Roki Sasaki pitched and won a different kind of game than the one’s we’re used to seeing from him, while Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitched like an old-school ace and Yuki Yanagita had a big game for the Hawks in what looks like it might be an exciting weekend in the Pacific League.
A few days after looking dead and buried, again, the Hanshin Tigers got a big start when they needed it, while the DeNA BayStars look unstoppable and the Yakult Swallows vulnerable.
Let’s get to the games shall we?
BayStars 8, Carp 3: At Yokohama Stadium, Hiroki Minei’s three-run fourth-inning double overturned a 2-1 deficit before DeNA showed their offensive genes in a win that pulled them within five games of the first-place Swallows.
DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki left with two on and one out in the sixth, and Yoshitaka Isomura singled in a run off Shingo Hirata. Toshihiro Miyazaki restored the BayStars’ two-run lead in the home half with a homer off Daisuke Moriura.
Neftali Soto, who failed to homer Thursday after belting tie-breaking homers on Tuesday and Wednesday, put the game on ice in the eighth with a three-run home run, his 13th.
The BayStars’ win was their 15th straight at home.
Tigers 4, Giants 0: At Tokyo Dome, Yuki “Senior” Nishi (9-7) struck out seven while allowing three hits and three walks as Hanshin won their second straight following an eight-game losing streak.
Giants rookie Iori Yamasaki (4-4) kept Hanshin off the board until the seventh, when Mel Rojas Jr. doubled off him and scored when Teruaki Sato singled off lefty reliever Nobutaka Imamura. Ian Krol surrendered three runs in the eighth, two on a Sato triple.
Dragons 4, Swallows 3: At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi catcher Takumi Kinoshita tied the game 3-3 in the sixth, singling in two runs off Yasuhiro Ogawa after two one-out walks loaded the bases with one out. He then tripled to open the ninth off setup man Noboru Shimizu (5-3) with the winning run coming in on rookie Ryuku Tsuchida’s single.
Poor control cost lefty Yudai Ono in the second, when hefielded a comebacker only for his throw to third on a rundown to end up rolling toward the left-field stands for a two-run error. With two outs, the Dragons swallowed hard by pulling the outfield in against Yasuhiro Ogawa, whose fly to the gap in left might have been the third out instead of an RBI double.
Yuki Okabayashi singled in a runner who reached on an error in the third to make it 3-1.
Raidel Martinez (3-3) got the win for the Dragons.
Buffaloes 4, Lions 3: At Seibu Dome, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (11-5) allowed three runs on nine hits, while striking out eight over the distance, and Kenya Wakatsuki’s second homer of the game broke 3-3 seventh-inning tie off reliever Keisuke Honda (3-2)
Hotaka Yamakawa singled in a run in the first, and Seibu led until Tatsuya Imai allowed two runs in a one-hit four-walk fourth inning. Wakatsuki made it 3-1 in the fifth, but the Lions tied it in the sixth when Yamakawa singled in his second run of the game.
The win moved the defending PL champs into third, a half-game ahead of Rakuten and 2-1/2 back of the Lions.
Hawks 7, Fighters 2: At Fukuoka Dome, Yugo Bando (1-0) struck out six over 5-2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed one hit and hit one, while Yuki Yanagita had four hits, singled in two third-inning runs off Cody Ponce (), doubled and scored in SoftBank’s two-run sixth and singled and scored in the three-run eighth. Alfredo Despaigne drove in two runs with a sac fly and an eighth-inning single.
Marines 6, Eagles 5: At Miyagi Stadium, Sasaki (7-3) won his first game in nearly two months despite allowing three home runs and five runs over six innings. His fastball command was excellent but he couldn’t get strikes called on the corner, and when he threw straight ones in the zone and hanging forkballs, the Eagles were ready.
Hideaki Shimauchi drilled a two-out RBI double in the first after Hideto Asamura walked. Hisanori Yasuda tied it in the second with his third home run, and Lotte took the lead in the third on a two-out delayed double steal with Takashi Ogino coming home.
Eigoro Mogi belted a two-run fourth-inning homer for Rakuten, and Asamura made it 4-2 in the fifth when he became the 67th player with 250 home runs in Japan, lining a straight fastball on the outside corner out to right for an opposite-field homer. Sasaki then repeated his mistake with another straight one, only for Hiroaki Shimauchi to hit it to the deepest part of the park for a long out.
Daichi Suzuki completed the scoring by taking the kid deep in the sixth.
Saturday’s starting pitchers
Eagles vs Marines: Miyagi Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Lions vs Buffaloes: Seibu Dome 5 pm, 4 am EDT
Hawks vs Fighters: Fukuoka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Dragons vs Swallows: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Active roster moves 8/19/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/29