NPB news: July 14, 2022

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Because Monday is “Marine Day,” the national holiday where Japanese are encouraged to enjoy the seaside and many get in over their heads, literally, the Pacific League will begin its weekend series on Saturday instead of Friday.

Perhaps this will encourage more people to go to the ballpark rather than the ocean. In 2016 for example, 10 people were reported to have drowned over the three-day weekend. Unfortunately, World Drowning Awareness Day comes a week later, this year on July 25.

Anyway with a light schedule tomorrow, it’s like Japanese baseball said, “We’ve only got three games on Friday so we’d better get a lot of action in today.

Orix and SoftBank played longball, Nippon Ham is looking very much unlike the team we’ve seen the last three seasons, the Seibu Lions showed some skill at defusing explosive situations, Shogo Akiyama had a hit in Hiroshima, which was three fewer than the Yomiuri Giants managed against Hanshin, and Seiichi Uchikawa was pressed into service, making his debut in his 22nd season as a pro in his first game in the outfield in forever.

Thursday’s games

Buffaloes 3, Hawks 2: At Fukuoka Dome, Orix’s Kotaro Kurebayashi decided a home run derby with his fourth of the season, breaking a 2-2 eighth-inning tie against former closer Yuito Mori (0-4).

Masataka Yoshida’s two-run home off Colin Rea, his ninth, opened the scoring in the fourth, before Alfredo Despaigne tied it against Sachiya Yamasaki (3-6) in the seventh with his third of the season. Buffaloes reliever Shota Abe struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth, and Yoshihisa Hirano worked a perfect ninth to record his 22nd save.

Yamasaki struck out eight, allowed four hits but no walks.

Lions 2, Marines 1: At Seibu Dome, Tatsuya Imai (1-1) and the Lions bullpen got out of more trouble than Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible movie to secure the win and move within win-percentage points of the first-place Hawks.

Toshiya Sato’s fifth homer made it 1-0 in the fifth, but Jantzen Witte’s second single set up a two-run Lions fifth off Kota Futaki (2-2). Natsuo Takizawa singled, Witte scored on a groundout, and Aito Takeda singled in the go-ahead run.

Imai’s sixth strikeout of the game stranded two in the sixth, and Keisuke Honda stepped up big in the seventh, inheriting runners on second and third with no outs and getting out of the inning, with the final out coming at the plate on a good glove toss by Honda to catcher Tomoya Mori.

Fighters 6, Eagles 0: At Shizuoka, lefty Takayuki Kato (4-4) allowed five hits and a walk over seven innings, Kazunari Ishii broke up a scoreless game in the fifth off Takayuki Kishi (6-4) with a three-run home run, his fifth. Kishi struck out eight over seven innings, and Nippon Ham turned it into a rout with a three-run eighth as the Fighters won six straight for the first time under manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo.

Dragons 4, Swallows 1: At Nagoya Dome, Takumi Kinoshita tied it with a first-inning sac fly, singled in the go-ahead run in the third and belted a two-run home run in the seventh as Chunichi came from behind to beat COVID-depleted Yakult for the second straight night.

Chunichi lefty Shotaro Kasahara (1-0) allowed just a run over five innings despite giving up five hits and four walks to earn his first win in three years. Yakult started Seiichi Uchikawa in left field, where he played at the major league level for the first time in five years.

Yasuhiro Ogawa (5-4) allowed two runs on nine hits but no walks over six innings. A.J. Cole worked the six, and issued a one-out walk ahead of Kinoshita’s home run. Dragons reliever Tatsuya Shimizu got into hot water in the eighth but escaped a two-on one-out jam by easily striking out a pair of batters who’ve barely played this season.

Tigers 3, Giants 0: At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin continued to retaliate for suffering its 13th shutout defeat of the season on Tuesday by blanking Yomiuri for the second straight day.

Masashi Ito (6-2) threw a four-hitter for his second shutout of the season. Matt Shoemaker (4-7) allowed three runs over six-plus innings. He surrendered three straight singles to open the scoring in the first. Ryutaro Umeno homered in the fourth, his second, and Mel Rojas Jr. completed the scoring in the seventh with his fourth homer.

BayStars 4, Carp 3: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Shugo Maki capped DeNA’s three-run third with an RBI double and broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth with his 17th home run, off Drew Anderson (3-3) in the sixth.

Shogo Akiyama’s RBI single, his first hit in Hiroshima as a Carp chased BayStars starter Tatsuya Ishikawa in the third, and Shogo Sakakura singled in another. Ryan McBroom doubled in Ryosuke Kikuchi in the fifth, who tied it with his second run of the game.

Anderson, whose only trouble had come after two outs in the third, retired the tough Keita Sano for the first time to open the sixth only to have Maki go deep. Edwin Escobar, Hiromu Ise  and Yasuaki Yamasaki retired eight of the last nine batters they faced to close down the win. Yamasaki earned his 19th save.

Friday’s starting pitchers

Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Iori Yamasaki (2-3, 3.93) vs Daichi Osera (7-5, 4.05)

BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuya Sakamoto (0-2, 6.38) vs Cy Sneed (4-2, 3.47)

Tigers vs Dragons: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Koyo Aoyagi (9-1, 1.36) vs Kotaro Ueda (0-2, 5.63)

Active roster moves 7/14/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/24

Central League


TigersC39Yuki Sakaeda
TigersIF55Naomasa Yokawa
GiantsP96Taiki Kikuchi
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama


TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersC12Seishiro Sakamoto
TigersIF31Jefry Marte
GiantsIF5Hiroyuki Nakajima
BayStarsP11Katsuki Azuma

Pacific League


BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki
EaglesOF25Kazuki Tanaka
FightersP14Takayuki Kato


BuffaloesOF55Takahiro Okada
EaglesP21Takahisa Hayakawa
EaglesIF67Yasuhito Uchida

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