NPB news: April 23, 2023

Sunday brought us another round of what sounds like a baseball version of dueling banjos between rookie pitchers Shoki Murakami of the Tigers and Orix’s Shumpeita Yamashita.

Sunday’s games

Buffaloes 4, Lions 1: At Osaka Dome, Yamashita (2-0) whose previous start came on April 11, the day before Murakami’s seven perfect innings at Tokyo Dome, this time followed a Murakami gem with one of his own.

Shumpeita Yamashita.

Orix’s top draft signing from 2020 struck out eight over seven scoreless innings, and has now allowed one run in 17-1/3 innings this season. Compared to Murakami, Yamashita’s been fairly pedestrian, allowing nine hits and six walks this season while striking out 25. Murakami has not yet walked a hitter and retired 37 consecutive batters at one stretch.

The Lions nearly broke the game open in the fourth, but center fielder Keita Nakagawa robbed Ryusei Sato of a two-run, two-out double in the gap to end the inning.

Marwin Gonazalez put the Buffaloes on the board with his fourth home run, a two-run sixth-inning shot off Dietrich Enns (1-3). Orix loaded the bases on two singles and an error before Enns walked his former batterymate, Tomoya Mori, to force in a run, and exit stage right.

Marwin Gonzalez‘s fourth home run

Chang Yi, who turned pro with Orix, got a nice hand when he came on in relief for the Lions and worked a 1-2-3 inning. The Lions claimed Chang over the winter as part of their compensation package for the Buffaloes’ signing Mori as a free agent.

Dragons 2, Tigers 1: At Nagoya Dome, Koji Fukutani (1-1) allowed a run over 6-1/3 innings singled twice, and scored the tying run on second-chance player Seiya Hosokawa’s two-run fifth-inning double. Fukutani trailed after the first pitch, that Koji Chikamoto hit for his first home run of the season. Raidel Martinez saved his sixth game of the season.

Dragons-Tigers highlights

Marines 6, Hawks 2: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Atsuki Taneichi (2-2) struck out seven over five scoreless innings. Yudai Fujioka’s second double of the game set him up to score on Koki Yamaguchi’s third-inning sacrifice fly. Toshiya Sato put this one on ice with when his first home run, with two on, made it 6-0 in the seventh inning as the Marines, who were swept in their first series of the season in Fukuoka, returned the favor in Chiba.

Before the game, Hawks and Japan utility player Ukyo Shuto joined in singing the Marines cheer song in Chiba…

Giants 7, Swallows 3: At Jingu Stadium, Kazuma Okamoto, Takumi Oshiro and Lewis Brinson each homered for the Giants, who took two out of three from the Swallows. Oshiro’s third homer, with a man on, made it 4-0 in the fourth. In the bottom of the inning, Domingo Santana cut that lead to two with his first home run, but Brinson’s two-run homer, his second, put the game away in the fifth. Kojiro Yoshimura (0-1), Yakult’s top draft signing last autumn gave up six runs over five innings.

Swallows-Giants highlights

BayStars 4, Carp 3: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Ryan McBroom tied it 2-2 by opening the seventh inning with his first homer of the season, off Edwin Escobar, who then surrendered the go-ahead run before the visitors came back against Hiroshima’s bullpen.

Keita Sano’s second homer tied it leading off the eighth against Nik Turley, and Taiki Sekine singled with one out off Ryoji Kuribayashi (0-3) in the ninth and scored the decisive run on Taishi Kusamoto’s two-out pinch-hit single.

Carp-BayStars highlights

Eagles 4, Fighters 3, 11 innings: At Miyagi Stadium, Takayuki Kishi left with a 3-2 lead after five innings in pursuit of his 150th career victory. Arismendy Alcantara quashed that with a seventh by tying the game with a seventh-inning RBI single. Daichi Suzuki led off the Eagles 11th with a pinch-hit single, and pinch-runner Kazuki Tanaka scored on Ryosuke Tatsumi’s sayonara double.

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