NPB news: July 3, 2024

On Wednesday, we learned that a Lions player has apparently been caught with his pants down, while Teruaki Sato and Domingo Santana had big hits but were still unhappy about Japan’s new ball.Under the heading of news that failed to make yesterday’s blog, the Marines signed a new import, with a family connection to the team.

Wednesday’s games:

Tigers 2, Carp 1: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Teruaki Sato giveth and Teruaki giveth away. Fortunately for Hanshin he did more of the former to back the outstanding pitching of Kotaro Otake (5-4), who combined with three relievers on a three-hitter.

Sato snapped a 122-plate appearance homerless drought in the second inning off Allen Kuri (4-5).

“I’ve hit a lot of balls recently that I was sure were gone, only to see them not go out. I’m glad this one did,” Sato said.

Sato then opened the door for the Carp to tie it with a two-out throwing error in the fifth after Otake retired the first 15 batters he faced. Carp shortstop Masaya Yano followed with a triple to tie it. Sato, who walked in the fourth, put Hanshin ahead again with his second solo homer of the game. Javy Guerra allowed a hit in two-thirds of an inning, Takuma Kirishiki got the final out and Suguru Iwazaki collected his 11th save.

Hanshin’s win moved the defending CL champions to within two games of the Carp, who have lost three straight. It also was Akinobu Okada’s 514th victory as Tigers manager, moving him into a tie with Hall of Famer Sadayoshi Fujimoto.

Giants 6, Dragons 1: At Maebashi Stadium, Elier Hernandez hit a three-run third-inning homer off Hideaki Wakui (2-5). Giants starter Haruto Inoue (3-4) struck out four of the first six batters he faced, the other two singled with two outs in the first. After the second of those, he retired 12 in a row. Giants rookie Yuto Izuguchi doubled in the fifth and scored on a sacrifice fly. Inoue struck out seven over eight scoreless innings.

Marines 9, Fighters 6: At Kitahiroshima Taxpayers Burden Field, the Fighters, wearing their crazy mixed-font uniforms that look like they were written out by school kids who haven’t quite mastered the alphabet, took a 5-3 third-inning lead on a Franmil Reyes grand slam. But the second-place Marines stretched their lead over the third-place Fighters to 2-1/2 games, came back with a five-run sixth in their first win this year in Hokkaido.

Lotte took a 3-0 second-inning lead with the Marines’ first hit, a Toshiya Sato three-run homer off Haruki Hosono. Marines rookie Haruya Tanaka (1-0), appearing in his second major league game after five scoreless innings against Hanshin on June 1, worked five more innings to get the win after Lotte scored five runs in the sixth.

New Fighters import Patrick Murphy (1-2) took the loss after all three batters he faced to open the sixth reached base and scored. Lotte closer Naoya Masuda earned his 11th save, and moved into sole possession of ninth place on Japan’s career saves list, having been tied with his former pitching coach Masahide Kobayashi on 228.

Swallows 5, BayStars 3: At Yokohama Stadium, Domingo Santana drove in three runs, including two with a two-out ninth-inning double as Yakult overcame an early three-run deficit.

Shugo Maki hit a three-run –inning homer, his 11th, in the first off rookie lefty Taichi Yamano, who squeezed in a run in the second. Santana was sure he tied the game in the third when he crushed a hanging changeup from Haruhiro Hamaguchi with a runner on first, only to see the ball come off the wall for a double that led to Yakult’s second run. The Swallows did tie it in the seventh on a walk, a sacrifice and Munetaka Murakami‘s second single of the game. With a runner on second and two outs in the ninth and a 3-0 count, DeNA walked Murakami and paid the price when he scored from first on Santana’s double down the right-field line.

Lions player Kishi gets caught in sticky affair

Weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun published an online account Wednesday of Seibu Lions outfielder Junichiro Kishi‘s pattern of hooking up with women he met online. Three years earlier, the magazine reported on his online flirtations. In response to that, the Lions held a hearing in which the married ballplayer said he never had sex with them women he connected with online.

The new report cited a woman, whose stalking of Kishi became a matter for the police, who said she and Kishi would meet up for sex at the Chiba hotel the Lions stay at when they play the Lotte Marines and at love hotels in the Tama Lake area around Seibu Dome.

Marines import new recruit

On Tuesday, Lotte announced the signing of 23-year-old outfielder Andy Martin, the brother of Leonys Martin, who played for Lotte from 2019 to 2022. The younger Martin had been playing for the Ibaraki Astro Planets of the independent BC league, and was inked to a non-roster developmental deal.

“I’m grateful to the Lotte Marines for helping make my dream a reality,” Martin said in a statement released by the club. “I’ll prepare in order to contribute to winning a pennant. I also want to repay my gratitude to all the Marines fans who supported my brother in his time with the team. I’m so looking forward to stepping onto the field my brother played on in front of the greatest fans.”

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