Ono hangs on for 5th shutout
Yudai Ono (9-5) returned to his complete-game victory fixation on Wednesday with his fifth shutout of the season as the lefty pitched out of a ninth-inning jam in the Chunichi Dragons’ 3-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.
The win lifted the Dragons into second place in the Central League at two games above .500 despite being outscored this season 396 to 356. Second place is largely symbolic as the Yomiuri Giants run away with the pennant and no possibility of advancing to the Japan Series since the CL has canceled its playoffs this year.
Ono struck out seven and walked one. He allowed two-out singles to Yusuke Oyama and Justin Bour in the ninth.
Tigers submarine right-hander Koyo Aoyagi (6-8) allowed three runs over seven innings to take the loss. Dayan Viciedo singled and scored in the second for the Dragons, and Zoilo Almonte singled in a run in the third.
Ono has now worked 36 consecutive scoreless innings. The Japan record is 64-1/3 by Hall of Famer Masaichi Kaneda, who accomplished the feat in 1958 with the Kokutetsu Swallows.
The lefty’s nine complete games are the most in Japan since Tomoyuki Sugano had 10 in 2018, when he won his second consecutive Sawamura Award, although eight of those were shutouts, which may be hard for Ono to match in this shortened season.
Masahiro Tanaka was the last pitcher in Japan with more than 10 complete games, when he had 14 in 2011.
Giants trim magic number to 9
Yuki Takahashi (1-0) allowed a run over five innings and tripled in the tie-breaking run in the second as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Hiroshima Carp 6-1 at Tokyo Dome.
Although the outfield was playing the pitcher shallow, Takahashi got some distance on his drive to the gap.
The win, combined with the Tigers’ loss, dropped the Giants’ magic number to clinch the pennant to nine.
BayStars bash Swallows
The DeNA BayStars bashed out nine runs over the first six innings and then had to call on closer Kazuki Mishima after Naomichi Nishiura’s second homer of the game made it close in the eighth inning of their 9-6 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.
BayStars starter Yuya Sakamoto (4-1) held the Swallows to a run over five innings, while 40-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (1-7) allowed five runs over five. Mishima earned his 14th save.
Tyler Austin had three hits and two RBIs for the visitors, while Neftali Soto scored twice. Toshiro Miyazaki drove in three runs on three singles and Keita Sano homered for the third straight game.
Wakui outpitches Chen
Chen Wei-yin’s return to Japanese pro ball was impressive until a belt-high center-cut fastball to Hideto Asamura put the Rakuten Eagles in front in their 4-1 win over Chen’s new team, the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.
Hideaki Wakui (11-3) appeared to lose his footing on the mound on his first pitch, a 143-kph fastball down the middle to rookie Kyota Fujiwara who looked like he was geared up for a first-pitch fastball because he really hammered it for his first career home run.
Asamura singled and scored the tying run in the fourth on a Stefen Romero sacrifice fly and blasted his 31st home run in the sixth, driving it well back in the left-field stands for a 2-1 lead.
Chen allowed two runs over six innings, while Wakui went seven. Lefty Yuki Matsui worked a scoreless eighth and Alan Busenitz did the same in the ninth for his 18th save.
Senga strikes out 10
SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (8-6) struck out 10 over six innings to earn the win in a 4-0 victory over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome that was scoreless through six innings.
Lefty Sachiya Yamasaki (4-5) surrendered a leadoff double to Ryoya Kurihara in the seventh. He scored on a wild pitch, and three two-out walks loaded the bases for Yuki Yanagita, who delivered a three-run double.
It was the Buffaloes’ second straight shutout loss. The win lifted SoftBank three games clear of the second-place Marines.
VerHagen shuts down Lions
Drew VerHagen (7-5) struck out 10 over eight scoreless innings as the Nippon Ham Fighters took advantage of nine walks in a 7-2 win over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome.
VerHagen allowed three hits and walked two to earn his first winsince he last threw eight shutout innings to beat the Rakuten Eagles on Sept. 14.
Taishi Ota hit a two-run first-inning home run off rookie Shota Hamaya (2-2).
Active roster moves 10/14/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/24
Starting pitchers for Oct. 15, 2020
Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Nick Martinez (1-6, 4.58) vs Zach Neal (4-6, 4.78)
Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Kazuya Ojima (7-6, 3.28) vs Takayuki Kishi (3-0, 4.72)
Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Daiki Tajima (4-4, 3.67) vs Shuta Ishikawa (7-3, 2.58)
Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Angel Sanchez (7-3, 2.92) vs Yusuke Nomura (6-3, 4.59)
Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Daiki Yoshida (1-6, 5.01) vs Kentaro Taira (3-3, 2.57)
Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Takahiro Matsuba (3-6, 3.92) vs Minoru Iwata (1-1, 4.41)