There are also a couple of notes that failed to get in yesterday’s blog about a pair of Samurai Japan players, and I’ll start with those.
Hiroya Miyagi, who didn’t see a lot of action with the national team in the WBC, entered Friday’s game to Atsushi Nomi’s walk-on theme. The former Hanshin Tigers ace, who retired last autumn, spent the final two years of his career with Orix, and was working the game for radio.
Samurai Japan’s pitchers are now 7-0 in the regular season between MLB and NPB.
Hiroshima’s Ryoji Kuribayashi, pitching in his first game since lower-back tightness knocked him off the roster before Pool B started in Tokyo, earned his first save Friday, and compared it to his 2020 rookie of the year season.
“The adrenaline was pumping like it hadn’t since I was a rookie,” Kuribayashi said after ending the game by striking out former teammate Hisayoshi Chono with the tying runs on base.
Carp 6, Giants 3: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Matt Davidson hit a solo homer, his third, off Giants starter Foster Griffin (1-1) in the first inning, and Ryan McBroom doubled in a run in Hiroshima’s three-run fourth. Shogo Akiyama tripled in a pair of runs to make it 6-0 in the fifth and chase Griffin. Davidson has now had an RBI in five straight games.
Carp starter Hiroki Tokoda (1-0), who pitched six scoreless innings against Yakult in his season debut, kept the Giants off the board until Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto snapped his 0-for-20 start to the season with a leadoff homer in the seventh. Tokoda allowed three runs on nine hits but no walks over 8-1/3 innings. Kuribayashi, presumably calmer than he was Friday, struck out the side in the ninth on 12 pitches for his second save as Yomiuri dropped its fourth straight.
Tigers 1, Swallows 0: At Koshien Stadium, former Tiger Yuya Onaka (0-1) allowed a first-inning run in his first career start as Yakult went with a bullpen game. Southpaw Kotaro Otake (1-0), acquired from SoftBank in Japan’s first active player draft in December, struck out three while allowing three hits over six innings.
Samurai Japan infielder Takumu Nakano doubled with one out, went to third on a Sheldon Neuse single and scored the game’s only run on Yusuke Oyama’s sac fly. Neuse, who made a tricky run-saving catch in a driving rain the night before, showed off his good hands in the second, when he robbed Jose Osuna of a leadoff double.
BayStars 3, Dragons 1: At Yokohama Stadium, Robert Gsellman surrendered the first run on 20-year-old shortstop Ryuku Tsuchida’s first career homer in the fifth, but tied it in the home half with an RBI double, Gsellman’s first hit since coming to Japan last season.
Toshiro Miyazaki broke the tie in the sixth with a leadoff homer, his third, off Hideaki Wakui (0-2) and doubled and scored in the eighth. Edwin Escobar, who was trolled by an abusive racist Instagram post last Sunday, preserved Gsellman’s lead in the seventh by recording the final two outs, before Hiromu Ise and Yasuaki Yamasaki closed it out.
Lions 3, Hawks 0: At Sun Marine Stadium, Seibu’s bullpen held on to Kona Takahashi’s ninth-inning lead this time around, and the Lions ace struck out 11 over eight innings and lowered his ERA to 0.56 as he outdueled Tomohisa Ozeki (1-1) who allowed one run over 8-1/3 innings to take the loss. Aito Takeda opened the game with his second home run, and the game remained tight until the ninth.
The Hawks managed three hits, including an eighth-inning leadoff double off Takahashi, who erased the lead runner with a good play on the ensuing sacrifice attempt. Seibu scored a pair of ninth-inning unearned runs before Tatsushi Masuda worked the ninth for his second save.
Fighters 6, Buffaloes 2: At Osaka Dome, Chusei Mannami doubled in the tying run and scored on Daigo Kamikawabata’s two-run single as Nippon Ham came from a run down in the fourth against Ryota Muranishi (0-1). Naoyuki Uwasawa (1-0) allowed two runs over five innings to earn the win as Nippon Ham snapped a five-game losing streak.
Marines 5, Eagles 4: At Chiba Marine stadium, Maikel Franco brought Rakuten from behind in the eighth with a three-run homer off Hirokazu Sawamura, in his third game back with the Marines after two seasons in the States.
The Marines also got this nifty sixth-inning play from rookie shortstop Atsuki Tomosugi, their second draft pick last autumn.