Japan’s rainy season hit interleague play on Saturday, washing out the outdoor games being played between the Hiroshima Carp and Rakuten Eagles in Sendai and the Chunichi Dragons and Lotte Marines in Chiba.
Rain outs, sliders and skippers
When games get rained out, reporters still file stories, most often about what is next for the pitchers scheduled to start that game. Will they start their team’s next game, “a slide,” or will they skip their turn in the rotation. From Saturday’s news we learned that the Dragons’ Enny Romero would not pitch on Sunday in Chiba, where Tatsuya Shimizu will face Mike Bolsinger, who will slide over to Sunday after not pitching on Saturday.
I’m sure someone must care, but the amount of ink these generally useless stories take up in the newspaper is incredible.
Ishikawa misses out on 25th win
Swallows 6, Lions 5
At MetLife Dome, 39-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa pitched well enough to win his 25th career interleague game and move one behind the NPB leader retired southpaw Toshiya Sugiuchi, but his bullpen failed and Yakult had to come from behind in the ninth to salvage what should have been an easy win over Seibu.
Ishikawa allowed two runs, both after he left with one out in the eighth, on four singles, OK three singles and a triple that should have been ruled a single and an error because Norichika Aoki played it into a triple. Ishikawa threw his 128-kph (80.1 mph) cutter to keep batters off his change, slider and screwball. Ishikawa, who beat the Lions last year for the first time since 2007, struck out five.
Relievers Yugo Umeno and Scott McGough took over from Ishikawa in the eighth. Umeno struck out the first batter he faced, Sosuke Genda, but that seemed to take all his effort. Genda fouled off 10 two-strike pitches before being called out.
Umeno, who hadn’t walked or hit a batter in over a month, hit the next batter he faced and walked the next two. McGough (4-1), who was coming off two solid outings, kept Takeya Nakamura from hitting a grand slam in consecutive games, but surrendered a three-run double.
Kyle Martin, who finished the top of the eighth for the Lions, was set up to be the winner, but closer Tatsushi Masuda (3-1) gave up two runs to blow the save.
Hawks 4, BayStars 3
At Yafuoku Dome, submariner Rei Takahashi (7-1) allowed an unearned run in the first inning, when he left the bases loaded, but didn’t allow another DeNA runner to reach second in seven solid innings for SoftBank.
Seichi Uchikawa homered to break a 1-1 tie in the third, and Takahashi handed a 4-1 lead to lefty Livan Moinelo, who worked a scoreless eighth.
Former Mariner Jose Lopez hit his 167th home run in Japan to open the ninth against closer Yuito Mori, who surrendered another run on three singles, but got a game-ending double play to nail down his 19th save.
Buffaloes 3, Tigers 2
At Kyocera Dome, Orix’s Tyler Eppler (2-2) was in the right place at the right time for the second straight night as he earned the win in relief against Hanshin.
Two ninth-inning singles and an error tied it against Tigers closer Rafael Dolis (3-2), and Stefen Romero brought home the winning run with a sacrifice fly.