NPB news: April 9, 2023

Matt Davidson and Ryan McBroom helped propel Hiroshima to its fourth straight win, while Orix’s Jacob Nix had a debut to forget, and Yakult and Hanshin showed the world how to pitch for the third straight day at Koshien Stadium.

Sunday’s games

Carp 4, Giants 2: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Luis Okoye hit the game’s first pitch to put Yomiuri in front after losing four straight, but three one-out singles tied it in the third against Yuji Akahoshi (0-1) who lasted four innings, and Ryan McBroom’s sac fly on his 31st put the Carp in the lead for good. Matt Davidson led off the fourth with his fourth homer and Kosuke Tanaka homered to make it 4-1.

Carp-Giants highlights

Shogo Tamura (1-0) struck out five without a walk over 6-2/3 innings for the win, and for the first time in three seasons, Ryoji Kuribayashi earned a save despite surrendering a home run, Sho Nakata’s third. His third save in three games sent Yomiuri to its fifth straight loss.

“Things are not going our way,” said Giants manager Tatsunori Hara after juggling his lineup to put Okoye in the leadoff spot for the first time in five games. “I should probably work on the batting order a little more.”   

Luis Okoye leadoff home run.

Tigers 1, Swallows 1, 12 innings: At Koshien Stadium, the Tigers and Swallows produced their third straight pitching clinic. Yakult’s top draft pick, Kojiro Yoshimura, allowed a run over five innings. He only struck out three, but his first two got him out of a first-inning bases-loaded jam that set the tone for this one.

Hiroto Saiki, who has quietly become a far better pitcher than he was before elbow-cleaning surgery in 2020 caused him to miss all of the 2021 season, struck out a career high 11 while allowing one run over seven innings.

The Swallows tied it against Saiki on Shingo Kawabata’s seventh-inning RBI pinch-hit double, and just missed getting the go-ahead run in the 11th. Aleadoff walk, a stolen base and a wild pitch put a runner on third with no outs. With one out, Munetaka Murakami hit a ball into the left field corner that missed a home run by a few feet before he struck out swinging on a Kyle Keller fastball he missed by five inches.

The Swallows used nine pitchers in a game for the third time in franchise history and the first time in 22 years, and the first time manager Shingo Takatsu did not pitch in one of those games. Yakult’s bullpen has yet to allow a run in 35-1/3 innings.

Tigers-Swallows digest

BayStars 8, Dragons 0: At Yokohama Stadium, Kenta Ishida (1-1) pitched out of a first-inning pinch to go six innings after receiving a six-run first-inning lead against Chunichi’s Koji Fukutani (0-1). Keita Sano singled and scored the first run on a Toshiro Miyazaki double. Neftali Soto doubled in two and Yasutaka Tobashira capped the rally with his a two-run home run, his first.

Sano also hit his first home run as the BayStars completed a two-game sweep of their rain-shortened series. New import J.B. Wendelken, who suffered from acute lower back pain in March, made his belated Japan debut in the ninth inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Hawks 3, Lions 1: At Sun Marine Stadium, Koya Fujii (2-0) struck out eight over 5-2/3 scoreless innings, while Dietrich Enns (0-2) coughed up three fourth-inning runs. Back-to-back singles by Kensuke Kondo and Yuki Yanagita and a one-out hit batsman set up Kenta Imamiya’s sac fly. Enns issued three straight walks to the bottom of the order before exiting stage left.

Koya Fuji.

Rookie Lions shortstop Ryosuke Kodama, playing in place of captain and WBC Japan international Sosuke (broken finger), had three of the team’s five hits, while Seibu suffered another injury hit with Japan slugger Hotaka Yamakawa held back as a precaution as he deals with tightness in his calves.

On the Hawks’ side, Takuya Kai threw a runner out stealing on a pitch that bounced in the dirt.

Fighters 7, Buffaloes 2: At Osaka Dome, Jacob Nix (0-1) gave up four runs on four walks and four hits, including two home runs in his two-inning Japan debut. Kotaro Kiyomiya opened the scoring with a three-run first-inning homer, his first, and Yuki James Nomura followed with his second. Chusei Mannami led off the third with his first homer, and two-way player Kota Yazawa, leading off and playing right, singled in two more in the inning to complete the scoring.

Kotaro Kiyomiya greets new Orix import Jacob Nix.

Right-hander Shoma Kanemura (1-0), the Fighters second draft pick last autumn after Yazawa, produced his second straight quality start, allowing two runs in 6-1/3 innings after allowing one over six in his April 2 debut against Rakuten. He allowed nine hits but struck out six and walked one.

Chusei Mannami’s home run

Marines 10, Eagles 1: At Chiba Marine stadium, veteran right-hander Takayuki Kishi (0-1) started his 2023 season with one he’d prefer to forget, as Lotte jumped on the 38-year-old for six runs over two innings. Marines right-hander Atsuki Taneichi (1-1) allowed a hit and three walks over six innings while striking out seven to lower his ERA to 0.90.

With two outs in the first and the bags juiced, Hisanori Yasuda doubled on Kishi’s first pitch to put Lotte in front. He capped Lotte’s four-run second with a two-out RBI single and kicked in his first home run leading off the seventh against Tomohiro Anraku as Lotte won its fifth straight.

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