NPB news: Aug. 27, 2023

We had a five-hour “soroku sen” in Hiroshima Sunday and in Osaka the Orix Buffaloes left an impression on their nearest pursuers in the Pacific League pennant race.

Sunday’s games

Swallows 7, Carp 7, 12 innings: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, the Hiroshima Carp used every active player on their roster — something known as a “total strength game” or “soroku sen.”

Otherwise, the game was marked by home runs and outs on the bases. Shota Suekane capped a six-run Hiroshima first inning with a grand slam. Domingo Santana‘s three-run fourth-inning homer put the Swallows up 7-6, when things started getting weird.

Suekane, Hiroshima’s right fielder, easily threw out a runner trying to score from second on a two-out single. Norichika Aoki was thrown out by a mile at home plate trying to score from first on a one-out Munetaka Murakami double to center in the sixth.

The Carp tied it on an error and a fluke two-out broken bat single in the eighth. In the 10th, Yakult’s Kazuya Maruyama was tagged out easily at home trying to score from second on a wild pitch that bounced as far as the visitors’ dugout, and the game ended when a Carp runner was tagged out at third when he overran the bag by about 15 feet.

Buffaloes 5, Marines 2: At Osaka UFO Dome, five Orix pitchers held Lotte to five hits, two walks and two hit batsmen, including a solo homer from Gregory Polanco, who hit his fifth solo homer of the week, while Orix had three hits with runners in scoring position and was the beneficiary of a two-run error.

The loss left second-place Lotte trailing the two-time defending champs by 10-1/2 games.

“I thought it was a game we couldn’t afford to lose,” Lotte manager Masato Yoshii said. “Because of that, I thought I might make a pitching change earlier than I might otherwise do. But I still left it too late, and that was the difference.”

“We lacked the technical skill to make the necessary adjustments offensively. “

“I really felt there was a gap in quality between our two teams. We had chances to make a game of it but we didn’t take them.”

Giants 4, Tigers 2: At Tokyo Ugly Dome, the Hanshin Tigers summer road trip came to an end with one of their few losses, causing manager Akinobu Okada to say his men have been playing over their heads.

Lefty Masashi Ito (8-5) allowed four runs in 7-2/3 innings in a game that was pretty darn close. Takumi Oshiro and Hayato Sakamoto homered to tie it 2-2 in the sixth, and Sakamoto took a 3-2 pitch in the eighth to draw a two-out walk that put two on, allowing pinch-runner Makoto Kadowaki to just barely score from second on a ground single from Kazuma

Okamoto, who by driving in the go-ahead run became the “hero,” although he did little of the heavy lifting. Kadowaki helped save the game in the ninth with a catch that ended the inning by robbing Johan Mieses of a pinch-hit single that would have put the potential tying run on. Instead, Kota Nakagawa earned his seventh save.

Eagles 7, Hawks 1: At Miyagi Stadium, rookie Kosei Shoji (2-3) allowed just one run over five innings despite walking seven batters, while Rakuten had three big scoring opportunities and posted multi-run innings each time and moved within two games of the third-place Hawks.

Dragons 2, Deniers 1, 12 innings: At Nagoya Dome, journeyman backup catcher Shingo Usami started at first base for Chunichi, went 3-for-6, contributed to the Dragons’ sixth-inning tying run had his third walk-off hit in two weeks, after Shuhei Takahashi drew a two-out 12th-inning walk and Seiya Hosokawa singled to put the winning run in scoring position.

Chunichi’s Shinnosuke Ogasawara allowed a run on a first-inning leadoff double, and then scattered half of the six hits he surrendered over his remaining six innings.

Fighters 4, Lions 3: At Seibu Half Dome, Kenta Uehara (3-4) posted his third straight quality start, and Kotaro Kiyomiya hit a solo homer, doubled and singled in the go-ahead run for Nippon Ham.

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