The SoftBank Hawks, who have won more interleague games than any other team in Japan, improved to 4-0 against the Central League on Friday, when they opened their Japan Series-rematch series against the three-time defending CL champion Hiroshima Carp.
In Yokohama, Seibu Lions third baseman Takeya Nakamura singled in a run, his 184th RBI in interleague play, moving him out of a tie with DeNA manager Alex Ramirez for the career interleague lead in runs driven in.
With three wins and two losses on Friday, the Swallows and Buffaloes were rained out, the Pacific League leads this season’s melee 14-9.
Hawks 6, Carp 3
At Mazda Stadium, Kodai Senga (6-1) struck out eight over seven scoreless innings, pitching SoftBank past the Carp.
The Hawks broke the ice in the fifth on a two-out, Texas leaguer to right off the bat of career minor leaguer Yusuke Masago. Yurisbel Gracial homered for the fourth-straight game in the sixth, off rookie starter Hiroki Tokoda. Hawks catcher Takuya Kai drove in two more in the inning with a double off the top of the wall in dead center off reliever Yasunori Kikuchi.
Coming off his first loss of the season, Senga gave up three hits and walked two. He retired the last 10 batters he faced. Lefty Livan Moinelo retired the first two Carp batters in the eighth before giving up back-to-back singles and Seiya Suzuki‘s 16th home run of the season.
Yuito Mori worked around a one-out walk to record his 17th save.
Tokoda (5-3) gave up four runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out two over 5-1/3 innings.
Giants 4, Marines 3
At Tokyo Dome, Kazuma Okamoto drove in Yomiuri’s winning run for the second straight night. Restored to the No. 4 spot in the order after he homered to break a 1-1 tie the night before, Okamoto singled home Yoshihiro Maru in a come-from-behind win over Lotte.
Rookie Akihiro Wakabayashi tied it 2-2 in the fourth by homering with a man on against Kota Futaki. The right-hander had retired the first two batters he faced in the inning, and did so again in the fifth before allowing Maru’s two-out double and back-to-back RBI singles from Okamoto and Takumi Oshiro.
Cristopher Mercedes (5-3) allowed just two run on seven hits and four walks over five innings. After three scoreless innings from the bullpen, closer Kota Nakagawa allowed a run in the ninth but nailed down his seventh save.
Futaki (4-4) struck out eight, but walked three and surrendered seven hits over five innings.
Lions 6, BayStars 2
Tonosaki, doubled in a run and scored in the fourth inning, and homered for the third straight game, breaking a 2-2 fifth-inning tie. He doubled in another run in the Lions’ two-run seventh.
Takahashi allowed three hits and two walks, while striking out five and the Lions’ bullpen retired six straight batters to close it out. DeNA starter Shota Imanaga struck out 12, but walked five and gave up seven hits, allowing five runs over seven innings.
Dragons 13, Eagles 3
At Nagoya Dome, Yuya Yanagi (6-2) gave up a run over seven innings, while Chunichi scored four runs off of each of Rakuten’s first three pitchers.
Atsushi Fujii singled and scored in the first and cracked a three-run home run in the second as the Dragons handed the Eagles their third loss in interleague, dropping them into third place.
Fighters 3, Tigers 2
Arihara allowed four hits and two walks while striking out seven, while lefty Naoki Miyanishi struck out the side in the seventh. Naoya Ishikawa and closer Ryo Akiyoshi furnished two more scoreless innings, with Akiyoshi recording his 12th save.
Yuki Nishi (3-5) gave up three on eight hits and two walks over seven innings to take the loss.
Tigers to deactivate set-up man Johnson
Pierce Johnson, who leads the Central League with 19 holds and the Hanshin Tigers pitching staff with 28 games, will be deactivated on Saturday. Johnson, who was given the night off on Thursday in Chiba, went to the bullpen for about 10 minutes on Friday before returning to the clubhouse.
According to Sports Nippon, the club said, “We are concerned about fatigue from his heavy workload. He is being deactivated in order to be refreshed. He did not suffer an injury.” Actually, the word they use is that there was no “accident,” that being the word for an event causing damage to a body or some equipment.
The late great Wayne Graczyk used to rip into that usage the same way he’d talk about “timely errors” — run-scoring errors.