NPB games, news of Aug. 14, 2019

Half of Wednesday’s six NPB games were one-side butt-kickings, and another became so in the late innings as the league leaders improved their position.

Do it your self, Japanese style

Today, we introduce one of the pennant stretch words one begins hearing in the second half “Jiryoku’V’shometsu.” This dire situation –自力V消滅 in Japanese — is the status of a team that cannot win the pennant without help from other teams. On Wednesday, the Hiroshima Carp and Rakuten Eagles, both received this dire prognosis of their pennant chances.

They can now win all their remaining games and still not win the pennant unless the Yomiuri Giants in the Carp’s Central League or the SoftBank Hawks in the Eagles’ Pacific League lose at least once to another team between now and the end of the season.

A lot is made in Japanese baseball of the idea of being able to steam to a goal under your own power and this is essential to the almost religious seriousness that accompanies NPB magic numbers, which we’ll get to at another time.

I’m still not certain why anybody cares about being able to reach a goal without help when every team in your league still has 50 games to play is important.

Pacific League

Marines 9, Fighters 4

At Tokyo Dome, Takashi Ogino homered on a 3-2 fastball that Kosei Yoshida (1-2) threw down the middle of the strike zone like he was aiming for a bulls-eye, and Lotte never trailed against Nippon Ham.

The 18-year-old legend from last summer’s summer national high school championships was making his third start and his first against PL teams. He threw mostly fastballs in the first inning and when he missed in the zone with them the Marines crushed them. A walk and a Daichi Suzuki two-run homer got the Marines off to a 3-0 jump start.

Ogino hit another home run in the second inning, while Leonys Martin hit his seventh in 18 career NPB games.

Marines rookie Kazuya Ojima (1-3) allowed a run over six innings

Game highlights are HERE.

Lions 8, Buffaloes 7

At MetLife Dome, Seibu came from behind twice, the second time on a two-run, eighth-inning Hotaka Yamakawa homer, his 34th, to beat Orix. A night after five batters were hit by pitches and three were ejected, only one batter, Yamakawa, was plunked.

Game highlights are HERE.

Hawks 12, Eagles 3

At Rakuten Seimei Park, Shota Takeda (4-3) allowed three runs, two earned, over eight innings to win as a starter for the first time since April 11, while leadoff man Shuhei Fukuda and Yurisbel Gracial combined for seven hits, four runs and four RBIs in SoftBank’s win over Rakuten.

New Eagle Ren Wada tied it 3-3 in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run, but Rakuten starter Takahiro Norimoto (2-3) allowed six runs, five earned, over four innings to take the loss.

Game highlights are HERE.

Central League

Giants 7, Carp 1

At Mazda Stadium, Tomoyuki Sugano (9-5), without a win since July 2, allowed a run over eight innings, and Yomiuri broke out of its scoring funk with him on the mound with six late runs in a win over Hiroshima.

Hayato Sakamoto doubled twice and walked, scored twice and drove in the Giants’ tie-breaking run in the seventh inning.

Swallows 15, BayStars 2

At Jingu Stadium, 39-year-old Masanori Ishikawa (6-5) allowed one hit and one walk over eight innings, while Yakult hammered Haruhiro Hamaguchi (6-4) for seven runs in the first inning.

Tetsuto Yamada opened the scoring with his 30th home run, while Wladimir Balentien hit his 25th and 19-year-old rookie Munetaka Murakami hit his 26th and took over the CL RBI lead.

Ishikawa had a no-hitter going until one out in the eighth when BayStars rookie Yukiya Ito hit his fourth homer in seven career games.

Tigers 6, Dragons 3

At Nagoya Dome, Hanshin rattled off six-straight hits after Daisuke Yamai (3-5) retired the first two batters in the fifth to overturn a 3-0 deficit in a win over Chunichi.

Tigers rookie Seiya Kinami sparked the fifth-inning rally with a pinch-hit single and homered in his next at-bat.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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