NPB news: June 8, 2023

Japan’s monthly MVPS for May were announced Thursday, when a last-place club walked-off a league leader, and two 10th-inning homers created an extra-inning butt kicking.

2nd-chancers Otake, Hosokawa honored

Hanshin lefty Kotaro Otake and Chunichi outfielder Seiya Hosokawa won the Central League’s monthly MVP awards Thursday. Both players changed teams in December thanks to the introduction of NPB’s active player draft. Otake had some success with the SoftBank Hawks a few years ago, but entered play Thursday 6-0 this season with a 0.71 ERA. Hosokawa, long a slugging on-base machine for the DeNA BayStars’ Eastern League farm club, has become the Dragons’ most productive hitter.

Otake was 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA in May, and follows rookie Shoki Murata as the team’s second straight pitcher of the month. The 24-year-old Hosokawa led the CL with a .360 average and also led in hits and total bases. He hit five home runs, three at cavernous Nagoya Dome.

For the first time since 2012, the Nippon Ham Fighters swept the PL monthly honors, with Takayuki Kato turning in virtually identical numbers to Otake, 3-0 with a 0.30 ERA, and Chusei Mannami blasting five homers, tying him for the PL lead in May. He entered Thursday’s games leading the PL with 11.

All four players were first-time winners.

Thursday’s games

Dragons 8, Lions 2: At Seibu Dome, Hosokawa celebrated his hitter of the month award by driving in three runs and scoring two against Seibu. His two-run first-inning double opened the scoring and he led off the seventh with his sixth home run of the season. Yuya Yanagi (2-4) allowed two runs over the distance to earn the win for the Dragons.

Carp 7, Fighters 2: At Kitahiroshima Taxpayers’ Burden Field, Robert Corniel (1-4) allowed two runs on three singles and two walks over seven innings. Shogo Sakakura, whose homer accounted for Wednesday’s only run, tripled and tied it 1-1 in the third. A Ryan McBroom infield single and a Sakakura walk to open the fifth sparked a three-run inning of Naoyuki Uwasawa (5-4) with Takayoshi Noma singling in two. An Alen Hanson sac fly in the home half made it 4-2, and Kosuke Tanaka hit a three-run homer in the ninth.

The win completed a three-game Hiroshima sweep in Kitahiroshima.

Eagles 6, Tigers 4: At Miyagi Stadium, Hiroto Kobukata hit the first pitch he saw from Atsuki Yuasa (0-1) in the ninth with two outs and two on for his 11th career home run as last-place Rakuten walked off the Hanshin Tigers.

Tigers lefty Masashi Ito allowed three runs over seven innings and was given his first lead in the top of the eighth on three unearned runs.

A first-inning Hideto Asamura doubl–that came within millimeters of ending up as the third out in Koji Chikamoto‘s glove–instead plated a run. Ryosuke Tatsumi lashed a third-inning leadoff single and scored on a Yuya Ogo sac fly.

The Tigers got on the board without a run in sixth on two walks and an error, but still trailed by two in the eighth, when Hanshin scored three runs on one hit. A leadoff walk, an error and a Yusuke Oyama double narrowed the gap to a run before two run-scoring outs put the visitors in front.

Finesse lefty Wataru Karashima, whom the Eagles like to wheel out against CL teams in interleague, allowed an unearned run on three hits and two walks over 6-2/3 innings.

Giants 6, Buffaloes 0, 10 innings: At Osaka Dome, Orix reliever Hitomi Honda (1-1) loaded the bases with two outs on an intentional walk to Kazuma Okamoto, and got ahead 0-2 on pinch-hitter Yoshihiro Maru before he hit a 1-2 pitch out to center for his sixth home run and 4-0 Giants lead. Adam Walker added insult to injury with his second homer in two nights.

Marines 3, Swallows 2: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Jose Castillo (1-1) bounced back from a poor first start with seven strikeouts in six impressive innings, Shogo Nakamura hit his fourth home run, off Cy Sneed (4-3) in the third, Toshiya Sato singled in another run in the sixth, and Raito Ikeda doubled and scored in the seventh. Naoya Masuda surrendered a two-run homer in the ninth to Munetaka Murakami, his 11th, but recorded his 15th save.

Deniers 6, Hawks 5: At Fukuoka Dome, Yuito Mori (1-1) made his third start but this one turned into a bullpen game after he allowed five runs in 2-2 innings. With two on and one out in the first, Shugo Maki and Tyler Austin each singled in a run before Maki scored on a groundout.

Taiki Sekine reached base his first three times up, and scored each time. He singled and scored in the third after a Maki double and a sac fly by Austin with Masayuki Kuwahara capping the two-run rally with an RBI single.

Katsuki Azuma (6-2) held the Hawks scoreless until Ryuya Kurihara’s two-run fifth-inning homer made it 6-2. Kensuke Kondo two-run eighth-inning homer made it a two-run game, and Kurihara singled in a run in the ninth off Yasuaki Yamasaki, who hung on for his 14th save.

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