NPB news: April 24, 2024

It was tough-luck Wednesday for Anderson Espinoza in Osaka, “let’s throw away a lead in the name of history” Wednesday in Yokohama, and Dragons’ drought-ending Wednesday at Tokyo Dome.

In other news, Giants lefty Foster Griffin rejoined the team for the first time since he was deactivated following an oblique muscle injury suffered on April 6 against the DeNA BayStars.

In South Korea, SSG Landers slugger Choi Jeong set KBO’s career home run record Wednesday with his 468th, eight days after he pulled into a tie with former Lotte Marines, Yomiuri Giants and Orix Buffaloes slugger Lee Seung Yuop.

According to Yeohap’s Yoo Jee Ho, Lee set his record in 1,906 career games, while Choi needed 2,183 to match him. Lee hit 159 homers in Japan over 797 games.

Wednesday’s games

Buffaloes 4, Lions 3: At Osaka UFO Dome, Seibu scored three ninth-inning runs off Yoshihisa Hirano, costing Anderson Espinoza his fourth win, but Kenya Wakatsuki‘s ninth-inning leadoff single set the table for Kotaro Kurebayashi‘s walk-off single.

Marwin Gonzalez homered off a low 1-2 fastball from rookie Natsuki Takeuchi to open the scoring in the third. Leandro Cedeno doubled and scored on a Tomoya Mori single. It was the second hit for each. Mori scored from second on a Yuma Mune single.

Takeya Nakamura homered to open the ninth against Orix closer Yoshihisa Hirano, Ryusei Sato tripled high off the wall and scored when Shota Hiranuma doubled. The runner was sacrificed to third, Jesus Aguilar struck out, ShuJta Tonosaki walked and Yuji Kaneko got a happy 34th-birthday single off the end of the bat to tie it.

New import Andres Machado (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 10th to earn the win. Espinoza struck out seven over seven scoreless innings and lowered his ERA to 0.33. The Lions lost their fourth straight, while Orix extended its unbeaten streak to four games, three wins and one tie.

Eagles Fighters: At Miyagi Stadium, rained out.

Tigers 5, BayStars 3: At Yokohama Stadium, given a chance to let starting pitcher Masashi Ito go for a no-hitter or switch to the bullpen after the lefty had been sitting out a rain delay for 40 minutes, Tigers manager Akinobu Okada went for history. Ito, who had allowed just two walks through five innings on 55 pitches when play was stopped, stranded a runner in the sixth, and coughed up three runs, two earned, in the seventh.

The Tigers got the leadoff runner on in each of the first five innings twice on singles by Sheldon Neuse, and in the fifth on a single by Ito off Haruhiro Hamaguchi, who walked Neuse with two outs and the bases loaded to open the scoring.

DeNA’s Keita Sano broke up the no-hit bid with a seventh-inning leadoff single, Toshiro Miyazaki singled. Yudai Yamamoto’s two-out single put the BayStars in front and scored from first on a single that got past Shota Morishita in right.

Submarine right-hander Hayate Nakagawa worked two scoreless innings in relief of Hamaguchi, and Kohei Morihara struck out the side in the eighth so DeNA could give the ball to Yasuaki Yamasaki, but it was not a good night for veteran Japanese closers.

Kento Itohara, Koji Chikamoto and Takumu Nakano loaded the bases with no outs, and Yamasaki hit Morishita with a pitch. Soma Tokuyama surrendered a game-tying single to Yusuke Oyama, and Issued Neuse’s second RBI walk of the night before Seiya Kinami‘s two-out single gave the Tigers a two-run lead.

Javy Guerra worked the ninth for his fourth save as the Tigers extended their unbeaten streak to nine games, seven wins and two ties.

Dragons 3, Giants 2: At Tokyo Ugly Dome, Chunichi snapped a five-game losing streak, and ended a 13-game homerless drought that was its longest in 68 years with a win over Yomiuri.

Orlando Calixte ended Chunichi’s home run drought with a two-run first-inning shot off Yuji Akahoshi (0-2). Yomiuri rookie Masaya Hagio tripled in Kazuya Okamoto and scored the tying run on Yukinori Kishida‘s sacrifice fly off Hideaki Wakui (2-0).

Takuya Kinoshita doubled to open the Dragons’ seventh to set up the go-ahead run, which scored when a pickoff throw from catcher Kishi hit the runner at third. Three relievers then combined to allow one walk over three innings with Raidel Martinez claiming his eighth save.

Hawks 10, Marines 1, 7 innings, merciful rain: At Chiba Marine Stadium, SoftBank blew this open with eight runs off a former Hawk.

SoftBank loaded the bases in the third on a Yuto Kawamura leadoff singled and two walks. Hotaka Yamakawa‘s sacrifice fly broke the ice off Shuto Takano (0-1), and Kenta Imamiya scored on a ground out. SoftBank scored four unearned runs off former Hawk Akira Niho in the fourth, with Yamakawa singling in two, before coming back for four more in the fifth.

The Hawks’ Tomohisa Ozeki (2-0) allowed a run over five innings to earn the win.

Carp Swallows: At Jingu “Tokyo’s Sacrifice to Corporate Greed and Governmental Malfeasance” Stadium, rained out.

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