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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.