NPB news: June 27, 2024

On Thursday in Japan, a young Fighters pitcher had elbow reconstruction surgery, while on the field, Orix’s top lefty Hiroya Miyagi returned after the first long injury absence of his career, another big pitcher for a Kansai team had a comeback kind of performance, there were a pair of walk-offs, and some disbelief on the part of Giants manager Shinnosuke Abe.

Thursday’s games:

Tigers 8, Dragons 1: At Koshien Stadium, Shoki Murakami (3-5) allowed back-to-back singles to open the game, but cruised afterward. The reigning Central League MVP struck out a career-high 11 without a walk while allowing one run over 8-1/3. The Tigers took the lead in a four-run seventh. A Takumu Nakano leadoff double and a fielder’s choice put two on. Yusuke Oyama singled in one and chased Dragons starter Kodai Umetsu, Ukyo Maegawa doubled in another, and those guys scored on a Teruaki Sato single.

Hanshin piled on four more in the eighth for good measure. Dragons starter Kodai Umetsu (1-5) allowed three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out seven.

Carp 4, Swallows 3: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, the finale of a rainy error-plagued series was decided by mistakes, an extremely pesky at-bat and a rare defensive choice by Yakult.

The Swallows took advantage of a run scoring error in the top of the first. Forty-four-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk over six innings, his throwing error setting up the tying run in the home half.

Ishikawa surrendered the lead on a fifth-inning homer by Ryosuke Kikuchi, but true-to-form, Yakult took the lead on a pair of seventh-inning unearned runs.

Kikuchi’s one-out error at second put the tying run on. Jose Osuna singled, reserve catcher Naoki Matsumoto doubled in the tying run and Tetsuto Yamada delivered a sacrifice fly that was almost wiped out when Osuna scored a split second before Matsumoto was out trying for third.

Carp starter Makoto Aduwa painted the corners with his breaking pitches allowing three unearned runs on six hits and a walk over 6-1/3 innings while striking out four.

Takashi Uemoto singled to open Hiroshima’s ninth against lefty Kazuto Taguchi (1-1). Down to his team’s last strike after a sacrifice and a strikeout, reserve Carp catcher Tomoki Ishihara walked after fouling off seven two-strike pitches and scored the winning run from first when Shogo Sakakura‘s sinking liner to left got past a diving attempted catch and rolled to the warning track.

The irony is that Yakult’s outfield, which manager Shingo Takatsu has automatically pulled in with two outs and a crucial runner on second base, was playing deeper than normal against the hard-hitting Sakakura. The loss was Yakult’s fourth straight.

Buffaloes 3, Hawks 1: At Osaka UFO Dome, Hiroya Miyagi, pitching in Osaka for the first time since April 13 and on the major league mound for the first time since suffering a pectoral muscle injury on May 8, retired the side in order in the first, and got a three-run lead in the home half on a two-run Tomoya Mori homer and a Leandro Cedeno RBI single.

Miyagi allowed two hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings. The Hawks got on the board in the eighth against rookie Seiryu Kotajima, snapping his career scoreless appearance streak at 22 games. He did however get out of the inning with the bases loaded, allowing Andres Machado some leeway in the ninth to record his 10th save.

BayStars 5, Giants 4: At Yokohama Stadium, Toshiro Miyazaki capped his 3-for-5 night with a 10th-inning tie-breaking sayonara home run off reliever Kyle Keller (0-1), lifting DeNA over Yomiuri.

Takumi Oshiro’s second-inning leadoff homer gave the Giants the early lead against Kentaro Taira. The BayStars came back with three runs against Haruto Inoue. Masayuki Kuwahara tied it with a third-inning solo homer and Keita Sano untied it with a two-run homer in the fourth.

“All this time, he (Inoue) has kept throwing these pitches that he can’t control, and he can’t seem to get over that,” Giants manager Shinnosuke Abe said. “I absolutely can’t figure that pitching out. I told him during the game but he just keeps on doing it for eternity. He’s got other pitches he can go to. So obviously some study on his part is needed.”

Yota Kyoda batted for Taira in the bottom of the fifth. He singled and scored an insurance run on a Tyler Austin double.

The Giants tied it in the seventh against right-hander Rowan Wick. A Naoki Yoshikawa double, an Elier Hernandez single and an error made it a two-run game, and Kazuma Okamoto followed with his 13th home run.

Fighters teen has elbow surgery

Kanato Anzai, a 19-year-old right-hander who was Nippon Ham’s fourth-round draft pick in 2022, has undergone ligament reconstruction surgery, and it went off without a hitch. Anzai’s pro career has so far been fraught. He suffered a lower back injury while engaging in “voluntary” rookie workouts that are in fact mandatory in January 2023, and didn’t make his pro debut in the Eastern League until Sept. 1. He pitched in three innings last year.

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