NPB games of May 19, 2019

Central League

Carp 5, Tigers 1

At Koshien Stadium, Makoto Aduwa (2-1) did not strike out a batter but allowed four hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings in the Carp’s seventh-straight win.

It was the first time in over seven years that a pitcher had thrown seven or more scoreless innings without a strikeout. The last one was a shutout by Seibu’s Kazuhisa Makita on April 23, 2013 at home against Lotte.

Seiya Suzuki, who leads the CL in all three Triple Crown categories, doubled in two runs in the first, while Ryosuke Kikuchi reached safely five times, scored twice and drove in two runs.

Dragons 5, Giants 4

At Nagoya Dome, seventh-year pro and career minor leaguer Hayato Mizowaki had a career year in one game. Entering the game with two hits and two runs scored from 24 career games, the 25-year-old went 3-for-5 with first career triple, a walk and three runs as the Dragons came from behind to beat Yomiuri.

Dayan Viciedo went 3-for-5 with a two-run, fifth-inning single off Shun Yamaguchi (4-2). Closer Hiroshi “Birdman” Suzuki held onto the lead to record his CL-best 13th save despite surrendering a leadoff homer and two one-out singles.

BayStars 7, Swallows 0

At Jingu Stadium, Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-1) retired 22 straight batters in between his only two jams of the night in a two-hit shutout that completed DeNA’s three-game sweep of Yakult.

Wladimir Balentien looked at a third strike on a full count with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth, and Tomo Otosaka, a defensive replacement in left, made a good catch to end the game and preserve the shutout.

Pacific League

Lions 9, Buffaloes 2

At Kyocera Dome, Seibu rookie Wataru Matsumoto (1-0) survived a fifth-inning rally to hold on to the lead and win his debut after the Lions stung Orix starter Tyler Eppler (0-2) for three runs over 3-2/3 innings.

The 26-year-old Eppler located his fastball, but was foiled when the Lions hitters put some really good swings on well-executed pitches and didn’t miss his mistakes. His changeup was problematic, but otherwise it was a start he can build on.

The game was less about poor pitching from the Buffaloes starter than about just how tenacious Seibu’s hitters can be.

Hawks 4, Fighters 2, 5 innings, called

At Kagoshima Stadium, the Hawks beat the Fighters in the rain for the second-straight day behind home runs from Cubans Yurisbel Gracial and Alfredo Despaigne, and Keizo Kawashima.

Ariel Miranda (3-2) pitched four innings for the win, but Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo showed no interest in getting his fourth Cuban, lefty Livan Moinelo, into the action. The skipper instead picked starter Shota Takeda to come in and record his first save.

Eagles 10, Marines 5

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Rakuten came from behind twice after the Marines got home runs from Daichi Suzuki in the first and Brandon Laird in the third and fifth. Former Marine star Toshiaki Imae singled in the tying run in the sixth, against Lotte starter Ayumu Ishikawa, who allowed five runs in six innings.

With the score tied, Lotte lefty Takahiro Matsunaga (1-2) came in, and after getting two outs on 10 pitches surrendered his first runs since April 14 on back-to-back home runs by Hideto Asamura and Zelous Wheeler.

Eagles starter Yuya Fukui repeatedly gave the Marines opportunities, walking four batters in three innings, but Lotte wasn’t taking charity. In the end the Marines bullpen crumpled, while five Rakuten relievers allowed a run on two hits and a walk over the final five innings.

Some may remember my saying that Lotte started the season in a competition with Seibu to see who would be the last NPB team to sacrifice. After seven sacrifices through their first 24 games, the Marines’ two sacrifice bunts on Sunday give them 21 through their last 23.

The Marines are also the only team to have a position player to sacrifice with a position player with one out. Manager Tadahito Iguchi has now done this with his catcher’s three times.

In other news

  • Dragons right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka began throwing batting practice for the first time since hurting his right shoulder performing “fan service” during spring training in Okinawa in February. He threw 35 pitches and got a positive evaluation from farm team pitching coach Ken Kadokura.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma returned to the bullpen at the Giants’ minor league facility for 40 pitches. It was his third session this past week.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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