NPB games, news of Aug. 25, 2019

Pacific League

Fighters 6, Buffaloes 1

At Kyocera Dome, Nippon Ham’s Chihiro Kaneko (5-6) survived a scary first inning with big help from his defense, after surrendering three singles, and went on to pitch five scoreless innings in a win over Orix.

The Buffaloes, who entered Sunday’s game leading both leagues in the percent of runners thrown out on the bases 6.1 percent to go with their PL-worst .312 on-base percentage, lost leadoff runner Shuhei Fukuda (caught stealing) for a Japan-worst 14th time. Yuma Mune then was out trying to stretch a single to a double.

The Fighters appeared to get lucky when Masataka Yoshida hit into their shift, but second baseman Ryo Watanabe was playing too far into right field to throw him out at first. With a man on first, Stefen Romero hit a bullet that was gloved, however, for the third out.

Kaneko issued a pair of walks in the third to load the bases with one out for Yoshida, who hit into a double play started by Watanabe who was shifted well towards first.

Buffaloes starter Daichi Takeyasu (3-2) snapped his string of pitching well against teams he hadn’t faced before, giving up five runs, four earned, over 5-1/3 innings in his first game against the Fighters.

Kaneko was pulled after facing his 19th batter, and four relievers allowed a run on three hits the rest of the way.

Former Kintetsu Buffaloes great Ralph Bryant threw out the ceremonial first pitch, a nasty 12-6 curve to Steven Moya, who took a called strike rather swing as is customary in Japan.

Game highlights are HERE.

Marines 4, Hawks 3

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Atsuki Taneichi (7-2) allowed two runs, one earned, while striking out eight as Lotte swept SoftBank for the second time this season.

With Yuki Yanagita as DH, Taisei Makihara took over in center for the Hawks. He threw out a runner at the plate in the fifth to keep the Marines from making it 2-0, and drove in two late runs after Lotte’s Daichi Suzuki capped a three-run seventh with a two-run double.

Taneichi threw 118 pitches. He walked five and allowed four hits as he became the first Marines pitcher to seven wins.

“If you’re going to become an ace pitcher, the pitches you throw after your 100th are critical,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “I had planned on having him go out again for the eighth (after 95 pitches through seven).”

Game highlights are HERE.

Eagles 14, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, Jabari Blash hit a two-run, first-inning double, and Hideto Asamura hit his eighth home run of the season against his former team, a two-run shot in the fourth, as Rakuten walloped Seibu.

Ren Wada, a mid-season acquisition from the Yomiuri Giants, went 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and three RBIs for the Eagles.

Game highlights are HERE.

Central League

BayStars 3, Giants 0

At Tokyo Dome, Shota Imanaga (12-5) struck out eight over six innings, and three relievers allowed one hit over the final three innings as DeNA capped its weekends series against Yomiuri with a three-hit shutout.

Tomo Otosaka singled home Tatsuhiro Shibata in the third off former BayStar Shun Yamaguchi (12-3), and tripled in another run in the seventh. Neftali Soto moved into a tie for the CL home run lead with his 32nd, off lefty Kota Nakagawa in the eighth. Yamaguchi allowed two runs over 6-2/3 innings while striking out eight.

BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki earned his 26th save and his first since Aug. 4.

Game highlights are HERE.

Dragons 10, Carp 4

At Nagoya Dome, Toshiki Abe went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and four RBIs as Chunichi came from two runs down to beat Hiroshima.

Carp starter Allen Kuri (6-7) allowed six runs over 4-2/3 innings to take the loss, while 19-year-old Dragons rookie Takumi Yamamoto (2-3) allowed two runs in the first. He left with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth, but lefty Hiroto Fuku kept the Carp off the board.

Swallows 5, Tigers 1

At Jingu Stadium, two-run, pinch-hit singles by Yuhei Nakamura and Shingo Kawabata lifted Yakult past Hanshin. Swallows star second baseman Tetsuto Yamada left the game after flying out to first in the third inning, but manager Junji Ogawa said there didn’t appear to be any serious problems.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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