NPB games of June 1, 2019

Former Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher Carlos Mirabal wants to help the Yakult Swallows in their hour of need. The 46-year-old has been pitching in Puerto Rico and is ready to go.

Who knows? On Saturday, the Swallows matched their 49-year-old Central League record for consecutive losses with 16. With the prospect of matching their league record, Yakult manager Junji Ogawa decided it was a good enough time to send Noboru Shimizu, the Swallows’ top draft pick last autumn out to make his first-team debut.

Although Shimizu has been striking batters out, he has hardly been taking the Eastern League by storm with a 2-6 record with a 5.63 ERA over 46-1/3 innings.

Central League

BayStars 7, Swallows

At Yokohama Stadium, Shimizu (0-1) allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks over four innings. He struck out three.

Rookie Taiga Kamichatani (3-3), DeNA’s top draft pick, broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the second, and threw a four-hitter for his first shutout. Kazuki Kamizato reached base four times from the BayStars’ leadoff spot and drove in three runs.

Giants 6, Dragons 5

At Tokyo Dome, Shinnosuke Abe hit his 400th career home run, while Hayato Sakamoto‘s ninth-inning single won it for Yomiuri, completing a comeback from a 4-0, sixth-inning deficit.

Christian Villaneuva tied it 4-4 with a grand slam off former closer Shinji Tajima in the sixth after Ryosuke Oguma loaded the bases with no outs. Abe’s pinch-hit homer with two outs in the inning gave the Giants their first lead.

Dragons starter Tatsuya Shimizu walked five batters but kept the Giants off the board with the help of three double plays. Joely Rodriguez (0-2) took the loss.

Abe is the 19th player to reach 400 homers in Nippon Professional Baseball, and at 40 years, two months of age, the second-oldest to reach the milestone. The oldest was Takeshi Yamasaki, who spent most of his career with the Dragons and the Rakuten Eagles.

Carp 7, Tigers 2

At Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Kris Johnson (5-3) allowed a run over six innings, struck out six and singled in a run to win his fourth straight start. Tetsuya Kokubo homered to lead off the fifth inning against Hanshin lefty Minoru Iwata (1-1) to open the scoring.

Xavier Batista hit his 15th home run for the Carp and his third in three games, while Kyle Regnault did not allow a run in an inning of relief, lowering his ERA to 0.34 over 26-1/3 innings.

Pacific League

Eagles 6, Hawks 5

At Yafuoku Dome, Takayuki Kishi (1-0) gave up a pair of solo home runs, allowing three runs over six innings, earning his first win of a season that started with him hurting his hamstring on Opening Day. The victory left the Eagles atop the PL, one game ahead of SoftBank.

Jabari Blash capped Rakuten’s four-run first with his 16th home run, a two-run shot off side-armer Rei Takahashi (5-1). Solo homers by the Hawks’ Seiichi Uchikawa and Alfredo Despaigne made it a 4-3 game, but Eagles closer Yuki Matsui struck out the side in the ninth to close it out after the bullpens exchanged two-run innings.

Fighters 8, Buffaloes 8, 12 innings

At Kyocera Dome, Nippon Ham center fielder Haruki Nishikawa took the air out of the ballpark when he raced back and leaped to catch a long fly for the final out of the 12th inning, robbing Orix of a sayonara victory as the two teams settled for a tie.

The Fighters twice came back on game-tying homers, by Taiwan star Wang Po-jung in the fourth, and by Taishi Ota in the ninth off Buffaloes closer Hirotoshi Masui.

Marines 8, Lions 7, 10 innings

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Lotte twice came back from three-run deficits to beat Seibu on Daichi Suzuki 10th-inning sayonara single. The Lions ended up using eight pitchers in the game after lefty starter Daiki Enokida allowed six runs, four earned, over four innings.

Marines lefty Brandon Mann returned to the mound for the first time since allowing five runs in a two-inning start on April 3. Mann, who has struck out 43 batters in 35-1/3 Eastern League innings this season, struck out six batters in 3-1/3 innings of hitless relief for the Marines.

Saturday’s box scores by NPB Reddit are HERE.

In other news

  • Former Chicago Cub outfielder Kosuke Fukudome was deactivated on Saturday due to discomfort in his right calf, but is expected to return as soon as the 10-day minimum deactivation period is over and see action as a DH during interleague play.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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