The Pacific League won four of Wednesday’s six interleague games by a margin of 34 runs to 22 as the three-time defending Central League champion Hiroshima Carp clinched a losing record against the PL for the second straight season.
Elsewhere, longtime Buffaloes starter Brandon Dickson saves the day as Orix holds on to beat the Giants on the road, while Japan’s all-time interleague big bopper Takeya Nakamura takes the Chunichi Dragons to the woodshed in a game where there was controversy over a sacrifice bunt.
Marines 6, Carp 3
At Mazda Stadium, Brandon Laird hit his 20th home run, one of four solo shots Lotte hit off Daichi Osera (6-4) as rookie right-hander Daiki Iwashita (3-1) went seven-plus innings for the win over Hiroshima.
Osera lacked consistent command of his cutter and allowed six runs, four earned, on eight hits over six-plus innings. He struck out four.
“The life on my fastball was not that bad but my location was off to guys who make their living hitting fastballs,” Osera said.
Iwashita, too, had trouble with his big out pitch, the splitter, but made up for it by locating his fastball. The rookie allowed three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five. Yuki Karakawa and Naoya Masuda each retired three batters to end it.
Buffaloes 4, Giants 3
At Tokyo Dome, Brandon Dickson got two-time reigning CL MVP Yoshihiro Maru to fly out with the tying run on third base and record his first pro save in 11 years as Orix held on to beat Yomiuri.
Moments after the Giants tied the game on a two-run, seventh-inning, pinch-hit home run by Hiroyuki Nakajima, who had just been called up that day, Yuya Oda broke the 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth with a sacrifice fly. Oda also doubled in a run in the Buffaloes’ two-run fourth.
Reliever Ryan Cook (0-2), pitching for the first time since being being deactivated on April 23 with discomfort in his right elbow, loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, setting up Oda for a sacrifice fly.
Dickson, on the hot seat after the Buffaloes deactivated closer Hirotoshi Masui, issued a leadoff walk to Yang Dai-kang to open the ninth, and with two outs walked Hayato Sakamoto with first base open. The save was Dickson’s first as a pro since he saved a game in the Cardinals’ minor league system in 2008.
Swallows 3, Hawks 2
At Jingu Stadium, Yasuhiro Ogawa (2-8) allowed two runs over seven innings, his best start since his last victory on May 3, as Yakult scored early and held on to beat SoftBank.
Tetsuto Yamada tripled to open the game and scored on a Norichika Aoki single before Wladimir Balentien hit his 14th home run of the season to give Yakult a 3-0, first-inning lead against Robert Suarez (0-3).
Ogawa matched his season-low with four hits. He walked two while equaling his season high of seven strikeouts.
BayStars 7, Fighters 6
At Yokohama Stadium, Yamato Maeda doubled home pinch runner Tomo Otosaka with the winning run in the ninth inning after Jose Lopez led off the inning with his second single of the game as DeNA came from behind to beat Nippon Ham.
Neftali Soto brought the BayStars back from a 4-23 deficit with his 21st home run, a fifth-inning, three-run shot.
BayStars lefty Edwin Escobar (2-1), who first came to Japan with the Fighters in 2017 before being traded that year to DeNA, struck out two to work around a walk and a single in a scoreless ninth and earn the win.
Lions 5, Dragons 2
At Nagoya Dome, career interleague RBI leader Takeya Nakamura tied the game with a two-run homer and broke the 2-2 tie with a two-run, ninth-inning single off Yudai Ono (4-5) as Seibu came from behind to beat Chunichi.
The Dragons’ Shuhei Takahashi led off with a single in the second and a double in the fourth, and was driven in both times by the No. 8 hitter, catcher Takuma Kato, who squeezed in the first run and singled in the second.
Nakamura tied it in the seventh with his 11th home run and his second in two nights. Ono had allowed just an infield single to Nakamura and a walk through six innings, before giving up Shota Sotozaki’s leadoff double in the seventh.
Still on the mound in the ninth, Ono surrendered a Sosuke Genda leadoff single. After a sacrifice, Japan home run leader Hotaka Yamakawa was walked intentionally, and Tomoya Mori walked to load the bases for Nakamura.
The inning had some controversy when Sotozaki sacrificed Genda to second. He bunted the ball straight down onto the plate and it appeared to hit the bat on the rebound.
On the principle that if the sacrifice bunt is no longer sacred then people in Japan ought to quit playing baseball, Dragons skipper Tsuyoshi Yoda was incensed that his request for a video review was refused, and the club has said it will file an objection.
Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda worked around a leadoff walk and an error to record his 11th save.
Eagles 9, Tigers 4
At Koshien Stadium, Rakuten rookie Ryosuke Tatsumi broke a 4-4 tie with a one-out, bases-loaded single in the ninth inning as the Eagles came from behind to beat Hanshin.
The Tigers jumped out in front on Yusuke Oyama’s three-run, first-inning home run.
Jabari Blash homered for the Eagles in the second and singled in a run in the fifth that tied it 4-4. He also opened the ninth with his second walk of the game.
Mathieson deactivated with slight strain
Yomiuri Giants reliever Scott Mathieson was deactivated on Wednesday, a day after he left a game against the Orix Buffaloes with a slight right adductor strain. The 35-year-old, who is coming back from knee surgery and a bacterial infection, has pitched in four games this season. He is expected to make a quick recovery.
Mathieson is in his eighth season with the Giants. He has 53 saves and 169 holds over that stretch and is one of the team’s captains. Last season he was limited to 34 games, his fewest since arriving in Japan in 2012.
Fighters’ Uwasawa, Buffaloes’ Fushimi out for long haul
In Tokyo, the Orix Buffaloes lost the use of reserve catcher Torai Fushima, who ruptured the Achilles tendon in his left ankle while batting in the top of the ninth inning. He has been replaced on the active roster by 36-year-old catcher Katsuki Yamazaki.