How is it that one can hardly get through a season anymore without hearing about another Orix rookie with unhittable stuff? Well, we have another. On Tuesday, Buffaloes rookie Shumpeita Yamashita, Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri and Yomiuri’s Shosei Togo were all masterful, while Luis Okoye continues to make the most of his second chance, Marwin Gonzalez was marvelous for the Buffaloes.
And as if things couldn’t get worse in Nagoya, the Dragons who have been shut out five times this season and nearly were again on Tuesday, skipper Kazuyoshi Tatsunami explained after the game that ace lefty Yudai Ono, his scheduled starter for Tuesday, would undergo elbow cleaning surgery to remove detached cartilage and would not return until at least August.
Carp 4, Dragons 1: At Nagoya Dome, Allen Kuri (1-0) struck out seven over eight scoreless innings while issuing a walk and giving up four hits. Shogo Akiyama had three hits and led off Hiroshima’s two-run fourth, scoring on a double by Ryan McBroom, who scored on a Ryoma Nishikawa single off emergency starter Yuya Yanagi (0-2).
Carp reliever Nik Turley allowed a single and a walk in the ninth, causing closer Ryoji Kuribayashi to be summoned from the bullpen. Kuribayashi allowed a single and an inherited runner to score on a double play before locking down his fourth save.
Giants 7, Tigers 1: At Tokyo Dome, Shosei Togo (2-0) struck out five without a walk while allowing three singles over seven innings and would have gone eight had he not been pulled for a pinch-hitter.
Luis Okoye led off the Giants’ first with a single off Yuki Nishi (0-1), and scored on a Takayuki Kajitani single. I swear if you’d predicted last year that would happen in a Giants game in 2023, I hope you bought a lottery ticket. Okoye had three hits, including a two-run seventh-inning single.
Sho Nakata made up for getting thrown out on the bases on a superb relay throw from second baseman Takumu Nakano by hitting a two-run homer, his fourth, in the eighth inning, before Takumi Oshiro hit another with a man on for his first of the year.
Buffaloes 6, Eagles 0: At Miyagi Stadium, new import Marwin Gonzalez started at short for Orix, made it 2-0 in the third with his second homer and added a solo shot in the sixth. He singled and scored in Orix’s three-run eighth, when Yutaro Sugimoto hit a two-run jack, his third.
Shunpeita Yamashita (1-0), Orix’s top signing from the 2020 draft, struck out 10 over five innings and now has 17 career Ks in 10-1/3 major league innings after being the Buffaloes’ surprise Opening Day starter.
In the fourth inning, Maikel Franco had one of the two hits off Yamashita after taking a big curve for Strike 1, missing badly at the same pitch for Strike 2, and lining that same pitch again for a single.
Gonzalez also made a nice pick at short to complete a singularly sweet evening in Sendai.
Swallows 6, BayStars 3: At Jingu Stadium, Munetaka Murakami hammered a first-inning two-run home run, his second, after Tetsuto Yamada doubled with two outs against lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-2). Osuna followed with another double and scored on a Yuhei Nakamura single.
Swallows starter Cy Sneed (2-0) allowed two runs in 5-2/3 innings and singled and scored in the second. Yamada singled to open Yakult’s two-run fifth.
Hawks 4, Fighters 3, 10 innings: At Fukuoka Dome, the top of SoftBank’s order, Ukyo Shuto and free agent acquisition Kensuke Kondo spent much of the game on base and each scored twice, as Ryoya Kurihara drove in three with a an RBI single, a fifth-inning tie-breaking RBI double and a 10th-inning sac fly.
Chusei Mannami homered for the second straight game for Nippon Ham, tying it 2-2 in the fourth with his second home run.
Kotaro Kiyomiya tied it in the eighth as the Fighters came back against Livan Moinelo in his season debut, but Bryan Rodriguez (0-1) surrendered a leadoff single in the 10th to Shuto and walked Kondo before Yuki Yanagita loaded the bases with a single and Kurihara finished it.
Lions 8, Marines 3: At Seibu Dome, Kaima Taira bounced back from Shogo Nakamura‘s two-run first-inning homer, to retire 16 of the last 19 batters he faced and left after six innings with a 5-2 lead. Rookie Ryosuke Kodama tripled in the Lions’ first run in the fourth. David McKinnon’s fifth-inning RBI double tied it and set him up to score the go-ahead run.
Mark Payton helped pad the Lions’ lead in the sixth, singling with one out to spark another two-run inning, and belting a three-run seventh-inning homer, his second.