Wednesday brought a Jingu slugfest that wasn’t another game of Munetaka Murakami slugging solitaire for a change, although Domingo Santana did his level best. Roki Sasaki returned to duty, while Tomoya Mori and Kotaro Kiyomiya both had big nights while we learned that a SoftBank rookie went under the knife.
Ozeki has surgery
In the bad news department, rookie Hawks lefty Tomohisa Ozeki had surgery on Tuesday after an examination a week earlier raised the suspicion that he might have testicular cancer. The team said he is expected to be hospitalized for a week.
In January 2019, Tigers catcher Fumihito Haraguchi had underwent colon cancer surgery and returned to the majors that June.
Eagles 5, Marines 4: At Miyagi Stadium, Lotte gave Roki Sasaki (6-2) a two-run first-inning lead against soft-tossing southpaw Wataru Karashima, but Sasaki couldn’t locate either his forkball, something that’s been a problem for a while now, or his slider, a pitch that has become increasingly effective.
His fastball location was decent although it still appeared to have a side spin to it that kept him from missing more bats. The Eagles pounced on a couple of hanging forkballs and low fastballs to get five of their eight hits off him in a four-run sixth inning.
Karashima left after allowing three runs over five innings and Tomohito Sakai (1-1) struck out two in a perfect sixth to get the win. Haruki Nishikawa had two hits off Sasaki, scored two runs and drove in one, while Hiroaki Shimauchi who singled in a run in the first, singled in two more to chase Sasaki in the sixth.
Shogo Nakamura had three hits for the Marines, including a first-inning RBI single and an eighth-inning homer, his ninth, and second in two nights.
Yuki Matsui saved his 20th game for the Eagles.
Swallows 9, Dragons 7: At Jingu Stadium, we had a change from Murakami against the world but Domingo Santana vs Toshiki Abe and Yohei Oshima.
Santana hit his eighth and ninth home runs, a two-run shot in the first and a three-run blast in the third. He also singled in Yakult’s two-run fourth and doubled in a run in the sixth. Murakami did manage to contribute, however, walking twice, reaching on an error and singling and scoring four runs.
Oshima had five singles and a double, while Abe belted a first-inning homer off Cy Sneed, and had three hits, including an RBI single.
Tigers 2, Giants 1: At Tokyo Dome, Hanshin lefty Masashi Ito (8-2) allowed a run on a Naoki Yoshikawa’s sixth-inning homer while scattering four hits and a walk to earn the win after three relievers, Masumi Hamachi, Atsuki Yuasa and closer Suguru Iwazaki retired nine of the last 10 batters.
Ryutaro Umeno scored both Tigers runs off Shosei Togo (9-5), who went eight to collect the tough loss. Umeno walked with one out in the third, was sacrificed to second by Ito and scored on a Takumu Nakano single before homering in the fifth.
BayStars 6, Carp 5, 11 innings: At Yokohama Stadium, Toshiro Miyazaki singled in the winning run in the ninth with one out and the bases loaded. DeNA starter Haruhiro Hamaguchi allowed two runs over six innings and drove in a run, but Hiroshima scored three runs in the seventh to tie it off reliever Hiromu Ise.
Lions 3, Buffaloes 1: At Seibu Dome, Tomoya Mori hit a pair of solo homers for Seibu off Orix lefty Hiroya Miyagi (6-6), his third and fourth, and Katsunori Hirai (6-5) allowed a run on three hits and two walks over six innings. Kaima Taira pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
Yuma Tongu hit his third homer for the Buffaloes.
Fighters 5, Hawks 1: At Sapporo Dome, Kotaro Kiyomiya hit two home runs, his 12th and 13th, giving him five in five games, six in six if one counts his all-star walk-off homer, and drove in four runs, the last two off former Swallows and Fighters closer Ryo Akiyoshi (0-1) who was making his Hawks debut.
SoftBank signed the right-handed side-armer from independent ball and rushed him to the major league club after Yuito Mori tested positive for the coronavirus. Akiyoshi was one of three Fighters players who took umbrage with the Fighters announcing they had been “non-tendered” in December when they had been non-tendered, because in Japan, it’s important to say things a certain way and sometimes describing things truthfully is bad form.
Kenta Uehara (3-3) was in particularly good form, allowing three hits and a walk over eight scoreless innings to earn the win. Arismendy Alcántara also homered for the Fighters.
Thursday’s starting pitchers
Fighters vs Hawks: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Eagles vs Marines: Miyagi Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Lions vs Buffaloes: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Active roster moves 8/3/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/13