Former Tiger VerHagen wins 3rd straight
Drew VerHagen struck out 10 over seven innings to win his third-straight start after Sho Nakata broke a 1-1 tie with a third-inning RBI single in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 2-1 victory over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome on Sunday.
With Ryo Watanabe on second after a leadoff double, Nakata singled on the second pitch he saw from Lions right-hander Keisuke Honda (0-4). It was the second run of the game for Watanabe, who singled with one out in the bottom of the first and scored the tying run after singles by Kensuke Kondo and Taishi Ota.
Shuta Tonosaki put the Lions in front in the first with a two-out solo homer in the first. The right-handed hitter barreled up a two-seamer on the inside edge and pulled it down the line for his second homer of the year.
After the Fighters tied it in the bottom of the first, center fielder Haruki Nishikawa helped ensure it stayed tied by robbing No. 9 hitter Shohei Suzuki of a leadoff double in the top of the third.
VerHagen (4-1) allowed five hits but did not issue a walk. Left-handed bullpen workhorse Naoki Miyanishi pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and side-arm right-hander Ryo Akiyoshi did the same in the ninth to earn his 10th save.
Honda allowed two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out one. Lions cleanup hitter Hotaka Yamakawa, hurt his right ankle when he stumbled out of an awkward swinging third strike to end the first inning. He was helped off the field and received treatment. He appeared to run without trouble in the field, but struck out in his next two at-bats and was pinch-hit for in the ninth.
Nakamura 3 relievers blank sluggish Buffaloes
Rookie lefty Toshiya Nakamura worked six scoreless innings to outduel Andrew Albers, who surrendered Leonys Martin’s third home run in three games in the Lotte Marines’ 4-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.
With Adam Jones out of the lineup for the first time this season due to discomfort in his right heal, Torai Fushimi took over the DH duties and went 0-4, ending three innings with one or more runners on.
Nakamura (1-0), the Marines’ fifth draft pick in 2018 scattered four walks and a hit, and faced only one serious challenge, when he got Fushimi to ground out to end the sixth with two men on.
Albers (2-4) looked sharp from the outset, but in the fourth inning, Martin launched a lazy 2-2 slider that missed over the plate and hit it over the center field wall for his 11th home run.
Yuki Karakawa worked a 1-2-3 seventh for the Marines, but Frank Herrmann tempted disaster in the eighth.
Kenya Wakatsuki put a perfect swing on a low first-pitch knuckle curve, looped it over short toward the gap in left and legged out a leadoff double. After failing to get a bunt down, Shuhei Fukuda avoided being rung out on a fastball that missed the outside edge by quite a bit – a location that has been a called strike on lots of batters this year – and walked on eight pitches.
Manager Norifumi Nishimura’s predictable sacrifice followed, but Lotte manager Tadahito Iguchi opted to fill the bases with one out by walking slugger Masataka Yoshida. It should have backfired, but third baseman Hisanori Yasuda made a good play to retire Takahiro Okada on a foul fly after he overran the ball. Herrmann fell behind 3-1 to Fushimi, who swung at two fastballs at the letters that umpire Tetsuya Shimada had been calling balls all day.
The Buffaloes tried the same intentional walk trick in the top of the ninth, walking Martin to load the bases with one out, but Yasuda, the Marines cleanup hitter, delivered a two-run double, and Ikuhiro Kiyota “singled” in another run on a pop fly over second that put the “blooper” in blooper reel.
Hawks bullpen finally holds off Eagles
A bullpen day is nothing to cheer for against the SoftBank Hawks, as the Rakuten Eagles found out in a 5-0 loss at Sendai’s Raktuen Seimei Park Miyagi as four pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout that left the two teams tied for the Pacific League lead.
Lefty Shunsuke Kasaya started and went three innings, while Yugo Bando (2-1) worked four innings to earn the win. Setup man Livan Moinelo and closer Yuito Mori finished up.
Eagles starter Yuya Fukui (0-1), the No. 1 draft pick of the Hiroshima Carp in 2010, took the tough loss after allowing a run on two hits and a walk over 5-2/3 innings while striking out six.
Hawks catcher Takuya Kai doubled in the in the sixth and scored on a wild pitch. Yuki Yanagita hit a fat pitch nearly as far as one can in the eighth to drive in an insurance run, and Kai hit a three-run home run in the ninth.
Giants comeback to salvage tie
On the back foot against first-team debutant Yariel Rodriguez and some good defensive plays by the Chunichi Dragons, the Yomiuri Giants tied it in a two-run seventh in their 2-2 10-inning tie at Nagoya Dome.
Toshiki Abe homered with one out and one on in the first off right-hander Ryosuke MIyaguni, who was making the start on a bullpen day. The Giants relievers, however, shut down the hosts for the rest of the game, allowing the hitters to finally score off Rodriguez.
Making good use of a good fastball and slider, the 23-year-old Cuban allowed three runs to reach through the first six innings, all on walks. He didn’t allow a hit until back-to-back one-out doubles by Takumi Oshiro and Zelous Wheeler. Lefty Toshiya Okada walked the only batter he faced.
Setup man Daisuke Sobue allowed Wheeler to score after a single loaded the bases and veteran left-handed hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei delivered a sacrifice fly on a pitch headed for the dirt.
Rodriguez allowed two hits and three walks while striking out eight over 6-1/3 innings.
The tie ended a run of three-straight losses by the Giants.
Kuramoto slam powers DeNA shutout
Toshihiko Kuramoto hit a first-inning grand slam, his first home run in two years, and Kentaro Taira (3-2) worked seven innings as the DeNA BayStars beat the Yakult Swallows 4-0 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.
Kuramoto capped a first-inning rally off submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka (0-1), who lasted four innings.
Taira allowed four hits and a walk while striking out six. Spencer Patton and Edwin Escobar each supplied one perfect inning of relief to close it out.
Oyama, Akiyama lead Tigers over Carp
Cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama doubled, tripled, homered, scored two runs and drove in two, while Takumi Aoyama (4-1) allowed a run over six innings in the Hanshin Tigers’ 5-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.
Oyama broke the ice in the second, when he doubled to open the inning against 21-year-old right-hander Atsushi Endo (2-2) and scored on a bases-loaded groundout.
After the Carp tied it, the Tigers took the lead for good in the third. Seiya Kinami doubled and Oyama tripled him home. Oyama homered in the eighth to make it 3-1.
Endo allowed two runs over five innings on three hits and four walks, while Akiyama gave up one hit and walked three.
The Carp loaded the bases in the ninth with one out against closer Robert Suarez, but could not score.
Buffs’ Jones out of lineup for 1st time
Adam Jones sat out the Orix Buffaloes’ game against the Lotte Marines on Sunday, marking the first time this season was not in the lineup. According to the Nikkan Sports, Jones came out of Saturday’s game after the fifth inning due to discomfort in his right heel.
He was not examined at a hospital and is expected to play against the Hawks in Fukuoka from Tuesday.
Active roster moves 8/9/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/19
Starting pitchers for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020
BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Carp vs Dragons: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT