NPB games, news of June 9, 2019

Interleague

BayStars 6, Lions 4

At Yokohama Stadium, Taishi Kusumoto hit a two-out, pinch-hit grand slam off Seibu reliever Deunte Heath (2-2) to lift DeNA to its second-straight win over the PL champs.

The Lions’ Ernesto Mejia broke a 2-2 tie with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly, while Tomoya Mori singled and scored in the eighth on a pinch-hit single by his catching understudy Masatoshi Okada off Edwin Escobar.

Facing right-handed slugger Takeya Nakamura with Mori on first and one out, Escobar hit 160 kilometers (99.4 miles) per hour, the fastest speed recorded by a left-hander in Japan. Despite allowing a run, Escobar (1-1) earned the win. He also hit 160 in his first pitch to leadoff man Shogo Akiyama. Escobar set the previous record of 159 kph on May 24 against the Hanshin Tigers.y

Tomo Otosaka tied it 2-2 for the BayStars in the fifth after he led off with a pinch-hit double and scored on a sacrifice fly. He singled to lead off the eighth, and singled to load the bases with two outs in the eighth to bring Kusumoto to the plate.

Swallows 9, Buffaloes 4

At Jingu Stadium, Norichika Aoki scored a run and drove in three, while Munataka Murakami hit a tie-breaking, two-run home run, his 16th, in the fifth as Yakult beat Orix to snap an 11-game home losing streak.

Former Buffalo Kazuki Kondo (2-1) worked a 1-2-3 sixth to earn the win in relief in a game where Stefen Romero continued to be Orix’s main offensive force. After going 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs on Saturday, Romero went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and three RBIs.

Giants 11, Marines 3

At Tokyo Dome, Tomoyuki Sugano returned to the mound for the first time since May 15, and allowed two runs over six sharp innings as Yomiuri beat up on Lotte.

Sugano (6-3), who had been out with lower back discomfort, allowed three hits, three walks and a hit batsman, while striking out seven.

Marines starter Ayumu Ishikawa (3-3) had won his previous two starts, but surrendered six runs on nine hits and four walks over four innings.

Eagles 5, Dragons 2

At Nagoya Dome, Manabu Mima (5-3) struck out seven, while allowing a run over six innings to win his third-straight start as Rakuten beat Chunichi.

Dragons starter Tatsuya Shimizu (2-1) gave up five runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks. With one out in the top of the third and the game scoreless, Mima reached on an infield single and Shimizu walked leadoff man Eigoro Mogi.

With two outs, Mima opened the scoring on a Hideto Asamura infield single, Mogi scored on a throwing error, and Jabari Blash doubled in Asamura.

Alan Busenitz worked a scoreless eighth, and Yuki Matsui earned his 19th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Tigers 4, Fighters 3

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin tied it 3-3 in a two-run inning and won it in the ninth on a pinch-hit sayonara single from Fumihito Haraguchi off closer Ryo Akiyoshi (0-2) to salvage the final game of a three-game series with Nippon Ham.

With Fighters middle reliever Naoki Miyanishi on the mound, a Jefty Marte single and a Ryutaro Umeno double put the tying runs in scoring position with no outs. Marte scored on a ground out. Umeno tied it by stealing third and coming home on a throwing error by catcher Yushi Shimizu.

Taishi Ota had given the Fighters the lead in the sixth inning on a two-run home run, his 11th.

Carp 3, Hawks 2

At Mazda Stadium, Allen Kuri (2-3) allowed two runs over five innings, as he and four Hiroshima relievers kept the homer-happy Hawks out of the seats for the second straight day and hand the Japan Series champions their first loss of interleague.

Trailing by a run after Kosuke Tanaka’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly tied it, the visitors repeatedly threatened, putting two on with one out in the fifth, loading the bases in the seventh with one out, and getting the tying run to second in the eighth, but SoftBank stranded nine.

Carp closer Shota Nakazaki, who hadn’t allowed fewer than two base runners in an inning since May 25th, did not come out to protect the one-run lead in the ninth. Instead, Geronimo Franzua retired the Hawks in order for his first save.

News

Catch 22: Rakuten goes with all-rookie outfield

On Saturday, the Rakuten Eagles became the first team since the introduction of the draft system was introduced after the 1965 season to start three first-year players in the outfield. The Eagles packed their outfield with a trio of 22-year-olds: First pick Ryosuke Tatsumi batted sixth and started in center, 22-year-old sixth pick Yoshiaki Watanabe batted second and was in left, and seventh pick Yuya Ogowa was in right.

To complete the picture, 34-year-old right-hander Takayuki Kishi was caught by 22-year-old second pick Hikaru Ota.

Tatsumi singled in the second and Ota was hit by a pitch, advancing veteran Toshiaki Imae to third from where he scored the game’s first run on an Oguwa ground out. Tatsumi doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on back-to-back sacrifices by Ota and Oguwa in the 2-1 win over the Chunichi Dragons.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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