NPB games, news of Aug. 27, 2019

Pacific League

Lions 8, Fighters 2

At Kushiro Stadium, Zach Neal (8-1) allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk over six innings, and three relievers faced the minimum over the last three frames as Seibu beat Nippon in a weekday afternoon game. Neal has now won his last seven decisions, the longest streak by a foreign Lions pitcher since Kuo Tai-yuan (Taigen Kaku) won nine straight in 1994.

Here’s Zach Neal’s hero interview, where you can hear him talk about the team win.

Takumi Kuriyama and Hotaka Yamakawa each hit RBI doubles in the Lions’ three-run seventh as the visitors came from behind.

Fighters starter Bryan Rodriguez hurt himself with a two-base error on a pickoff throw that set up a first-inning sac fly, and then missed a shot at an inning-ending double play in the fifth when the Lions tied it.

Game highlights are HERE.

Eagles 5, Marines 2, 10 innings

At Rakuten Seimei Park, Jabari Blash hit two home runs and drove in all five of Rakuten’s runs in a win over Lotte. His 26th, a three-run, 10th-inning shot won it. Leonys Martin tied the game 2-2 in the sixth with his eighth home run.

Central League

Carp 2, Giants 0

At Tokyo Dome, Kris Johnson (9-7) overcame six walks and two hit batsmen to work seven scoreless innings, while Cristopher Mercedes (8-7) was punished for a couple of mistakes, surrendering solo homers to Ryuhei Matsuyama and Alejandro Mejia in Hiroshima’s win over Yomiuri.

Their win moved the third-place Carp to within 5-1/2 games of the league leaders with 22 games left to play.

Each time one of his teammates homered, Johnson had to pitch out of a two-on, no-out jam.

Hard-throwing youngster Atsushi Endo worked the eighth, while lefty Geronimo Franzua was asked to close it out instead of Shota Nakazaki and threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

“I had to keep coming after it. I wasn’t really consistent. Ishi (catcher Yoshiyuki Ishihara) never gave up on me. He kept calling what he thought was the right call and I had to trust him,” Johnson said in the postgame hero interview.

Game highlights are HERE.

BayStars 5, Swallows 3

At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo lined a good fastball away into center field for a tie-breaking RBI single, and DeNA held on to beat Yakult and stay a half-game ahead of Hiroshima in the CL pennant race.

Munetaka Murakami tied the record for most home runs in a season by a player before his 20th birthday, tying Kazuhiro Kiyohara, who accomplished the feat as a rookie with the Seibu Lions in 1986.

News

U-18 World Cup team opts for subtle S. Korean entry

Japan’s team to the Under-18 World Cup on Tuesday decided not to wear clothes bearing Japan’s national flag when they travel to South Korea on Wednesday out of consideration for the current tensions between the two nations.

“It’s not a good idea to get people worked up,” National High School Baseball Federation Secretary General Masahiko Takenaka said.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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