hander Takahiro Norimoto finally began striking out batters, whiffing nine over six innings after recording just seven over his first 13-1/3. He gave up one run on six hits and a walk, while Lotte lefty Kazuya Ojima bounced back from getting hammered by the Eagles on March 30 to hold them to an unearned run over six innings.

The Marines took the lead in the seventh on a Shogo Nakamura RBI single off Sung Chih-hao, but the Eagles relievers retired the last seven batters they faced. The Marines got perfect innings from Frank Herrmann and Yuki Karakawa before Naoya Masuda blew a chance to record his third save, allowing a run on a Hideto Asamura double, a single and a Daichi Suzuki sac fly.

Tigers 6, Carp 0

At Koshien Stadium, Tigers rookie Teruaki Sato homered, scored two and drove in three runs as the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers took a stick to Hiroshima’s Masato Morishita (1-2), hammering the CL’s 2020 rookie of the year for five runs, four earned, on two walks and five hits over five innings, while Yuki Nishi (2-1) struck out seven over eight scoreless innings.

Tigers rookie Takumu Nakano, Hanshin’s sixth pick last autumn, drove in the first run of the season after Sato walked with two outs and an error, when shortstop Kosuke Tanaka fumbled a grounder.

Jerry Sands drew a leadoff walk in the third and Sato put a perfect swing on a curve that came in waist high. In the fifth, it was Jefry Marte, who put a ferocious swing on a high pitch with a bat flip matching his tremendous blast.

Marte drew the first of two one-out walks in the seventh, with Sato singling in a run to close the scoring.

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Giants 5, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Seishu Hatake (1-1) turned in the Yomiuri Giants’ third straight stellar starting pitching performance, following Nobutaka Imamura’s complete game shutout on Sunday and Angel Sanchez’s 7-1/3-inning effort on Tuesday.

Hatake allowed a run on seven hits while striking out nine, walking one and hitting one over 8-1/3 innings. Ariel Martinez opened the ninth with his first homer of the season for the Dragons, Rubby De La Rosa took over with two on in the ninth and recorded his fifth save.

Dragons right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-1), who dodged bullets for five scoreless innings a week ago, only faced one tough inning, but it was a doozy. Takayuki Kajitani capped a five-run inning with his second homer as a Giant.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Kosuke Fukudome may be 43 with an arm that no longer inspires awe, but he’s a gamer. With one out and one on in the fifth inning of a 5-0 Japanese pro baseball’s elder statesman laid it out to rob Kazuma Okamoto of a flare single.

Swallows 7, BayStars 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Rookie right-hander Yuto Kanakubo (1-0) surrendered rookie Shugo Maki’s two-run, two-out double that opened the score in the first before Yakult jumped on rookie right-hander Taisei Irie (0-3) for five runs, chasing him with one out in the fifth.

With one out and two on in the bottom of the third, Munetaka Murakami halved the visitors’ lead with a sac fly and Yasutaka Shiomi belted his second homer, a two-run shot for a 3-2 lead.  The Swallows made it 6-2 in the fifth.

Kotaro Yamasaki led off with a single, and No. 2 hitter Yudai Koga, bunted him over after singling in his first two at-bats. Tetsuto Yamada hit his third homer of the season. Murakami chased Irie with a double and scored when Shiomi tripled off reliever Kenta Ishida.

Maki belted his fifth home run to lead off the sixth against Kanakubo, who turned pro after being taken in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. Maki’s 17 RBIs lead the CL with Murakami one back. With a 6-3 lead, Scott McGough worked a perfect seventh, and Yamada homered to open the bottom of the inning. With the tying run on deck in the ninth, closer Taichi Ishiyama got an easy two-out save.

Irie, who allowed five runs in 4-1/3 innings, has faced the Swallows twice this season and allowed 10 runs in 9-1/3.

Tanaka to start Saturday

Masahiro Tanaka will make his season debut on Saturday when he starts against the Nippon Ham Fighters at Tokyo Dome, Kyodo News (Japanese) reported. Tanaka returned this season to the Pacific League’s Rakuten Eagles after going 24-0 in 2013 and pitching them to their first pennant and Japan Series title.

“He’s coming along with no issues, and if he continues on that path in the time being, he’ll pitch on the 17th,” manager Kazuhisa Ishii told reporters about the right-hander who damaged the calf muscle in his right calf.

Last Saturday, Tanaka threw 97 pitches in the bullpen.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ryota Takinaka (1-1, 10.38) vs Daiki Iwashita (1-1, 3.00)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Takeda (0-1, 2.31) vs Hirotoshi Masui (1-1, 1.80)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yuki Takahashi (2-0, 0.00) vs Koji Fukutani (0-0, 3.60)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Hirotoshi Takanashi (1-0, 4.22) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-2, 6.43)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takumi Akiyama (1-1, 2.77) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-0, 3.09)

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NPB Wrap 4-13-21

Starting pitchers

Flooding back

The DeNA BayStars and Chunichi Dragons each welcomed back two essential workers on Tuesday, as DeNA activated second-year slugger Tyler Austin and two-time Central League home run champ Neftali Soto while the Dragons called up catcher Ariel Martinez and closer Raidel Martinez.

The Yomiuri Giants introduced new sluggers Eric Thames and Justin Smoak, while the Hawks held a press conference for right-hander Nick Martinez, who joins this season from the Fighters.

Ishikawa wins debut

Marines 6, Eagles 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa (1-0) allowed a run over seven innings to outduel Takayuki Kishi (2-1) in his season debut. Ishikawa surrendered back-to-back two-out first-inning doubles to Hiroaki Shimauchi and Hideto Asamura. The right-hander allowed seven singles, and struck out five without issuing a walk, while his teammates scored four unearned runs against the Pacific League leaders.

Kishi surrendered Koki Yamaguchi’s game-tying solo homer in the second and allowed in a pair of unearned runs in the seventh on a walk, a two-out error, a passed ball and a Yamaguchi flare single. The Marines tacked on three more against former Padres and Lions submariner Kazuhisa Makita with the help of another two-out error. The Marines took a five-run lead into the ninth but had to call on closer Naoya Masuda with two outs and the bases loaded. The right-hander allowed an RBI single before closing out his second save.

Fighters 3, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, Journeyman right-hander Takahisa Ikeda (1-2) earned his first win since the Nippon Ham fighters acquired him in a March trade from the Rakuten Eagles. The 26-year-old allowed a run on three hits and two walks over six innings.

Seibu Lions starter Wataru Matsumoto (1-2) resumed living on the wild side of life with five walks, only the last of which cost him in a three-run Fighters sixth. After a fluke single, he hit a batter and walked another.

Matsumoto handed lefty Yasuo Sano a no-out, bases-loaded predicament and Kensuke Kondo didn’t try to do too much with a hittable pitch, lining it up the middle to tie it. Tetsu Miyagawa walked Sho Nakata, and surrendered a sac fly.

The Fighters’ bullpen has been making games lively recently, and Tuesday was no exception, allowing a run on two hits before earning his third save.

Buffaloes 7, Hawks 4

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Orix Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima (1-1) allowed five walks but just one run on one hit, Ryoya Kurihara’s first-ining RBI single, over 6-1/3 innings. The Buffaloes tied it in the second on a walk by lefty Shunsuke Kasaya (1-1) and three scratch singles before Keita Nakagawa doubled to open the sixth and scored on Takahiro Okada’s pinch-hit single off reliever Yuki Tsumori.

The Buffaloes blew the game open in a five-run ninth. Nakagawa had a a two-run double, while Adam Jones, who walked twice and scored the tying run in the second, singled in two more. The Hawks scored three in the ninth, the last coming on veteran pinch-hitter Yuya Hasegawa’s single off new pitcher Tyler Higgins, who then ended the game with a strikeout for his first save.

Giants 2, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri Giants right-hander Angel Sanchez (1-1) allowed a run on four walks and a hit batsman over 7-1/3 innings, and Taishi Hirooka broke a 1-1 seventh-inning tie with his first home run since he was traded from the Yakult Swallows in March.

Giants manager Tatsunori Hara pulled Sanchez after Dragons catcher hit a broken-bat fly to deep left. Lefty Kota Nakagawa entered and allowed the Dragons’ only hit before striking out two. Rubby De La Rosa worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth.

The Giants scored in the home half of the first on a walk and two singles off Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono (0-2), who allowed two runs and five total hits over seven innings.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Swallows 5, BayStars 1

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Albert Suarez (1-1) struck out nine while allowing two singles and a walk over six innings, while Kengo Ota broke a scoreless tie with a two-run fourth-inning double off Shinichi Onuki (1-1), who threw the world’s worst changeup to Munetaka Murakami. The slugger’s home run was his sixth, a three-run shot in the fifth. Tetsuto Yamada had three hits and scored twice for the Swallows.

The BayStars threatened to tie it in the top of the fifth after Suarez allowed a leadoff walk and a single but with one out and two runners in scoring position, the right-hander got a comebacker and a strikeout.

Pacific League

Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takahiro Norimoto (2-0, 2.03) vs Kazuya Ojima (0-1, 5.25)

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (0-1, 2.70) vs Hiromi Ito (0-1, 2.08)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 4.26) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-1, 0.78)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Seishu Hatake (0-1, 7.36) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-0, 3.24)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Yuto Kanakubo (0-0, 0.00) vs Taisei Irie (0-2, 5.40)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masashi Ito (1-0, 2.25) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-0, 3.09)

Active roster moves 4/13/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/23

Central League

Activated

GiantsP11Ryuta Heinai
GiantsIF00Dai Yuasa
DragonsP97Raidel Martinez
DragonsC57Ariel Martinez
BayStarsIF99Neftali Soto
BayStarsOF23Tyler Austin

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
LionsOF58Masato Kumashiro
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
FightersIF48Kyohei Ueno

Dectivated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura

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NPB wrap 4-12-21

Starting pitchers

Kishi, Morishita, Ono on tap

Rakuten Eagles right-handed Takayuki Kishi was named to his regular Tuesday start against the Marines in Sendai, against Ayumu Ishikawa, who will make his season debut.

The big Central League will be Yuki Nishi of the Tigers at home at Koshien Stadium against 2020 rookie of the year Masato Morishita of the Hiroshima Carp.

Chunichi Dragons Sawamura Award winner Yudai Ono, who has so far last the consistent elite command he displayed after his first few starts in 2020, will pitch against the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome.

Pacific League

Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takayuki Kishi (2-0, 1.20) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (-)

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Wataru Matsumoto (1-1, 5.00) vs Takahide Ikeda (0-2, 5.91)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shunsuke Kasaya (1-0, 2.61) vs Daiki Tajima (0-1, 3.46)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Angel Sanchez (0-1, 6.00) vs Yudai Ono (0-1, 4.85)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (0-1, 3.60) vs Shinichi Onuki (1-0, 2.84)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuki Nishi (1-1, 1.93) vs Masato Morishita (2-0, 0.00)

Active roster moves 4/12/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/22

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsIF52Takumi Kitamura
DragonsP21Toshiya Okada
DragonsOF60Yuki Okabayashi
BayStarsP53Sota Ikeya
BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

MarinesP60Rikuto Yokoyama
FightersC30Shingo Usami
FightersIF24Yuki Nomura

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NPB wrap 4-11-21

Hawks get past rookie Hayakawa

Hawks 2, Eagles 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, five SoftBank Hawks pitchers combined on a four-hitter as the defending Pacific League champs beat the PL leading Rakuten Eagles and rookie Takahisa Hayakawa (1-2) to move within a game of first place.

Hayakawa allowed a run on six hits and a walk over 5-2/3 innings. The lefty struck out seven. Reliever Tomohiro Anraku, the Eagles’ top pick in 2014, inherited two runners in the sixth but got out of the inning by striking out Akira Nakamura on a beauty of a splitter to leave the bases jammed.

The Hawks scored off Hayakawa in the fifth on a Yuki Yanagita single and a one-out Alfredo Despaigne double. With one out, runners on second and third, and the infield in, Nakamura lined into an inning-ending double play.

The Eagles drew two walks against Livan Moinelo in the eighth, which counts for something but didn’t matter on the scoreboard. Despaigne singled in the ninth, Nakamura doubled in pinch-runner Taisei Makihara, and closer Yuito Mori worked a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his third save.

Lions 2, Marines 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Katsunori Hirai (3-0) pitched seven impressive innings, striking out eight while allowing a run on five hits and a walk for the Seibu Lions, who edged the Lotte Marines’ top draft last autumn, Shota Suzuki (0-1).

Lions shortstop Sosuke Genda tied it 1-1 in the fourth by singling, stealing two bases and scoring on a sac fly. The Marines contributed to another wild ride around the bases as Ryusei Sato singled with one out, went to third on a two-base wild pitch, and scored on a sac fly.

Suzuki left after five innings, having struck out seven, walked two and surrendered three singles. Frank Herrmann worked the seventh for Lotte, while rookie right-hander Tokito Kawamura loaded the bases only to strike out Sato and end the Lions’ eighth.

Kaima Taira, the PL’s 2020 rookie of the year, did the same in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases before striking out Tsuyoshi Sugano, who looked at a little 3-2 slider on the bottom of the zone from the flame-throwing right-hander.

Fighters 4, Buffaloes 4

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the Orix Buffaloes came back to tie it in the ninth inning on Yuma Mune’s two-run, two-out triple tied it to end what through seven innings had been a pretty good pitchers’ duel between Nippon Ham Fighters lefty Takayuki Kato and rookie Hiroya Miyagi.

The rookie extricated himself from a fourth-inning pickle to take a 1-0 lead into the seventh. After two walks, he was handed an out on a failed sacrifice. Miyagi got a comebacker that had no chance to be a double play, but shortstop Ryoichi Adachi’s throw to first was wide and he apologized to the rookie.

Miyagi then gave up a line RBI single that tied it on a good first-pitch changeup. Nothing bad about that inning but the two walks, but Miyagi hung a 1-1 change to the next batter and he banged it off the wall for an RBI double.

Atsushi Nomi, who on Saturday became the oldest pitcher in Orix history to record a save, gave up a leadoff homer, a walk and an RBI double. The Buffaloes came back in the ninth against Taisho Tamai. Takahiro Okada got one run back on a pinch-hit single and Mune, launched a liner that right fielder Taishi Ota misjudged and couldn’t grab.

Tigers 3, BayStars 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Hanshin’s Joe Gunkel (3-0) gave up one run on three hits, including a solo homer to rookie Shugo Maki, and a walk over 6-1/3 innings. Gunkel, who went 3-2 last year, mostly as a reliever with a 3.18 ERA, saw his ERA rise to 0.96.

The Tigers scored twice again the first on back-to-back no-out singles, a double steal and a two-run throwing error by shortstop and former Tiger Yamato Maeda. The visitors made it 3-0 in the fourth on a Teruaki Sato double and the second of three singles in the game by Sato’s less-heralded fellow rookie Takumu Nakano.

The BayStars got a 1-2-3 inning from former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki, which qualifies as news these days, and rallied for a run in the eighth on three singles. But Tigers reliever Suguru Iwazaki started an inning-ending double play, and closer Robert Suarez eased through three batters in the ninth for his third save.

Dragons 2, Swallows 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi Shinnosuke Ogasawara (1-1) allowed a run over seven innings while striking out six and getting the plays he needed from his fielders. Yakult lefty Kazuto Taguchi (2-0) hung a breaking ball to Nobumasa Fukuda in the third that he hit for an RBI double, and gave up a sixth-inning homer to Takuya Kinoshita – the Dragons’ first since Opening Day.

Ogasawara got out of his only real jam of the day by retiring the Yakult slugger Munetaka Murakami with two on and one out in the sixth to protect a 1-0 lead. Right-hander Daisuke Sobue allowed two on in the ninth, but earned his fifth save thanks to third baseman Shuhei Takahashi, who nailed a runner at the plate for the second out.

Giants 9, Carp 0

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Yusuke Nomura (0-2) allowed five runs over 3-1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 4.73 and perhaps make some ask how he became the first pitcher in the history of Japanese pro baseball to start 188 games without a relief appearance thrown in there somewhere.

Giants lefty Nobutaka Imamura (2-0) stranded two runners in the fourth and three in the fifth en route to a seven-hit, one-walk, seven-strikeout complete game on 142 pitches.

Struggling Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto, who led the CL in homers and RBIs last season, hit a two-run homer in the first inning, his first of the year, while pinch-running specialist Daisuke Masuda hit a two-run homer in the fifth, the first of his career.

Nikkan Sports quoted Masuda as saying.  “I’m so envious of those power hitters, getting to cruise around the bases like that.”

Active roster moves 4/11/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/21

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesIF40Seiichiro Oshita

Dectivated

EaglesP23Hayato Yuge
BuffaloesOF60Yukikazu Sano

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NPB wrap 4-10-21

Senga out 2-3 months

SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga will likely be out two to three months with ligament damage in his left ankle, suffered when he caught a line drive back to the box in his April 6 season debut.

Kuri, Kikuchi, Carp stop Giants

Carp 4, Giants 2

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Ryosuke Kikuchi singled three times, stole a base and scored three times, and Allen Kuri (3-0) allowed two runs, one earned over seven innings to earn the win for Hiroshima. Yomiuri starter Shosei Togo (1-1) allowed four runs in 3-2/3 innings.

Kuri struck out five, walked two and allowed three hits, although he did participate in the “let’s throw the ball into the outfield game” the Carp infield participated in that cost them a first-inning run.

Haruki Omichi worked a 1-2-3 eighth against the heart of the Giants order, and fellow rookie Ryoji Kuribayashi worked around a one-out walk to record his fifth save.

With the scored tied 2-2 in the fourth, Carp rookie Ryutaro Hatsuki reached for the second time, on a wild pitch uncaught third strike, was sacrificed to second by Kuri and scored on Kikuchi’s single. Kikuchi stole second and scored an insurance run on a Tomohiro Abe single.

The Giants have scored three runs or fewer for 12 straight games, matching a franchise record set in 1993.

Tigers 4, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, side-armer Koyo Aoyagi (2-0) allowed three singles and two walks over seven innings, and Jerry Sands iced the game with his fifth home run, a two-run shot in the ninth. Central-League-leading Hanshin took the lead off Taiga Kamichatani (0-1) in the fourth on a Kentaro Itohara double and a one-out Yusuke Oyama single.

Jefry Marte went 0-for-3, but walked in the ninth to put a runner on ahead of Sands’ homer. Robert Suarez worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Tigers.

Swallows 2, Dragons 2

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi surrendered a one-out two-run fourth-inning homer to Munetaka Murakami but stranded two runners that ended the Yakult Swallows’ scoring chances. The hosts scored an unearned run in the first against Yasuhiro Ogawa but got even in the sixth when Nobumasa Fukuda led off with a double and scored on Toshiki Abe’s single.

Hawks 8, Eagles 8

At Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park, the SoftBank Hawks came back to tie it in the seventh on an Akira Nakamura RBI single after the defending Pacific League champs blew a seven-run lead and had to settle with their second straight tie against the Rakuten Eagles, finishing 8-8 after they played to a 1-1 draw in Friday’s series opener.

The Eagles chased submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi after 4-1/3 innings. He’d allowed solo homers in the third and fourth to make it 7-2 before the hosts mashed out back-to-back three run innings.

Eagles closer Yuki Matsui stranded a pair in the top of the ninth to ensure Rakuten couldn’t lose –due to this year’s lack of extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Livan Moinelo showed that he might be slowing down.

After striking out three batters on 12 pitches in Wednesday’s season debut, the Cuban lefty only struck out two in a 12-pitch perfect inning on Thursday, and needed 18 pitches and only struck out one batter in his perfect inning against the Eagles. Man’s losing it.

Marines 6, Lions 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Leonys Martin hit a pair of solo homers and singled for the Lotte Marines. He now leads both leagues in home runs with seven. Martin opened the scoring in the first against Shota Hamaya (1-2) who left the bases loaded but surrendered a Martin’s leadoff homer in Lotte’s three-run third.

Manabu Mima (1-2) allowed two runs over seven innings to get the win.

The Lions’ Aito Takeda, a sixth-year pro who has had only glimpses of action on the first team, hit his third career homer one day after hitting his first two.

Fighters 5, Buffaloes 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, a day after winning their second game of the season, the Nippon Ham Fighters have their first win streak of the year after Yuki James Nomura’s ninth-inning RBI double broke a 2-2 tie.

Masataka Yoshida’s first-inning RBI double pushed across Yuma Mune for the first run. Mune doubled and scored the tying run in the sixth on a Yoshida single. Fighters starter Naoyuki Uwasawa and Buffaloes lefty Sachiya Yamasaki each worked six innings.

Orix’s Atsushi Nomi and Tyler Higgins kept the game tied for two innings before rookie Taisei Urushihara (0-1) let the game get away in the ninth. Fighters lefty Naoki Miyanishi (1-1) got the win, and Toshihiro Sugiura got his second save.

At 40 years, 10 months of age, Nomi became the oldest Orix pitcher to earn a hold. The former Tigers’ ace is also the oldest Hanshin pitcher to earn a hold.

BayStars’ Soto, Austin to join workouts

Two-time Central League home run champ Neftali Soto and slugging second-year import Tyler Austin will work out with the DeNA BayStars’ first team on Sunday, manager Daisuke Miura said Saturday according to Sponichi Annex.

Miura, the report said, spoke with the two at the club’s minor league facility in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and that they reported no issues and were keen to rejoin the club.

“We’ll see how they look,” Miura said. “They were practicing before they arrived in Japan, but haven’t played in games, so we’ll see what’s what.”

Miura said pitcher Michael Peoples would join the team after pitching some EL games for the farm team.

The BayStars were unable to get any of their returning players into Japan before the start of the season. Most new imported players, unless they arrived before a state of emergency was declared in January like Hiroshima’s Keven Cron, have only recently been able to enter Japan.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Takahisa Hayakawa (1-1, 3.00) vs Yuki Matsumoto (1-0, 0.00)

Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shota Suzuki (0-0, 1.50) vs Katsunori Hirai (2-0, 1.54)

Buffaloes vs Fighters: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Hiroya Miyagi (2-0, 0.60) vs Takayuki Kato (1-0, 2.08)

Central League

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kosuke Sakaguchi (1-0, 0.00) vs Joe Gunkel (2-0, 0.73)

Dragons vs Swallows: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (0-1, 1.54) vs Kazuto Taguchi (0-1, 4.82)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Yusuke Nomura (0-1, 1.80) vs Nobutaka Imamura (1-0, 1.29)

Active roster moves 4/10/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/20

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP41Shuto Sakurai

Dectivated

BayStarsP59Kentaro Taira
BayStarsP92Yuki Kuniyoshi
CarpP43Sotaro Shimauchi

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP20Taiki Tojo
EaglesOF27Takero Okajima
FightersC60Takuya Kori

Dectivated

MarinesP37Fumiya Ono
LionsIF4Kakeru Yamanobe
EaglesOF25Kazuki Tanaka
FightersC22Shinya Tsuruoka

NPB wrap 4-9-21

Angry Fighters snap skid

Fighters 2, Buffaloes 1

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the Nippon Ham Fighters ended their nine-game winless streak with a two-run eighth-inning that shouldn’t have happened, except it came against the Orix Buffaloes, who have a knack for making the improbable inevitable.

The game started as a scoreless pitchers’ duel between former Buffaloes ace Chihiro Kaneko and Orix right-hander Taisuke Yamaoka until the seventh, when things went half-right for the Buffaloes. Masataka Yoshida, on first from a leadoff single, was put in motion, preventing a double play and allowing him to score when Takahiro Okada chased a high breaking ball out of the zone from Kaneko but pulled it into the gap in right for an RBI double.

The Buffaloes loaded the bases with one out, but Fighters lefty Mizuki Hori made the great escape, and things began to buffalo for Orix in the top of the eighth and Kensuke Kondo on first with a single.

Twenty-year-old second baseman Ryo Ota went for a double play and got no outs instead of one. Veteran shortstop Ryo Adachi got a double play grounder that could have ended the inning but couldn’t get the ball out of his glove and Daiki Asama doubled in both runners.

Tyler Higgins worked a solid ninth for the Buffaloes, but he couldn’t put runs on the board, and the Fighters’ streak was over.

The win was Kuriyama’s 631st with Nippon Ham, tying the franchise record of Keiji Osawa.

“That doesn’t have anything to with anything,” Kuriyama said after the game.

Kuriyama, Nakata simmer

Fighters skipper Hideki Kuriyama had a rare blowup over cleanup hitter Sho Nakata, who hurt his own right eye in an accident on the team’s bench, according to Hochi Shimbun.

Nakata snapped his bat after striking out in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to the SoftBank Hawks and suffered a swollen right-eye in the process — in a Japanese version of the injury that ended Cecil Fielder’s brief career in Japan. Fiedler slammed his bat down in frustration and it bounced up and caught him in the eye.

Kuriyama was angry about it after Wednesday’s game, and again the next day, when he pulled Nakata from the starting lineup.

Nakata started against the Buffaloes on Friday and when reporters asked Kuriyama about the injury before the game, he said, “Don’t ask me. Ask him!”

Lions 7, Marines 4

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Seibu’s Aito Takeda, a man of several names, opened the scoring with his first pro homer, and liked it so much he hit another, capping a five-run Lions eighth with a three-run shot.

Marines right-hander Fumiya Ono (0-1) came in after Opening Day starter Kota Futaki allowed a run over seven innings. Ono loaded the bases with one out for Wu Nien-ting, who singled in two runs. Takeda then took Lions starter, Kona Takahashi, off the hook for the loss with his second home run.

Takeda is registered under his given name, although he turned pro in 2016 as Aito Otaki, and more likely than not changed it to his wife’s family name when he got married, a common practice when marrying into a family with no sons. He entered the game with 83 first-team plate appearances in 61 games.

The Marines took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on rookie Koki Yamaguchi’s two-run homer, his first as a pro.

Eagles 1, Hawks 1

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten’s Hideaki Wakui allowed a run over eight innings but failed to get his third win because SoftBank’s Shuta Ishikawa allowed a run over seven solid innings, and neither bullpen allowed a run.

Tigers 9, BayStars 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Shintaro Fujinami (0-1) walked five batters but didn’t allow a run until the seventh, when he led 9-0 and gave up a two-run shot to Daiki Sekine.

If there were prop bets on who would walk in the first batter in this game, I’m guessing you’d have had to get good odds to bet on Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-2), who walked the No. 8 hitter to cap a three-run first-inning rally. Fujinami, who threw his fourth pitch of the game to the backstop on the fly, didn’t even load the bases until the third inning and then retired both batters he faced without ever getting to three balls on either to keep it scoreless.

Jefry Marte doubled in Koji Chikamoto to open the scoring and came home on a Yusuki Oyama sac fly before Hamaguchi’s bases-loaded walk completed the rally.

Rookie Teruaki Sato launched his third homer, off reliever Yuki Kuniyoshi, out of the ballpark. Kuniyoshi allowed all six runs in Hanshin’s six-run sixth. Marte singled in another run, Oyama doubled in two and Jerry Sands capped the rally with an RBI single.

Carp 2, Giants 0

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Ryosuke Kikuchi and Seiya Suzuki continued to tear it up. Kikuchi, the first batter to face Tomoyuki Sugano (0-1) since the Giants’ ace was deactivated after Opening Day with leg issues, homered to open the bottom of the first, and Suzuki made it 2-0 before Sugano settled down and followed by bowling six scoreless frames.

Daichi Osera (2-1) went six innings, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out six. Lefty Daisuke Moriua walked the first two batters he faced in the seventh and walked Hayato Sakamoto intentionally to load them and got out of the inning against Takayuki Kajitani.

Rookie Carp closer Ryoji Kuribayashi recorded his fourth save, ending it by getting Sakamoto to hit into a double play.

Sasaki rocks on the farm

Rocket-armed 19-year-old Roki Sasaki, whom the Lotte Marines expect to bring up to the first team within a month, allowed a hit over three scoreless innings in Friday’s Eastern League game against the Seibu Lions, Hochi Shimbun reported.

The right-hander with the super smooth delivery touched 95 mph. He allowed a leadoff single and hit a batter while striking out two in his 39-pitch outing.

Punch-drunk Fighters swap 8 players

The Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters, winless over their last nine games with seven losses and two ties, replaced eight players on their active roster on Friday.

Outfielder Chusei Mannami was among the eight activated players. The 21-year-old, the Fighters’ fourth pick in the 2018 draft, is tied for the Eastern League home run lead with five and slashing .340/.421/.745.

The Fighters’ minor league facility in Kamagaya is a hitter’s park in a hitter’s league, and Fighters’ minor leaguers often put up some gaudy numbers before getting reality checks at cavernous Sapporo Dome.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Hayato Yuge (0-0, 2.45) vs Rei Takahashi (0-1, 5.11)

Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Manabu Mima (0-0, 2.31) vs Shota Hamaya (1-1, 3.72)

Buffaloes vs Fighters: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (0-1, 3.60) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (0-2, 8.74)

Central League

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Taiga Kamichatani (0-0, 22.50) vs Koyo Aoyagi (1-0, 2.08)

Dragons vs Swallows: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuya Yanagi (0-1, 2.25) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-0, 2.03)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Allen Kuri (2-0, 3.00) vs Shosei Togo (1-0, 1.80)

Active roster moves 4/9/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/19

Central League

Activated

GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano
CarpP58Reira Fujii
CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki

Dectivated

CarpP67Yuta Nakamura
CarpOF55Ryuhei Matsuyama
SwallowsOF49Daiki Watanabe

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP60Rikuto Yokoyama
LionsP21Ken Togame
LionsP48Shota Takekuma
FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko
FightersP35Takahiro Nishimura
FightersIF91Yuto Takahama
FightersOF66Chusei Mannami
BuffaloesIF36Tatsuya Yamaashi

Dectivated

MarinesP49Fumiya Motomae
LionsP43Mitsuo Yoshikawa
LionsP64Towa Uema
FightersP31Toru Murata
FightersP40Suguru Fukuda
FightersIF2Kenshi Sugiya
FightersOF4Yuya Taniguchi

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