NPB news: April 12, 2022

The Orix Buffaloes became the third team this season to cancel games due to COVID-19, scratching their weekday series against the Rakuten Eagles, and making it nine games this season, matching 2021’s total.

The DeNA BayStars played for the first time since last Wednesday but had to call up a raft of players to do it.

The Fighters made news Tuesday by announcing they were going to a five-man rotation, which makes a hell of a lot of sense, starting with lefty Takayuki Kato working on five-days rest.

Elsewhere, the Yomiuri Giants and Yakult Swallows ditched Tokyo this week for remote home games in Okinawa and Shikoku, leaving the Hanshin Tigers road game at Nagoya Dome against the Dragons the only Central League game in one of its main parks.

Shall we get started?

Giants 10, BayStars 4: At Naha Onoyama Stadium, Shosei Togo (2-1) allowed three runs over seven innings while striking out 10, scoring one and run driving in two for Yomiuri against the BayStars, who called up 11 players after last week’s coronavirus infections.

The Giants made it 1-0 in the first on singles by Naoki Yoshikawa and Gregory Polanco off Fernando Romero (1-2) and an error on shortstop Yamato Maeda. Togo got things started in the Giants’ second when he reached on an error charged to first baseman Neftali Soto after Adam Walker opened with a single but was doubled up.

Togo took second on a wild pitch and scored on Yoshikawa’s second single, but the BayStars tied it in the third on a Yudai Yamamoto single and a home run by leadoff man Yuki Kawahara, who avenged himself for striking out in his first big league at-bat in the first.

The Giants starter pitched out of a two-on two-out jam to keep the game tied going into the home half when the Giants broke the game open. Hayato Sakamoto singled with one out. Yoshihiro Maru’s fourth home run made it 4-2. Hiroyuki Nakajima was hit by a pitch, and Walker singled. A groundout put both in scoring position and Togo singled them home.

Polanco singled to spark the Giants’ four-run fourth when Walker’s third hit of the game brought in a run.

Romero was charged with six runs, four earned, in three innings, while Brooks Kriske struck out two in two scoreless innings in his Japan debut for the BayStars. Despite being on the losing end, Kawahara got some consolation by finishing with three more singles.

Swallows 3, Carp 1: At Matsuyama Botchan Stadium, Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri allowed a run over seven innings. Two times he issued a leadoff walk to Munetaka Murakami and a no-out Kengo Ota single, the second time, the Swallows took the lead on José Osuna’s fourth-inning sac fly.

Cy Sneed bounced back from getting bushwacked in his season debut when the Dragons scored five runs off him in three innings. This time Sneed struck out six without a walk. He worked six innings, giving up a run on a Takashi Uemoto leadoff single, a Kuri sacrifice, and a Ryosuke Kikuchi RBI single.

Taichi Ishiyama got two outs in the top of the seventh before stranding two. Setup man Noboru Shimizu (1-1) provided more drama in the ninth, surrendering back-to-back one-out singles to Ryoma Nishikawa and Kikuchi before shutting the Carp down.

Former Hiroshima closer Shota Nakazaki (1-2) allowed no-out singles to Takeshi Miyamoto and Yasutaka Shiomi. A strikeout and stolen base on a run and hit left first open with one out, and Carp manager Shinji Sasaoka promptly filled it with Tetsuto Yamada. This set up a double play but also brought the player who draws more walks than anyone in the CL, Murakami, up to the plate when a run would give away the lead.

Nakazaki lucked out when Murakami fouled off a 3-2 pitch out of the zone before missing a fastball down the middle. The right-hander ran out of luck against Ota, who fell behind before drawing a seven-pitch walk to put Yakult in front.

Hiroshima’s top draft pick, Takumi Kurohara surrendered a two-run single to rookie Swallows shortstop Hideaki Nagaoka, and Scott McGough closed it out for his third save.

Dragons 2, Tigers 1: At Nagoya Dome, Hanshin’s Yuki Nishi twice retired Dayan Viciedo with runners in scoring position, once when center fielder Koji Chikamoto robbed Viciedo of extra bases, and Teruaki Sato broke up a scoreless game in the sixth with his third home run, off Chunichi ace Yudai Ono.

Tigers reliever Atsuki Yuasa (0-1) surrendered a one-out double to Viciedo. Toshiki Abe singled him home and took second on the throw. Pinch-runner Wataru Takamatsu got to third on a bounced pitch. Takuya Kinoshita walked, and Takaya Ishikawa singled in the go-ahead run.

Daisuke Sobue (1-0) earned the win in relief and Raidel Martinez saved his fourth game.

The Tigers’ record fell to 1-13-1, although with the BayStars’ loss they are no longer the league’s only team with a record below .500.

Fighters 3, Lions 0: At Seibu Dome, Nippon Ham recorded its first road win and its first shutout. Takayuki Kato (1-1) worked 6-2/3 innings while striking out four and walking none. Taisho Tamai preserved the lead in the seventh by striking out Takumi Kurihara to end the inning.

Three one-out singles by Ryo Watanabe, Kensuke Kondo and Go Matsumoto in the first put the Fighters up 1-0 off Shunsuke Sato (1-2). Matsumoto led off the fourth with a single, stole second, and scored on a Renato Núñez single.

Rookie Koki Kitayama, Nippon Ham’s Opening Day shorts starter, struck out the side in the ninth for his first save.

Marines 3, Hawks 0: At Nagasaki Prefectural Stadium, Enny Romero ran his scoreless innings streak to 17, while Lotte followed Roki Sasaki’s perfect game on Sunday with another shutout as Romero and two relievers combined on a four-hitter.

Hawks rookie Sota Tanoue worked 5-2/3 innings in his pro debut.

The Marines broke through in the ninth against closer Yuito Mori (0-2) when Kyota Fujiwara reached on an error and scored on a sacrifice and a Brandon Laird single. With two outs, Leonys Martin was hit by a pitch and two scored on Koki Yamaguchi’s double.

Yuji Nishino (1-1) earned the win in relief, and Naoya Masuda picked up his third save.

Wednesday’s starting pitchers

Lions vs Fighters: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Wataru Matsumoto (1-1, 5.91) vs Kazuaki Tateno (1-0, 3.60)

Giants vs BayStars: Naha Onoyama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

C. C. Mercedes (2-0, 0.73) vs Katsuki Azuma (0-1, 3.60)

Swallows vs Carp: Botchan Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-0, 0.75) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-0, 0.64)

Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Akiyoshi Katsuno (0-0, 4.50) vs Masashi Ito (0-1, 3.52)

Active roster moves 4/12/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/22

Central League


SwallowsP69Ryuta Konno
TigersIF62Kai Ueda
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura
DragonsP33Daisuke Sobue
DragonsOF23Yuma Fukumoto
BayStarsP49Brooks Kriske
BayStarsP53Sota Ikeya
BayStarsC39Hiroki Minei
BayStarsIF3Kazuya Fujita
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
BayStarsIF38Shunta Tanaka
BayStarsIF99Neftali Soto
BayStarsOF00Shumei Miyamoto
BayStarsOF0Taishi Ota
BayStarsOF58Kouki Kajiwara
BayStarsOF61Tatsuo Ebina


TigersOF25Taiga Egoshi

Pacific League


MarinesP48Toshiya Nakamura
HawksP70Sota Tanoue



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