Munetaka Murakami made like St. George on Thursday and slew the Dragons in their lair, while the rest of the league struggled to keep up.
Shall we get started?
Giants 5, BayStars 4: At Tokyo Dome, Katsuki Azuma (1-5) allowed three runs over 5-2/3 innings—after DeNA took a 7-0 sixth-inning lead.
Keita Sano hit his eighth home run in the first off rookie Yuji Akahoshi (3-4). Keito Mori and rookie Tatsuo Ebina each singled in a run in the second, Ebina singled in two more in the fourth, and Mori hit his first career homer in the sixth with catcher Hikaru Ito on board.
Sho Nakata hit a two-run homer for the Giants, his sixth, and DeNA closer Yasuaki Yamasaki worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 14th save. The BayStars’ win moved them ahead of the Dragons into fifth place, and left the Giants 10 games out of first place.
Swallows 10, Dragons 0: At Nagoya Dome, Hirotoshi Takanashi threw a six-hitter, Murakami hit his fourth grand slam of the season in the first inning, Tetsuto Yamada doubled in three runs in the fourth, Murakami doubled and scored on a Jose Osuna single in the seventh, and blasted his 23rd homer of the season in the eighth with a man on.
Chunichi’s 13th shutout defeat left the Dragons eight games under .500, and eliminated their chances of winning the pennant just by winning all their remaining games without help from other teams’ losses–the “jiriki V”, which is a big thing among sports editors that I don’t know if anyone else on the face of the earth cares about.
“That was bound to happen if we play games like today’s, not offering up much resistance. We owe an apology to the fans who came to the game.”–Chunichi Dragons manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami
Carp 3, Tigers 3, 12 innings: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, a late comedy of errors took over this one that left Hanshin winless against the Carp in 11 games with two ties this season.
Koji Chikamoto singled two runs for Hanshin in the first against Drew Anderson, who allowed no earned runs over five innings. Aaron Wilkerson made that lead stand up until the fifth, when Kento Nakamura drew a one-out walk, and Ryutaro Hatsuki—batting for Anderson—singled with two outs before Takashi Uemoto’s game-tying two-run triple.
Shota Dobayashi led off the Carp’s seventh with a pinch-hit home run, his fourth, off Yuta Iwasada, the Tigers’ third pitcher. Carp closer, Ryoji Kuribayashi, however, blew the save opportunity in the ninth.
Catcher Ryotaro Umeno, who came off the bench in the sixth as a pinch-hitter, singled to open the Tigers’ ninth. After a sacrifice, Chikamoto singled in the tying run. Kuribayashi hit Teruaki Sato with a pitch, and with the outfield in barely survived a high fly from Yusuke Oyama after right fielder Nakamura appeared to lose the ball, got turned around and made a lucky catch with his back to the plate.
Awkward as it was, the catch saved two runs. The Carp then wasted a golden opportunity to win it in the 10th against Raul Alcantara. Uemoto walked with one out but was caught stealing. Pinch-hitter Ryuhei Matsumoto drew a two-out walk and Ryosuke Kikuchi doubled into the gap in left.
Pinch-runner Shosei Nakamura should have scored easily, but lost his balance rounding third, tumbled on the base line and was out by a mile, leaving Kikuchi shaking his head in disbelief.
The Tigers stranded a runner at third in the top of the 12th, while the Carp loaded the bases in the home half against closer Suguru Iwazaki. Kikuchi got the ball as far as the warning track but there it died for the final out.
Friday’s starting pitchers
Eagles vs Lions: Miyagi Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Marines vs Buffaloes: Chiba Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Hawks vs Fighters: Fukuoka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Swallows vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Tigers vs Dragons: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 6/23/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/3