NPB news: June 18, 2022

Yoshinobu Yamamoto became the 86th pitcher to throw a no-hit shutout in Japanese pro baseball on Saturday, giving us a record four no-hitters in a season before July and the most since four were thrown in 1943, one shy of the record in 1940 in the deadest of Japan’s dead-ball eras.

Of course, we also had Yudai Ono taking a perfect game into the 10th and Roki Sasaki throwing eight perfect innings in May, so it’s been some season, huh?

Shall we get started?


Saturday’s games

Buffaloes 2, Lions 0: At Seibu Dome, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-3) threw 102 pitches, walked one and struck out nine for his first career no-hitter. He threw 20 first-pitch strikes to the 28 batters he faced and only two batters got to three balls against him.

Kotaro Kurebayashi had three of the Buffaloes’ nine hits. He singled to open the fifth inning against Katsunori Hirai (3-4) and scored on a Yuma Mune double. Hirai lasted five innings, and the Buffaloes scored an insurance run in the eighth after Joe McCarthy tripled with one out to set up Keita Nakagawa’s sac fly.

“I was amazingly locked right up to the ninth inning, but was still on edge the whole time. Even though everything went my way from the start, I was nervous the whole time, because I had the feeling they could really hit me. It was the first time I’d worked with (catcher Kenya) Wakatsuki in a long time, and I just left the pitch selection up to him.”

–Yoshinobu Yamamoto after his first career no-hitter

Hawks 3, Eagles 1, 10 innings: At Fukukuoka Dome, SoftBank moved into first place with the Hawks’ second straight win over Rakuten, thanks to another slap-hitter going deep. A day after Taisei Makhara blasted a three-run homer, the 15th of his career, Ukyo Shuto hit his seventh career homer with a man on in the 10th against lefty Yuki Matsui (1-2).

Yuki Yanagita put SoftBank in front in the fourth inning with his second home run in two days and his ninth of the season, off Eagles starter Wataru Karashima. Hawks starter Tomohisa Ozeki allowed a hit, two walks and a hit batsmen over eight innings while striking out seven.

Livan Moinelo blew the save in the ninth, walking Kazuki Tanaka on four pitches with one out. Hideto Asamura was walked intentionally, but Moinelo walked Hiroaki Shimauchi to load the bases, allowing Tanaka to tie it on Ginji Akaminai’s flare to left.

Katsuki Matayoshi (2-3) worked a scoreless 10th before Masaki Mimori slapped Matsui’s eighth pitch to left for a leadoff single. With one out, Shuto fell behind 0-2 before drilling a high 2-2 fat fastball to end it.

Marines 3, Fighters 1: At Sapporo Dome, lefty Enny Romero (5-4) allowed a run on four hits and a walk–on Yuki James Nomura’s fourth home run—in the fourth, while Koki Yamaguchi singled in Takashi Ogino and Shogo Nakamura in the third off Hiromi Ito (5-5).

Nakamura doubled in Ogino to complete the scoring in the fifth before Daiki Tojo, Tayron Guerrero and Naoya Masuda faced little resistance over the final three innings. Masuda recorded his 16th save.

Swallows 10, Carp 6: At Jingu Stadium, Kotaro Yamasaki brought Yakult from behind with a three-run, sixth-inning home run, his second, off Masato Morishita (4-5), and Tetsuto Yamada followed with his 14th to make it a 5-2 game. Rookie Naofumi Kizawa (4-1) worked two scoreless innings in relief of Andrew Suarez, who allowed two runs over four innings.

Carp catcher Tsubasa Aizawa tied it 1-1 in the second with his first home run, and singled in the go-ahead run in the fourth. Matsushita allowed just one run through the first five innings despite allowing 10 base runners.

With two outs in the sixth, rookie Soma Uchikawa and leadoff man Yasutaka Shiomi singled before Morishita threw a 2-2 fastball down the pipe to Yamasaki, who saved at least one run in the top of the fourth with a good catch in the outfield.

A day after the Swallows’ pen was charged with its first run in June, Ryuta Konno and A.J. Cole each surrendered two, but the Carp couldn’t keep up after the Swallows tacked on five more runs in the seventh, one off Nik Turley, and four off Makoto Kemna.

Dragons 4, Giants 3: At Nagoya Dome, Ariel Martinez broke a 3-3 tie in the ninth with an RBI single off Thyago Vieira (0-1) after he allowed a leadoff double to rookie Kosuke Ukai and a Toshiki Abe single.

The Giants lost their starter Matt Andriese in the first inning when he was struck on the left ankle with a shot off Ukai’s bat with a runner on. Abe plated Yohei Oshima with a sac fly, and Oshima made it 2-0 in the second when he singled in catcher Takuya Kinoshita. The Giants took a 3-2 lead in the third against Hiroto Takahashi on pinch-hit home run by Takumi Oshiro, his third, and a two-run Hayato Sakamoto single.

Takahashi was lucky to get away with just three runs on nine hits, three walks and a hit batsman over five innings, but Kento Fujishima, Tatsuya Shimizu, Yariel Rodriguez and Raidel Martinez (1-1) allowed just one runner over four innings.

Tigers 4, BayStars 1: At Koshien Stadium, Masashi Ito (3-2) allowed Taishi Ota’s fourth home run in the first but just three hits and a walk in all, and needing just 94 pitches to go the distance behind a two-run first-inning double from Teruaki Sato and a two-run homer from Yusuke Oyama, his 17th, and fourth in five games.

The win lifted the Tigers, who started the season with a Central League-worst nine straight losses, into third place ahead of the Carp, and just 3-1/2 back of the Giants, who trail the Swallows by nine.

Starting pitchers

Fighters vs Marines: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kenta Uehara (2-0, 1.71) vs Manabu Mima (3-4, 3.86)

Lions vs Buffaloes: Seibu Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Kaito Yoza (4-2, 2.33) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (2-5, 2.78)

Hawks vs Eagles: Fukuoka Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 1.51) vs Takahisa Hayakawa (4-3, 2.75)

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Masanori Ishikawa (3-3, 2.63) vs Allen Kuri (3-4, 3.06)

Dragons vs Giants: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuya Yanagi (5-4, 3.23) vs Matt Shoemaker (2-4, 3.42)

Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Junya Nishi (3-2, 2.97) vs Masaya Kyoyama (0-0, 1.20)

Active roster moves 6/18/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/28

Central League


GiantsP29Matt Andriese
CarpP58Reira Fujii
DragonsP19Hiroto Takahashi


CarpP36Atsuya Horie

Pacific League


MarinesOF1Kyota Fujiwara
EaglesP31Yuya Fukui
EaglesP79Yuki Watanabe
FightersP17Hiromi Ito


MarinesP18Kota Futaki
EaglesP60Ryota Ishibashi
EaglesIF48Yoshiaki Watanabe
HawksIF00Hikaru Kawase

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