NPB games of Friday, May 17, 2019

Central League

Giants 4, Dragons 1

At Nagoya Dome, right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno (0-1) evaded what would have been a slobber fest from the media by not beating the Yomiuri Giants in his pro debut. The 21-year-old held the Giants to a hit through five innings before loading the bases with one out in a three-run sixth.

Had he won, Katsuno likely would have been bombarded after the game with questions like, “How does it feel to earn your first win against a team like the Giants. Isn’t it like a dream come true? Does anything in your life match this unbelievable accomplishment?”

Instead, Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto spoiled the rookie’s debut with a fluke one-out, two-run double on a grounder that looked like an easy out until it struck the third-base bag and hopped into left field.

Giants starter Taylor Jungmann (3-0) singled to lead off the sixth and scored the game’s first run. He struck out six, walked three, hit a batter and gave up three hits in five-plus innings to earn the win.

Kyosuke Takagi got one out and Samuel Adames two to prevent the Dragons from coming back in the sixth after Jungmann loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman. Hirokazu Sawamura was activated that day and recorded his first save in over two years.a

BayStars 4, Swallows 3

At Jingu Stadium, Yakult leadoff man Tomotaka Sakaguchi went 0-for-4 as he returned to action for the first time since March 29, and DeNA hit Yakult starter Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-5) for three straight RBI doubles in the third inning — the first a shallow fly lost in the lights by right fielder Yuhei Takai.

Neftali Soto and Jose Lopez each drove in a run for the BayStars, who got a quality start from Shota Imanaga (5-1). The lefty scattered three walks and seven hits, allowing three runs, two earned, over 6-1/3 innings to win his fourth straight decision and his third straight start.

Spencer Patton inherited a one-out, first-and-third jam in the seventh and pitched out of it for the BayStars, and lefty Edwin Escobar worked a scoreless eighth.

Ogawa locked it down after Lopez’s fourth-inning solo home run, retiring the last 12 batters he faced, while David Huff struck out three in a scoreless eighth and Ryota Igarashi worked around two ninth-inning walks, but the Swallows were unable to push across either of the runners who reached against BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki in the ninth.

Carp 10, Tigers 2

At Koshien Stadium, the Hiroshima Carp overturned a 2-1 deficit against Yuki Nishi (1-3) in the eighth on a one-out walk and three-straight singles.

A trio of Carp relievers kept the game close after rookie Hiroki Tokoda surrendered the lead on back-to-back, one-out RBI singles in the sixth. Kyle Regnault stranded two runners, while Allen Kuri (1-3) and Geronimo Franzua each delivered a scoreless inning before the visitors blew the game open in the ninth.

Former Chicago Cubs farmhand Xavier Batista went 4-for-5, scored two runs and drove in two, while Ryosuke Kikuchi and catcher Tsubasa Aizawa each drove in three runs.

With the game still scoreless in the fourth, Ryoma Nishikawa‘s soft liner to center fell in for an RBI single and Hanshin rookie Koji Chikamoto nearly threw out Batista at home.

Chikamoto entered the day tied for the NPB lead in outfield assists:

Note: Every player has played 30 or more games, except for Yanagita, who has been out injured after his ninth game.

The Marines, Buffaloes and Lions each have nine outfield assists. The Fighters and Swallows bring up the rear with one each.

Pacific League

Marines 6, Eagles 1

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Kota Futaki (4-2) struck out nine over seven scoreless innings, while Lotte widened a 2-0 lead with four runs in the seventh on Daichi Suzuki‘s grand slam off Rakuten starter Manabu Mima (2-3).

Zelous Wheeler‘s eighth-inning RBI single prevented the Eagles from being shut out for the second straight night. Brandon Laird hit his 14th homer to make it 2-0 in the second.

Lions 7, Buffaloes 5

At Kyocera Dome, Tomoya Mori‘s 10th-inning sacrifice fly broke a 5-5 tie after Orix twice came from behind to tie it against Seibu. Masataka Yoshida‘s two-run homer in the third tied it 3-3 against Lions starter Shinsaburo Tawata, only for Hotaka Yamakawa to belt his 19th of the year in the fifth.

Chris Marrero‘s first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the seventh retied it. Orix loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against Katsunori Hirai but failed to score.

Sosuke Genda scored the winning run by doubling to open the 10th, going to third on a wild pitch and then coming home on Mori’s sac fly.

In other news

  • Rakuten Eagles right-hander Takayuki Kishi threw seven scoreless innings in his second rehab start since being hurt on Opening Day.
  • A day after Orix Buffaloes first baseman Takahiro Okada completed a farcical defensive night by letting a grounder go through his legs, he was sent down to the farm team. Asked about the player who 10 years ago was considered the Buffaloes’ future, manager Norifumi Nishimura said, “I can’t use him the way he is.”
  • Chunichi Dragons OF Ryosuke Hirata is expected to miss four to six weeks with a muscle strain in his left calf. He will be deactivated on Saturday.
  • Norichika Aoki’s fourth-inning home run was the 100th of his NPB career.

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