NPB games, news of Sept. 26, 2019

The Hiroshima Carp lost their chance to cruise into the playoffs on Friday, while it was a farewell night for Kensuke Tanaka in Sapporo and a preview farewell for Shinnosuke Abe, where he was honored at Tokyo Dome ahead of similar celebrations certain to follow in the postseason.

Central League

Dragons 4, Carp 1

At Mazda Stadium, Takuya Kinoshita doubled in the tie-breaking run in Chunichi’s three-run seventh and scored on Naomichi Donoue’s two-run pinch-hit homer to beat Hiroshima in the day’s only meaningful game.

Hiroto Fuku pitched the Dragons out of a two-out, two-on jam in the eighth by striking out Ryuhei Matsuyama.

The Dragons’ win gave them a chance to clinch the CL’s final playoff spot if they can win their final three games.

Giants 6, BayStars 4

At Tokyo Dome, Shinnosuke Abe hit a game-tying homer in his final regular-season game at Tokyo Dome as Yomiuri beat DeNA in what could be a preview of the CL Climax Series final stage if the BayStars win the first stage at home against either the Carp or Tigers.

Abe’s home run was off a straight inside 2-1 fastball from Koo Nakagawa, not quite the batting-practice cookie that some players get in their farewell games, but Abe is still a quality hitter and had little trouble knocking it 20 rows back into the right field stands.

Game highlights are HERE.

Pacific League

Buffaloes 5, Fighters 1

At Sapporo Dome, Kensuke Tanaka wrapped up his career by breaking up a shutout with his second hit, an RBI single as Nippon Ham wrapped up its season with a loss to Orix.

Taisuke Yamaoka (13-4) allowed nine hits over the distance.

Game highlights are HERE.

Giants fans share the love for Abe

Here is a segment of Shinnosuke Abe’s postgame press conference.

Abe: “The Giants went to so much trouble for this day. I am so appreciative.”

How did you feel when the crowd roared as you were announced at catcher?

Abe: “At that instant I was speaking to Mr. Nagashima (his first manager Hall of Famer and Giants legend Shigeo Nagashima). He said, ‘Congratulations’ and even just that little bit thrilled me.”

“It was about like I expected (at catcher) though it was the first time since the preseason. I experienced everything a catcher does, including taking a real foul tip off my body.”

You got to catch (Scott) Mathieson to open the game. (Abe had mentored Mathieson in the ways of Japanese baseball and the right-hander responded by becoming a polished pitcher.)

Abe: “I felt like it was fate for us.”

When Hirokazu Sawamura took the mound as the second pitcher, you went out to the mound all of a sudden. (Abe famously had gone to the mound in the 2012 Japan Series to call the pitcher an idiot after he threw the wrong pitch).

Abe: “You know, a wide issue in society now is that of abuse of power (‘power harassment’ in Japanese). I thought with the way things are doing that again would not be permissible. I thought about it and went out to the mound without smacking him.”

“I thought today in the farewell ceremony I’d cry like an idiot, but (when the end does come) in the Climax Series or the Japan Series, I think I’ll cry plenty then.”

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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