NPB games, news of July 9, 2019

Takahiro Norimoto returned to duty for the first time this season with the Rakuten Eagles, and it was glorious. The right-hander struck out six while walking one and hitting one over six scoreless innings. He had good command of his fastball and splitter and mixed in some changeups and sliders to keep the Buffaloes honest in a 6-1 win that snapped the Eagles’ losing streak at 10.

“We got off to a great start this season, but honestly I think the guys were getting a little tired,” said Norimoto, who had elbow surgery on March 11. “Today I came intending to end this losing streak. “My teammates reassured me (with early run support). It really allowed me to relax and settle in.”

“This is where I belong. I had the operation so I could be 100 percent, so I’ve been pretty psyched up to get out here, and once I got here there was no holding me back.

Jabari Blash did most of the damage with his 21st home run, a two-out, three-run blast in the third inning, driving a fat 1-0 pitch nearly over the outfield seating in left at Rakuten Seimei Park with that loose easy swing of his.

The game highlights are HERE.

Marines 6, Fighters 1

Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama has allowed only two starting pitchers to pitch past the fifth inning more than twice this season, with the rest getting pulled after two innings, or shortly after their second trip through the batting order. Those two are his workhorse, Kohei Arihara, and Naoyuki Uwasawa, who is out with a fractured kneecap.

On Tuesday, he sent Masaru Nakamura out, ostensibly to get through five innings, but the second trip through the Lotte order was too much for him. The 27-year-old right-hander, who has walked more batters in his career than he’s struck out, took the mound for the first time in two years. He faced five batters in the third, and all of them reached and walked four batters in his two-plus innings.

Ikuhiro Kiyota euthanized Nakamura’s stint with a grand slam that made it 6-0.

The game highlights are HERE.

Hawks 3, Lions 2

Seibu starter Ken Togame (3-4) fell to 5-13 in his career against SoftBank despite having his second straight solid start against the Hawks, allowing three runs, one earned, over seven innings. After an error put the hosts’ leadoff man on in the first, Shuhei Fukuda belted a two-run homer, and that was essentially the ballgame.

The Hawks had five of their seven base runners in a three-run first, while Seibu left nine on base.

The game highlights are HERE.

Giants 1, Tigers 0

Christian Villanueva doubled in the eighth off Onelki Garcia (2-4) and pinch runner scored on a groundout after a sacrifice moved him to third as Yomiuri edged Hanshin.

Toshiki Sakurai (4-1) threw seven scoreless innings for the Giants, giving way to Kota Nakagawa in the bottom of the eighth. Scott Mathieson was pulled after retiring the first two batters in the ninth, and lefty Kazuto Taguchi faced two batters en route to recording his first career save.

The game highlights are HERE.

Dragons 6, Carp 3

Yohei Oshima drove in two runs and scored another at Nagoya Dome as Chunichi handed Hiroshima its 10th straight loss.

BayStars 9, Swallows 4

Jose Lopez’s 19th home run, a fifth-inning grand slam iced the game as DeNA came from behind to beat Yakult at Jingu Stadium.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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