NPB games, news of July 6, 2019

Saturday was a day for rearranging the standings in both leagues, as the Hiroshima Carp dropped out of second place in the Central League with their seventh-straight loss, and the Rakuten Eagles vacated the Pacific League’s runner-up position with their eighth-straight defeat.

Fighters 1, Eagles 0

The Fighters broke the scoreless tie in the top of the ninth with a run off Eagles closer Yuki Matsui (1-4). It was the first time since May 15, 2016 that the lefty had lost two straight games.

A day after returning from an injury layoff and earning his 13th save, Ryo Akiyoshi remained in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ bullpen after they took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning in Sendai.

Naoya Ishikawa, who’d been Akiyoshi’s understudy while he was rehabbing, came on and survived a couple of mistakes to earn his fourth save.

The game highlights are HERE.

Hawks 6, Buffaloes 5

SoftBank’s understudy closer, rookie Hiroshi Kaino, pitched out of two-out, two-on jam in the ninth to save his sixth game in the absence of closers Dennis Sarfate and Yuito Mori.

The Hawks came from behind on a pair of eighth-inning mistakes. Third baseman Ryoichi Adachi — once a promising shortstop who lost his spot there through illness and a baffling inability to make routine plays — let a grounder get past him to open the inning.

With one on and one out, Tyler Eppler (4-3) threw a first-pitch mistake to Nobuhiro Matsuda, who overturned a 5-4 deficit with his 19th homer of the season.

The game highlights are HERE.

Lions 5, Marines 0

Shogo Akiyama led off the game with a home run and added an RBI double, while Seibu right-hander Keisuke Honda allowed four leadoff hitters to reach but did not allow a run over 7-1/3 innings.

Hideaki Wakui (3-5) didn’t pitch half badly, three earned runs over six innings, and had done OK for three-straight games, but is 0-1 over that stretch.

The game highlights are HERE.

Giants 4, BayStars 3

Yomiuri’s Cristopher Mercedes (6-4) got a first-inning lead and only had to pitch out of trouble twice over seven scoreless innings before the BayStars fought back with three home runs off three different relievers to make it close.

The game highlights are HERE.

Tigers 8, Carp 5

Hanshin shelled Makoto Aduwa (2-4) for six runs over four innings, with Kento Itohara breaking a 3-3 tie in the third with a three-run home run, and the trio of Kyuji Fujikawa, Pierce Johnson and Rafael Dolis working a scoreless inning apiece to close out Hiroshima.

The game highlights are HERE.

Swallows 3, Dragons 1

It was the Masanori Ishikawa show at Nagoya Dome, as the 39-year-old lefty allowed a run on six hits and no walks over seven innings and squeezed home the winning run in the fifth inning to improve to 3-5.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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