NPB News: April 24, 2022

Sasaki Sunday was no holiday in Osaka, although Lotte scored some runs behind him for a change, while there was one big comeback and a late nail-biter on a fun day of baseball in Japan. So let’s get to it.

By the way, you should be able to catch me talking about Sasaki on CNN World Sport, taping live at noon EDT in the U.S. on Sunday.

Marines 6, Buffaloes 3: At Osaka Dome, Sasaki (3-0) lost his perfect retired-batters streak at 52 on the first pitch as he brought his heat to Osaka Dome, but not his control. He allowed two runs over five innings, struck out four batters, walked three and hit two while allowing six hits.

Akito Takabe, one of my other favorite young Marines, threw out a runner at the plate in the first and singled in two runs in Lotte’s three-run second off Soichiro Yamazaki (0-2), who also had to do without his best command.

Some strange drama occurred in the bottom of the second, when slugger Yutaro Sugimoto stole second with one out. Instead of watching the runner’s progress, Sasaki never turned from home plate, his jaw dropped in disbelief until plate umpire Kazuyuki Shirai strode to the mound and 18-year-old catcher Ko Matsukawa got between them. The ump had some words with Lotte manager Tadahito Iguchi as well before play resumed.

Orix snapped Sasaki’s scoreless inning streak at 22 in the fifth, when the right-hander misplaced his command, and was not entirely present on the mound. After a single and two walks, he fielded a comebacker to start a double play, but opted to throw to second base the way he was facing instead of turning and firing home.

The run it cost him became moot an instance later when Masataka Yoshida got some payback for his three strikeouts in the April 10 perfecto with an RBI double to make it a one-run game.

The Buffaloes loaded the bases again in the seventh and ninth but got only one run for their troubles, while Takabe and captain Shogo Nakamura combined to drive in three more runs in the top of the ninth.

While umpire Shirai refused to comment on his interaction with Sasaki, Iguchi was not eager to put it behind him.

“We can’t say anything about calls, but I think the umpires have to show a little more poise, ” Iguchi said.

Hawks 11, Fighter 4: At Sapporo Dome, Isami Nomura belted a pair of homers for SoftBank as he and Kenta Imamiya each drove in three, and Nao Higashihama (2-1) allowed a run over seven innings. Arismendy Alcántara went 4-for-4 for Nippon Ham with a pair of solo homers, his fourth and fifth, while Renato Núñez also went 2-for-4 in the losing effort.

Lions 6, Eagles 3: At Seibu Dome, Sena Tsuge capped a four-run second inning with a two-run home run, his first, and Wu Nien-ting reached base four times, doubled twice, drove in three runs and scored one for Seibu.

Dietrich Enns left after walking two in the fifth inning, but allowed just two runs, a double play served up by Katsunori Hirai (2-1) allowing the Lions to hold onto their 4-2 lead.

Dragons 7, Giants 6: At Nagoya Dome, rookie Takaya Ishikawa drove in four runs as Chunichi overturned a five-run deficit against rookie Yuji Akahoshi, who pitched out of first- and second-inning jams but allowed six runs in 2-1/3 innings.

Trailing 6-1 thanks after the Giants’ Adam Walker belted his third home run, a two-run shot in the third, Ariel Martinez doubled to open Chunichi’s five-run third. A one-out walk and Takuya Kinoshita single loaded them for Ishikawa to clear them with a triple. A Yota Kyoda triple and a Yuki Okabayashi infield single tied it. Dayan Viciedo walked and scored the go-ahed run in the fourth on an Ishikawa sac fly.

Yariel Rodriguez struck out two in a perfect eighth for the Dragons and closer Raidel Martinez did the same in the ninth for his sixth save.

Carp 5, BayStars 4, 10 innings: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, the Carp twice came back, overcoming a two-run deficit to tie it 3-3 in the sixth on a Shogo Sakakura RBI single and a Kosuke Tanaka sac fly.

DeNA loaded the bases but failed to score in the ninth against closer Ryoji Kuribayashi, but Shugo Maki put DeNA up by one in the 10th with his fourth home run, off Atsuya Horie (2-0). Kazuki Mishima (1-1) walked two to open the ninth. A Sakakura single tied it, and a long Kaito Kozono sac fly ended it.

Taishi Ota opened the scoring in the third for DeNA with a two-run homer, his second, and Ryoma Nishikawa trimmed the visitors’ lead to a run in the fourth with his second home run.

Tigers 11, Swallows 3: At Jingu Stadium, Joe Gunkel (1-2) allowed two runs over five innings, and Hanshin hammered Yuto Kanakubo (1-1) for six runs over 2-1/3 innings. Teruaki Sato and Takumu Nakano each hit a two-run home run in the first—Sato his sixth and Nakano his first–and Ryuhei Obata added his first career homer, a two-run shot in the seventh.

Active roster moves 4/24/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/4

Central League


GiantsC27Yukinori Kishida
CarpP65Shogo Tamamura


SwallowsP19Masanori Ishikawa
GiantsP62Kai Yokogawa
CarpP39Yasunori Kikuchi

Pacific League


MarinesP47Yasuhiro Tanaka


MarinesOF7Shuhei Fukuda
HawksP70Sota Tanoue

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