NPB news: March 26, 2022

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We had five games on Saturday after the Marines and Eagles were rained out in Sendai.

A day after Carp ace Daichi Osera singled in a run, Hiroshima pitcher Masato Morishita singled and scored early on Saturday, causing me to tweet that CL pitchers might be working overtime to avoid the introduction of a designated hitter.

Well within a few minutes of that, the shit, as they say, got real.

Morishita added a two-run double and an RBI single, rookie Giants pitcher Iori Yamasaki opened his pro career with a game-tying RBI infield single only for Dragons starter Akiyoshi Katsuno to put Chunichi ahead with a two-run homer, his first as a pro, while Swallows lefty Keiji Takahashi singled and scored.

DH my ass.

Giants 7, Dragons 5: At Tokyo Dome, four eighth-inning walks from the Giants bullpen helped the Dragons build on Katsuno’s fifth-inning homer to make it 5-2, a lead the Dragons’ bullpen couldn’t hold.

With two outs, the game tied 5-5 and a runner on second, new Dragons skipper Kazuyoshi Tatsunami pulled his outfield in, and a fly to the warning track that center fielder Yohei Oshima would normally have gotten to for the third out fell untouched as the Giants added two more runs.

No matter how many times this backfires, no Japanese manager will ever be criticized for a move that so frequently fails, because playing for one run is Japan’s holy grail.

Adam Walker tacked on a run with a pinch-hit RBI double in his first Japan at-bat.

A day after loading the bases in a scoreless pro debut, the Giants’ top draft pick last autumn, Taisei Ota, worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his second save.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Swallows 6, Tigers 0: At Osaka Dome, Keiji Takahashi (1-0) scored the first run, while pitching out of a two-out bases-loaded seventh-inning jam. The lefty struck out eight, walked one, and hit two while allowing two hits.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Yakult snapped a scoreless tie against inexperienced right-hander Ippei Ogawa (0-1), who like Opening Day starter Shintaro Fujinami is standing in with the Tigers rotation decimated by injury and illness.

Ogawa allowed three base runners through five innings, but Santana singled off a 2-0 cutter with two outs and the bases loaded. A couple of scratch singles made it 4-0, and Jose Osuna’s third hit of the game, a two-run ninth-inning homer completed the scoring.

Carp 10, BayStars 5: In a game played without imports at Yokohama Stadium, Kaito Kozono and Ryuhei Matsuyama each scored twice and drove in a run, while Takashi Uemoto scored one and drove in two and Ryosuke Kikuchi homered for Hiroshima.

Morishita (1-0) allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits but no walks over eight innings. BayStars starter Shinichi Onuki (0-1) coughed up seven runs over four-plus innings.

The BayStars became the first CL team to allow 10-plus runs in each of their first two games.

“They got a few too many hits,” manager Daisuke Miura said after surrendering 31 in two games.

Lions 5, Buffaloes 0: Seibu’s top draft pick from last autumn, Chihiro Sumida (1-0) walked three while striking out five over seven scoreless innings, while Hotaka Yamakawa’s three-run first-inning homer did most of the damage against last year’s PL rookie of the year, Hiroya Miyagi (0-1), who gave up four runs over five innings.

Rangel Ravelo got Orix’s only hit of the game, while Brian O’Grady had a pair of hits for the Lions.

Hawks 6, Fighters 3: At Fukuoka Dome, Nao Higashihama (1-0) allowed two runs over six innings on solo homers by Arismendy Alcantara, while Ryoya Kurihara hit a solo home run and had a two-run infield single in the Hawks’ five-run fifth as the Fighters opened the season with their second straight bullpen game.

Kotaro Kiyomiya’s ninth-inning home run, Renato Nunez’s two-out walk and a Daiki Asama single drove journeyman reliever Koya Fujii from the mound, and Yuito Mori converted the save after walking the bases loaded.

The Fighters have now hit four homers in two games, 5.12 percent of their PL-worst season total of 78 in 2021, so Tsuyoshi Shinjo may have a season full of spinning ahead of him.

Sunday’s starting pitchers

Sunday, weather permitting, the Marines will launch Tohoku native Roki Sasaki’s season, and I’m all in.

Eagles vs Marines: Miyagi Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Takayuki Kishi (9-10, 3.44) vs Roki Sasaki (3-2, 2.27)

Lions vs Buffaloes: Seibu Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yutaro Watanabe (4-4, 3.44) vs Soichiro Yamazaki (2-2, 3.69)

Hawks vs Fighters: Fukuoka Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Kazuki Sugiyama (2-2, 3.20) vs Kosei Yoshida (0-1, 9.00)

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuji Akahoshi (-) vs Yuya Yanagi (11-6, 2.20)

BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuya Sakamoto (4-6, 5.25) vs Atsushi Endo (0-0, 6.75)

Tigers vs Swallows: Osaka Dome) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takuma Kirishiki (-) vs Hirotoshi Takanashi (4-1, 3.63)

Active roster moves 3/26/2022

Central League


SwallowsP47Keiji Takahashi

Pacific League


FightersP28Ryusei Kawano

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