Happy Roki Eve to all who celebrate.
Sasaki will get his first interleague start Sunday at Koshien against the Tigers with Lotte in a virtual tie for first with Orix, who came from behind thanks to some late pinch-hitting heroics, while there were plenty of squeezes and lots of runs at Jingu Stadium and more home run power from the surprising Gosuke Kato.
Holding out for a Hiro
Not only will Sasaki be part of a tasty matchup with Hiroto Saiki, and if Bonnie Tyler is still holding out for a hero, Hiroto Takahashi will start for the Dragons against Japan WBC teammate Hiroya Miyagi. So, we’ll be practically lousy with Hiros.
Giants 3, Fighters 2, 10 innings: At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s Foster Griffin and Nippon Ham’s Hiromi Ito each allowed a run over seven innings. Hayato Sakamoto’s third-inning RBI double put the Giants ahead. New Fighter Gosuke Kato hit his fourth home run in five games to tie it in the fourth. Lewis Brinson singled off a tough 0-2 pitch off veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi in the eight, but Nippon Ham tied it with a ninth-inning squeeze against closer Taisei Ota (2-0, who left the bases jammed and worked the 10th to get the win, when Kazuma Okamoto doubled in a runner from first.
Carp 4, Hawks 2: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Shuta Ishikawa (3-2) walked two over six innings, not many for him, but they cost him a first-inning run that scored on a Ryoma Nishikawa infield single, when the Carp couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.
The Hawks, too, couldn’t do much against Masato Morishita (2-1), not getting a ball out of the infield until a flyout ended the fifth inning. The right-hander worked seven scoreless innings, and squeezed home a run in the sixth. The Carp offense then rinsed and repeated in a two-run seventh, two walks setting up a Nishikawa RBI single and another run scoring on a squeeze.
Takuya Yasaki allowed the Hawks to load the bases in the ninth and gave up an RBI single to Masaki Mimori. Sotaro Shimauchi surrendered Akira Nakamura’s sac fly for the first out, and then reloaded the bases before retiring the two toughest Hawks, Kensuke Kondo and Yuki Yanagita to end it for his first career save.
Swallows 9, Eagles 5: At Jingu Stadium, with Tetsuto Yamada, batting leadoff for the second straight game, and Norichika Aoki in Yamada’s No. 3 spot, Yakult’s offense exploded for eight early runs. Aoki hit a two-run first-inning homer off Takahisa Hayakawa (2-3) and Yamada hit a second-inning grand slam. Jose Osuna and Domingo Santana each singled in a run for the Swallows.
Lefty Dillon Peters (1-1) gave up four runs over five innings to earn the win.
Buffaloes 5, Dragons 1 At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi’s Takahiro Matsuba allowed his former team one hit and no walks over five innings and left with a 1-0 lead after Takaya Ishikawa doubled in Kenta Bright in the first. Orix lefty Sachiya Yamasaki (3-2), however, worked six innings and picked up the win after a five-run seventh inning. Marwin Gonzalez’s pinch-hit single tied it, and Keita Nakagawa’s two-run pinch-hit double put the Buffaloes in front.
Taishi Hirooka, recently acquired in a trade with the Giants, singled in two more to ice it.
Tigers 6, Marines 5, 11 innings: At Koshien Stadium, the CL-leading Hanshin Tigers made it hard on themselves after errors and an off-night for closer Atsuki Iwasa cost Kotaro Otake his seventh win of the season.
Yusuke Oshima cranked a three-run first-inning homer, his fifth, off Atsuki Taneichi (3-3), who left trailing by a run after Lotte second-chancer Seiichiro Oshita hit a two-run pinch-hit homer to chase Hanshin second-chancer Otake in the seventh.
Suguru Iwazaki worked a 1-2-3 eighth, and the Tigers hitters took out two runs of insurance from Hirokazu Sawamura. Koji Chikamoto walked, Takumu Nakano tripled and Sheldon Neuse made it 5-2 with a sac fly. The triple was the Tigers’ third hit of the game, but Marines pitchers issued six walks, three of which resulted in runs, while Lotte hitters had nine hits but no walks.
The Marines tied it in the ninth against Yuasa on an error, two hard-hit singles, a one-out Hiromi Oka double and a Yudai Fujioka two-run single. A two-out error on Nakano at second put the go-ahead run on second but Yuasa survived with the score tied.
Deniers 6, Lions 2: At Yokohama Stadium, Yota Kyoda, whose tenure with the Chunichi Dragons reached its nadir last year when he was pulled off the field and ordered to report to the minors during the Dragons’ game in Yokohama, went 4-for-4 with a double, singled in the game’s first run and scored the tie-breaker, while Taiki Sekine went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI.
DeNA’s graduate of MLB’s sexual assault suspension program allowed two home runs over eight innings, improved to 2-2 and lowered his ERA to 5.59.