With 66 of 108 interleague games done, the Pacific League’s prospects for winning the most games have darkened after two straight 1-5 days in the Central League’s parks. I’m now projecting a 56-52 CL interleague triumph. That could shift, of course, considering 36 of the remaining 42 games are in PL parks.
On Saturday, the CL got big games at the plate from Munetaka Murakami, Shugo Maki, a huge start from Koyo Aoyagi, and a lot of good relief work from the Swallows’, Dragons’ and Giants’ bullpens. Then there were the Hiroshima Carp.
Giants 2, Marines 1: At Tokyo Dome, C.C. Mercedes (5-1) allowed a run on seven hits over 7-1/3 innings in which he struck out six, Takuya Wakuhara stranded the tying runner in the eighth, and rookie Taisei Ota worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save.
Doubles by Adeiny Hechavarria and Toshiya Sato put the Marines in front in the fifth as rookie lefty Shoma Sato slow-balled the Giants hitters to frustration. A two-out Yoshihiro Maru walk in the sixth and an Adam Walker single put runners on the corners, except Walker was run down between first and second for the final out.
A Kazuma Okamoto walk and a Gregory Polanco double that missed being a home run by inches put runners on second and third. Rookie Riku Masuda got a fat, 138-kph fastball floating up in the zone and lined it into center to tie it. Hiroyuki Nakajima hit a slow roller past the mound that Sato failed to glove as the go-ahead run scored.
Swallows 3, Lions 2: At Jingu Stadium, Munetaka Murakami took over the game with the Swallows trailing 2-0 in the fifth against Katsunori Hirai. Murakami reached on a leadoff single, Yakult’s first hit, gambled on the bases to take third when the next batter reached on an error, scored easily on a Yuhei Nakamura single.
Aito Takeda put the Lions up 1-0 in the second with his third homer, a hefty blast off lefty Keiji Takahashi, who issued allowed a run in the fourth on three walks and a single. The Swallows loaded the bases after Murakami scored in the fifth, but Hirai, too, got out of the jam.
A.J. Cole (2-0) worked the sixth for Yakult, Ryuta Konno the seventh, Noboru Shimizu the eighth and Scott McGough the ninth, when he struck out pinch-hitter Takeya Nakamura to strand two runners and secure his 16th save.
BayStars 6, Eagles 1: Keita Sano and Shugo Maki did most of the damage for DeNA at Yokohama Stadium. Trailing 1-0 in the first against Takahisa Hayakawa, Sano doubled and scored on a Maki sac fly. The lefty didn’t give up any more ground, leaving with one out and one on in the sixth with the score tied 1-1.
The normally reliable Sung Chia-hao (2-1), however, got lit up in the seventh. Sano broke the tie with DeNA’s second hit of the inning, an RBI double. With one out, Sung walked Toshiro Miyazaki on five pitches before the next one ended up in the stands as Maki’s 15th home run.
The second-year second baseman singled in an insurance run in the eighth. Brooks Kriske (1-1), who struck out one in two innings of relief, earned his first win in Japan.
Dragons 4, Hawks 2: At Nagoya Dome, Hiroto Takahashi allowed two runs over six innings while striking out 10 and career utility infielder Hayato Misowaki brought Chunichi from a run down in the seventh by scoring Toshiki Abe and Shuhei Takahashi with a two-out two-run pinch-hit double off Yuki Tsumori (4-2).
Tigers 3, Fighters 0: At Koshien Stadium, Koyo Aoyagi (6-1) struck out eight over eight innings and Suguru Iwazaki worked around a one-out ninth-inning hit to record his 11th save and complete the five-hit shutout.
Yusuke Oyama singled in Takumu Nakano with two outs in the fourth to open the scoring against Toshihiro Sugiura (2-5). Seishiro Sakamoto singled with one out in the fifth, before two-out singles by Kairi Shimada, Nakano and Koji Chikamoto made it 3-0.
Buffaloes 3, Carp 2: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (6-3) allowed two runs, one earned, over seven innings on three hits and a walk, Takahiro Okada broke a 2-2 eighth-inning tie with an RBI single, 22-year-old rookie Hitomi Honda worked the eighth and 38-year-old Yoshihisa Hirano the ninth to collect his 16th save.
Yutaro Sugimoto opened the scoring with his fifth home run, off Masato Morishita (4-3) in the first, but the Carp took the lead in the seventh on a one-out Ryan McBroom walk, a Shogo Sakakura triple and an error.
Giants vs Marines: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Swallows vs Lions: Jingu Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
BayStars vs Eagles: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Dragons vs Hawks: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Tigers vs Fighters: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Carp vs Buffaloes: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT
Active roster moves 6/4/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/14
|Giants||P||12||Rubby De La Rosa|