NPB games of May 28, 2019

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched in a live game for the first time this season, while two Central League games were rained out on Tuesday and the Pacific League has a new leader.

Central League

Carp 8, Swallows 7

At Jingu Stadium, Yakult fought back from a six-run deficit to make it a one-run game, but left five runners on base over the last two innings and fell to its 12th straight loss. The Swallows loaded the bases in the ninth on two walks and a hit batsman, but could not touch Hiroshima closer Shota Nakazaki’s slider as he recorded his seventh save.

Carp catcher Tsubasa Aizawa tied the game 1-1 with a fly to center that was blown out for a home run and provided a crucial insurance run in the eighth with his second of the game and his sixth of the season.

Pacific League

Fighters 4, Marines 3

At Sapporo Dome, second-year slugger Kotaro Kiyomiya doubled in two runs in the fourth inning and then scored the tying run as Nippon Ham came from three runs down to beat Lotte. Four relievers kept the Marines scoreless with former Japan reliever Ryo Akiyoshi pitching out of a two-out jam to record his ninth save.

Eagles 7, Lions 2

At Morioka, Jabari Blash overturned a 2-0 deficit with a three-run, sixth-inning home run off Seibu’s Tatsuya Imai (4-5) and added a two-run shot in the seventh, giving him 15 homers on the season. The Eagles’ win lifted them into first place after the Hawks lost in Osaka.

Locked in a scoreless duel, two of Rakuten starter Takahiro Shiomi’s mistakes cleared the fence, a fat fastball in the sixth to Shogo Akiyama (10) and a hanging curve to NPB home run leader Hotaka Yamaka (21), in the seventh. Shiomi, who made his first start of the season last week in his comeback from back surgery improved to 2-0.

Imai did not allow a hit through five, but former Lion captain Hideto Asamura opened the Eagles’ seventh with a single, Zelous Wheeler followed with a double, and Blash bashed a high straight 2-1 fastball. The Eagles followed by loading the bases and with two outs, Hiroaki Shimauchi stole home on a pickoff throw to second, and another run scored when the throw home sailed over the catcher.

Buffaloes 3, Hawks 1

At Kyocera Dome, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-2) struck out nine over seven scoreless innings, while career minor leaguer Akira Niho (0-1) allowed a run over four innings in his first start in seven years as the Hawks lost their third straight.

Yamamoto has made three starts against SoftBank this season and has struck out 27 batters in 24 scoreless innings but this was his first win against the Hawks. Hirotoshi Masui allowed a run in the ninth but recorded his NPB-best 15th save.

In other news

  • Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched in a Western League game at the SoftBank Hawks, the team he played for from 2015 to 2017 after leaving the majors. He threw two innings at Chikugo’s Tamahome Stadium, and said it felt like coming home: “Compared to Fukuoka Dome, I spent almost all my time with the Hawks here, so it was a homecoming.” He struck out three and is on track for a return to first-team duty in a week.

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