Here’s Thursday’s COVID scorecard.
Chunichi 2, DeNA 1, Lotte 1, Nippon Ham 1. Those are not runs but suspected cases of COVID-19 from their major league rosters. Among those were DeNA’s two-time home run champ, Neftali Soto, and Nippon Ham’s all-star third baseman Yuki James Nomura, who has been exhibiting symptoms but had yet to test positive.
They were dwarfed by the Yomiuri Giants’ toll in recent days. The team reported a total of 38 new infections, including coaches and staff, on Wednesday night, including a large chunk of their starting roster and ace pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano.
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On Thursday, the Giants announced they had suspended baseball activities after 41 players within the organization had tested positive in the past three days.
NPB also announced that it’s next commissioner will be 79-year-old Sadayuki Sakakibara, the former chairman of the Japan Business Federation and that he’ll replace the outgoing Atsushi Saito in November in one of Japan’s least important jobs.
Pacific League TV is again making things difficult, so no highlights tonight.
Buffaloes 4, Fighters 3: At Osaka Dome, Masataka Yoshida tied it with his second home run in two nights, a two-run sixth-inning shot off Cody Ponce (1-2). Yutaro Sugimoto singled, Joe McCarthy doubled and both scored on a ground ball to third, and an error by reserve infielder Takuya Kori, whose first career homer had put the Fighters up 2-0 in the fifth.
Marines 5, Lions 4: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Hiromi Oka singled in two runs in the ninth to tie it and Akito Takabe singled in the winning run as Kaima Taira (1-3), standing in for closer Taishi Masuda, blew a 4-2 lead.
Takashi Ogino and Shogo Nakamura reached in the first and scored off Seibu’s Tatsuya Imai with Toshiya Sato singling in one run to cap the rally. Seibu came back against Kota Futaki in the fourth on Hotaka Yamakawa’s 29th home run, and took the lead in the sixth, when Takeya Nakamura doubled in three.
Marines reliever Seiya Dohi, who pitched in just one game in the bigs last season, and hadn’t won since 2019, worked a scoreless ninth in his season debut to pick up the win.
Hawks 7, Eagles 0: At Fukuoka Dome, Kodai Senga (8-3) struck out eight over eight innings in a game that started as a tight pitchers’ duel against Rakuten veteran Takayuki Kishi (6-5).
Friday’s starting pitchers
Lions vs Eagles: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Hawks: Osaka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 7/21/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/31