NPB games, news of Sept. 4, 2019

Wednesday saw lots of home runs, and a lot of big ones, three sayonara blasts, one of which was a grand slam, and the player’s 200th. The other grand slam was hit by Japan’s most proficient grand slam hitter, who extended his career record.

Pacific League

Hawks 5, Eagles 1

At Yafuoku Dome, Ariel Miranda (7-4) struck out Hideto Asamura and popped up Jabari Blash en route to pitching out of a first-inning bases-loaded jam and collecting the win as SoftBank beat down Rakuten in a four-home run salvo.

Akira Nakamura and Alfredo Despaigne each went deep in the first inning against Takahiro Norimoto (3-5), while Nobuhiro Matsuda added to the right-hander’s miseries in the fourth with a solo shot. Despaigne capped the scoring in the eighth with his 32nd home run of the season and his 150th in Japan.

Game highlights are HERE.

Lions 10, Buffaloes 2

At Hotto Motto Field Kobe, Shuta Tonosaki homered twice and Takeya Nakamura extended his Japan record for career grand slams to 19 with a five-RBI night as Seibu overturned an early 2-1 Orix lead. Nakamura also had a sacrifice fly, and his five RBIs tied him with teammate Hotaka Yamakawa for the PL lead with 108.

Daiki Enokida (4-2) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. He struck out two without issuing a walk.

Game highlights are HERE.

Marines 4, Fighters 2

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Takayuki Kato held Lotte scoreless for five innings, but the hosts came back against Nippon Ham’s bullpen, tying it on an unearned run in the eighth and winning it when Tatsuhiro Tamura blasted a two-run sayonara homer off closer Ryo Akiyoshi in the ninth. The loss was the Fighters’ eighth straight.

Game highlights are HERE.

Central League

Dragons 8, Giants 4

At Shikishima Stadium, Tomoyuki Sugano (11-6) gave up four runs on five second-inning hits and Chunichi held on to beat Yomiuri. Four of the five hits Sugano gave up in the inning were misses up in the zone, while the other came from his failure to cover first base quickly enough.

After the game, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara revealed that something had happened to his nephew Sugano, but would not spell it out, saying only there had been an “accident.”

Hayato Sakamoto gave the Giants a first-inning led with his 34th home run after Sugano worked a 1-2-3 first, but the Giants never led again.

Dayan Viciedo fouled a ball of his left ankle and was taken to a hospital in Maebashi, where he was diagnosed with a contusion. He returned to the ballpark, where he was treated and said he expected to play Thursday.

“I can walk,” he said. “It’s a contusion, so I’ll be OK.”

Game highlights are HERE.

Swallows 11, Carp 7

At Jingu Stadium, Tetsuto Yamada’s 200th career home run was a big one, breaking a 7-7, ninth-inning tie with two outs and the bags juiced in Yakult’s walk-off win over Hiroshima.

Swallows rookie Munetaka Murakami overturned a 5-4 deficit in the sixth inning with a three-run home run. His 32nd homer of the year is the most ever by a player under 20 years old in Japan.

BayStars 7, Tigers 5, 10 innings

At Yokohama Stadium, each of DeNA’s big boppers, Neftali Soto, Jose Lopez and Yoshitomo Tsutugo had one of their team’s four home runs, with Tsutsugo’s 27th of the year ending it in the 10th against Hanshin. Soto’s 35 kept him one ahead of Yomiuri’s Hayato Sakamoto for the league lead.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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