The kids, or at least Japan’s two biggest young stars, were alright Friday, when the Yakult Swallows and DeNA BayStars began their battle for Central League supremacy, while the third-place Orix Buffaloes and second-place Seibu Lions slugged began slugging it out.
Shall we get to it?
Marines 2, Eagles 0: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Roki Sasaki (8-3) struck out eight over seven innings while walking two a week after the Eagles lit him up in Sendai. Takashi Ogino homered off Takayuki Kishi (7-8) homered in the third, and Hisanori Yasuda doubled in Seiya Inoue with an eighth-inning insurance run on his fourth hit, off Tomohiro Anraku. An unrepentant domestic abuser earned the save for Lotte.
Asked what was better over his previous start, Sasaki said, “My control was better than last time and the forkballs they hit went where the guys could catch them.”
Lions 3, Buffaloes 2, 10 innings: At Osaka Dome, Seibu’s Tatsuya Imai (4-1) outlasted Yoshinobu Yamamoto by throwing 144 pitches over nine innings in which he struck out 10. Yamamoto struck out nine over seven innings, but allowed Seibu to tie it in the seventh on Hotaka Yamakawa’s 36th home run.
Hawks 10, Fighters 0: At Sapporo Dome, SoftBank roughed up Hiromi Ito (9-9), who allowed six runs, five earned, over five innings, while Nao Higashihama (8-6) scattered five hits and two walks over seven innings, and two relievers completed the five-hitter as the Hawks remained a half-game lead over the Lions.
Swallows 6, BayStars 3: At Yokohama Stadium, Munetaka Murakami broke up a scoreless game with a three-run sixth-inning homer, his 46th of the season and 150th of his career, off Shinichi Onuki (10-5). Jose Osuna hit a two-run shot to make it 5-0.
Murakami blasted his 47th in the seventh to complete the scoring and three Swallows relievers retired nine straight hitters with Scott McGough earning his 31st saves.
Asked about his first home run on a 3-2 count with two on and no outs, Murakami reverted to postgame smallball chat:
“My goal there was to build the rally and set the table for the guys coming up behind me. At the very least, I wanted to move the runners up.”–Munetaka Murakami
Dragons 5, Tigers 2: At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi tagged Yuki Nishi (9-8) for one run in each of the first four innings, while only managing to load the bases with two outs in the second against Yudai Ono (6-7) in the second, when Nishi lined out to end the threat.
Dragons leadoff hitter Yuki Okabayashi doubled and scored in the first, singled in a run in the second, singled and scored in the fourth, had four hits, stole two bags and also had a sacrifice.
Giants 4, Carp 3: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Zelous Wheeler singled in the tie-breaking run in the seventh, and Taisei Ota became the fourth rookie with 30 saves, with all three of his predecessors, Tsuyoshi Yoda, Yasuaki Yamasaki, Ryoji Kuribayashi, winning the Rookie of the Year Award.
Saturday’s starting pitchers
Fighters vs Hawks: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Marines vs Eagles: Chiba Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Lions: Osaka Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Carp vs Giants: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 8/26/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/5