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NPB games of Aug. 21, 2019

Yuki Yangita comes back and the Hawks get smacked. Go figure.

Pacific League

Buffaloes 14, Hawks 4

At Yafuoku Dome, Stefen Romero and Steven Moya reached base a total of nine times and each scored four runs as Orix came from behind on four RBIs from Ryoichi Adachi to beat SoftBank.

Yuki Yanagita, playing for the first time since suffering a knee injury on April 7, singled in his first at-bat and scored on Seiichi Uchikawa’s two-run homer in the first inning. The Hawks, however, managed just one walk against a string of five Orix relievers over the final five innings.

Game highlights are HERE.

Eagles 3, Marines 1

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Takahiro Norimoto (3-3) allowed a run over 6-2/3 innings to outduel Kazuya Ojima (1-4) in Rakuten’s win over Lotte.

Eigoro Mogi and Jabari Blash homered for the Eagles, while Yuki Matsui reached 30 saves for the fourth time in five seasons.

Game highlights are HERE.

Lions 11, Fighters 6

At MetLife Dome, Nippon Ham made five errors and Takayuki Kato (5-6) allowed five runs in 1-1/3 innings in a one-sided loss to Seibu.

Kotaro Kiymiya’s first career homer as a cleanup hitter was overshadowed by Japan’s premier power hitter, Hotaka Yamakawa, who put the Lions in front in the second inning with his 36th home run and then hit his 37th three innings later.

Game highlights are HERE.

Central League

Giants 5, Dragons 2

At Nagoya Dome, Tomoyuki Sugano () slogged his way through seven innings, scattering eight hits and a walk, while allowing one run in Yomiuri’s win over Chunichi.

Yoshihiro Maru went 3-for-5 with a double and three runs, while Kazuma Okamoto plated him twice with RBI singles, and Alex Guerrero homered in his old home ballpark.

Tigers 3, BayStars 1

At Kyocera Dome, Takumi Akiyama (4-3) struck out five, while allowing a run over five innings, and Hanshin’s bullpen kept DeNA in check with four scoreless innings.

Shun Takayama homered in the third off rookie Taiga Kamichatani (6-5), and Jefry Marte drove in the Tigers two other runs, and the bullpen did the rest. Suguru Iwazaki, Rafael Dolis and Pierce Johnson got the game to the ninth, when Kyuji Fujikawa struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning to record his eighth save.

Game highlights are HERE.

Carp 5, Swallows 4

At Mazda Stadium, Seiya Suzuki homered and drove in three runs as Hiroshima twice overcame two-run deficits to edge Yakult for the second-straight night. Tomohiro Abe opened the eighth with a homer off David Huff (1-4), who faced five batters in the inning but threw just seven pitches.

The Swallows failed to score in the ninth against Shota Nakazaki — who gave a vintage performance. The right-hander saved his ninth game despite loading the bases with one out in a scoreless ninth. It was his first save since May 29.

NPB news of Aug. 21, 2019

Lots of stories off the field on Wednesday, so better to break today’s posts into news and games.


Yanagita returns

Almost a month after he was expected to return, SoftBank Hawks star Yuki Yanagita was activated and put into the starting lineup on Wednesday, when he batted second as the designated hitter. He injured the muscles in his left knee on April 7, in his ninth game of the season.

On Tuesday, “Gita” took BP at Yafuoku Dome, taking 77 swings with reporters doing what Japanese reporters do by reporting that he cleared the wall on 25 of those according to the Sankei Sports.

In six rehab games on the farm, Yanagita went 4-for-12.

“I want to do my best over the remaining 29 games,” he said Tuesday. “Everyone else has carried their weight for 100 games or more. I have so much respect for them.”

Yanagita is the only player in NPB history other than Hall of Famer Sadaharu Oh to lead his league in both on-base percentage and slugging average for four-straight seasons, a run that will end this year.

Carp rate Sasaki, Okugawa as top H.S. prospects

Hiroshima Carp scouts met on Wednesday and while discussing 27 different high school prospects rated a pair of hard-throwing high school pitchers as the top players in October’s NPB draft. The two are Yasunobu Okugawa of Ishikawa Prefecture’s Seiryo High School and Roki Sasaki of Iwate Prefecture’s Ofunato High School.

The head of the Carp’s scouting departing Toshihiko Sonoda, said, “If you put Okugawa into our rotation at this moment, he could win about 10 games. If you had one game to win, Sasaki could throw a shutout for you. He’s a different kind of animal.”

Both pitchers have been named to Japan’s team for the U-18 World Cup.

Mann diagnosed with elbow inflammation

Lotte Marines lefty Brandon Mann was diagnosed on Wednesday with inflammation in the flexor tendon of his pitching elbow. He felt pain in the joint while pitching against Orix in Osaka on Saturday and was deactivated.

Messenger pitches in rehab assignment

Veteran Hanshin Tigers right-hander Randy Messenger (3) pitched for the first time in over a month on Wednesday, when he allowed two runs over three innings for the Tigers’ farm team.

Messenger, who last pitched on July 10, returned to the United States on July 27 for treatment on his right shoulder. He said Wednesday, when his fastball touched 148 kilometers per hour, that he was able to pitch without pain.

Lions to make worthy offer to keep Akiyama

Although he declined to go into specifics, Seibu Lions general manager Hisanobu Watanabe said Tuesday that the club would talk with center fielder and offensive spark plug Shogo Akiyama after the season and try to persuade him to remain in Tokorozawa.

“Will make an offer that won’t be embarrassing,” Watanabe said.

The Lions have a poor record with the last two big free agents they hoped to keep, pitcher Takayuki Kishi and second baseman Hideto Asamura. When Kishi received an offer from Rakuten, the Lions chose not to negotiate further, saying, “He has our offer.”