Roki Sasaki was too hot for his own good on Friday, when he burned out of his start with a broken blister on his pitching hand after being absolutely dominant in his second career duel with Masahiro Tanaka, but neither pitcher ended up with a decision, despite two homers and four RBIs from Rakuten’s Hiroaki Shimauchi.
In Hiroshima, Ryan McBroom won the first-year-import showdown with Matt Shoemaker, while Nefatali Soto homered and drove in three for the DeNA BayStars, Koji Chikamoto extended his hitting streak, and Joe McCarthy had the hits but Orix couldn’t find the runs.
So let’s get to it.
Marines 6, Eagles 4: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Roki Sasaki struck out 10 with an unhittable forkball and a good slider. He started the game with four in the first, the 27th time that’s happened in Japan’s majors, allowed a single and a walk and a pair of groundouts before striking out six more.
At that point, Sasaki broke a blister on his pitching hand and was bloodying his uniform pants. He then gave up a single, a walk and a fly out and was done, leaving with a 2-0 lead against Masahiro Tanaka.
Hiroaki Shimauchi’s three-run fifth-inning homer, his fifth, made it 3-2, and his sixth homer, in the seventh inning, made it 4-2. Tanaka left after issuing a leadoff sixth-inning walk, and Lotte tied it against Tomohiro Anraku who faced four batters and only got an out on a sacrifice. Akito Takabe chased him with a two-run double.
Fighters 2, Buffaloes 1: At Sapporo Dome, Taisuke Yamaoka (5-4) took what was probably his toughest loss of the season. He gave up two unearned runs on four hits–thanks to some serious glove work from third baseman Yuma Mune–and a walk over eight innings while striking out four. Joe McCarthy doubled twice, singled and drove in a run. The Buffaloes had nine hits, drew five walks and had two batters plunked but stranded 13 runners.
BayStars 6, Swallows 4: At Jingu Stadium, Keita Sano hit his 10th homer and Neftali Soto hit his seventh posting DeNA to a 3-0 second-inning lead. With the game tied 3-3 in the fourth, Soto drove in Toshiro Miyazaki for the second time to break the tie against Hirotoshi Takanashi (5-4).
Shota Imanaga (4-2) allowed four runs over 6-2/3 innings, Kenjiro Tanaka pitched out of a two-out two-on jam in the seventh and Brooks Kriske bailed himself out of trouble after allowing a leadoff single and a no-out walk in the eighth. Yasuaki Yamasaki continued his dominant run of form with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save as the BayStars won their fourth straight.
Carp 5, Giants 3: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Ryan McBroom singled in the game’s first run off Matt Shoemaker (4-5) in the first and scored on a Shogo Sakakura double, doubled in the fourth and scored on a Ryutaro Hatsuki triple, and hit a two-run home run, his eighth, in the fifth inning to give Hiroshima a 5-1 lead.
The Giants got a run in the second on three singles off Daichi Osera (7-4). Adam Walker doubled with a man on and scored in the Giants’ two-run sixth, but Osera retired pinch-hitter Sho Nakata to end the inning with two on. Ryoji Kuribayashi secured his 16th save as Hiroshima moved to within 1-1/2 games of second place.
Dragons 3, Tigers 1: At Nagoya Dome, Ariel Martinez broke a 1-1 eighth-inning tie with a two-run home run, his seventh, off Atsuki Yuasa (1-3) after Dragons setup man Yariel Rodriguez (4-2) blew a one-run lead in the top of the inning.
Koji Chikamoto extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a fourth-inning single, and singled to open the eighth against Rodriguez but was caught stealing. Teruaki Sato salvaged the inning with his second double of the game and scored the tying run on a Kento Itohara single.
Akira Neo recorded the final out in the fifth inning for Chunichi, earning the shortstop-turned outfielder-turned pitcher his first hold. Dragons closer Raidel Martinez allowed two on in the ninth but held on for his 17th save.
Chikamoto’s hitting streak is tied with former Tiger Yasuaki Taiho for the third longest in Japan behind Yoshihiko Takahashi’s record of 33.
Saturday’s starting pitchers
Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Lions vs Hawks: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Marines vs Eagles: Chiba Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Carp vs Giants: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Active roster moves 7/1/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/11