Giants solve mystery
After listening to this week’s Japan Baseball Weekly podcast, in which John Gibson argued that the Giants had a magic number despite Japan’s insistence they didn’t, the team’s magic number “reappeared” on Tuesday.
Of course, if one throws out the Japanese condition that none of your needed wins can come against the second-place team, the Giants entered play with a number of 11. But by getting one of those wins against the BayStars on Tuesday, their Japanese number became nine.
This was enough for my company to issue a news alert on its Japanese news wire.
Giants 4, BayStars 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Kazuma Okamoto belted a pair of home runs to bring Yomiuri back from a 1-0 deficit against tough DeNA lefty Shota Imanaga (13-6).
Imanaga struck out 10, while allowing two runs on two hits and four walks. Right fielder Takayuki Kajitani made a run-saving catch in the fourth, when he snagged a one-out liner just before it hit off the wall for an RBI double.
Okamoto hit his 27th home run of the season in the sixth, after Yoshihiro Maru drew a two-out walk. Maru made it a 3-1 game in the eighth with a sacrifice fly off lefty Edwin Escobar, and Okamoto followed with a solo homer.
Ryan Cook, brought in this season as the Giants’ newest closer, got his first career top-flight start — having previously only started in the U.S. minors and in Japan’s Eastern League (three games in August). He walked three, and allowed four hits, but gave up just one run over three-plus innings, on a third-inning solo home run by Jose Lopez.
Rubby De La Rosa surrendered a ninth-inning pinch-hit home run to light-hitting utility infielder Tatsuhiro Shibata, but held on for his sixth save.
Carp 3, Dragons 0
At Mazda Stadium, Chunichi’s offense misfired for the first time in over a week, wasting four leadoff runners against Daichi Osera (11-8) in a loss to Hiroshima.
Ryoma Nishikawa and rookie Kaito Kozono drove in all of the Carp runs with a pair of home runs. Geronimo Franzua, who had pitched in two of the Carp’s last three games, was brought in with a three-run lead and recorded his 12th save.
The win left the Carp third behind DeNA on winning percentage points.
Swallows 5, Tigers 4, 10 innings
At Koshien Stadium, rookie defensive replacement Yasutaka Shiomi singled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning to lift Yakult past Hanshin. Scott McGough struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to record his ninth save.
Game highlights are HERE.
Marines 10, Fighters 2
At Tokyo Dome, Ayumu Ishikawa (6-5) won his third-straight decision since being reinstated to the starting rotation, allowing two runs in six innings as Lotte crushed Nippon Ham.
Leonys Martin opened the scoring with a two-run homer, his 12th, off Bryan Rodriguez (6-6), who gave up five runs in 3-2/3 innings.
Game highlights are HERE.
Ogawa, Miyamoto officially out at Yakult
The Central League’s Yakult Swallows’ owner, Takashi Negishi, on Tuesday accepted the resignations of manager Junji Ogawa (62) and head coach Shinya Miyamoto (48) effective at the conclusion of the season. The club appears to be pushing toward promoting farm manager Shingo Takatsu (50). Takatsu, whose 598 saves are second most in NPB history, also saved 27 in two major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets.
Tigers void Solarte’s contract
The Central League’s Hanshin Tigers voided Yangervis Solarte’s contract on Monday, when he returned to the United States. On Friday, the utility man had declined to rejoin the first team, and did not report to the farm team the following day.
It has been a peculiar winding down to a season in which the team still has a chance to reach the postseason. Last month, the club requested that veteran infielder Takashi Toritani retire. Since then the team’s Senior Executive Advisor Masayuki Kakefu has also announced his departure.