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We had a full slate of games on Tuesday, with two teams rallying to remain unbeaten in their final at-bats, while two teams remain winless. Tsuyoshi Shinjo did what he does best, make an entrance, while Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu assured us that he does not make his moves randomly.
We’ve got games and news, starting pitchers and roster moves, so let’s get started, shall we?
In what should be their final home opener at Sapporo Dome, manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo made an entrance.
Lions 4, Fighters 0: At Sapporo Dome, Hotaka Yamakawa hit his third and fourth home runs of the season, and the Lions’ second draft pick, Junsuke Sato (1-0) allowed four hits and a walk while striking out two. Arismendy Alcantara had a pair of the Fighters’ seven hits but was tagged out on the bases in an inning-ending double play, while starter Naoyuki Uwasawa (0-1) allowed four runs over eight innings while striking out seven.
The Lions’ Takumi Kuriyama walked, singled, scored a run, and drove in one with a sac fly.
Hawks 2, Marines 1, 10 innings: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Hawks pinch-runner Isami Nomura got a good jump and barely scored the go-ahead run on a groundball in the top of the 10th and Yuito Mori retired the Marines in order in the 10th for his third save.
Hawks starter Shuta Ishikawa did not allow a hit until Toshiya Sato singled with two outs in the seventh. Livan Moinelo allowed the tying run to score in the seventh on a walk, a stolen base, and an Akito Takabe single.
Free-agent acquisition Katsuki Matayoshi (1-0) stranded two in the ninth to earn his first PL win. Kenta Imamiya singled and scored SoftBank’s first run, off Enny Romero, doubled, and plated the go-ahead run in the 10th.
Eagles 2, Buffaloes 1: At Osaka Dome, Masahiro Tanaka (1-0) allowed a run on four hits over six innings, striking out six and walking none. After a 2021 season in which the Eagles rarely scored from him, rookie catcher Yuma Yasuda blasted a game-tying fifth-inning homer, his first.
The Buffaloes backed lefty Daiki Tajima with a third-inning run on a Kotaro Kurebayashi single, a sacrifice and a Breyvic Valera double in a 2-for-4 game.
The Eagles, however, scraped out another run against reliever Yuta Kuroki (0-1), pitching in the majors for the first time in four years. First baseman Rangel Ravelo mishandled a grounder when he looked to force the runner at the plate, allowing the run to score on the error.
New Orix import Jesse Biddle issued a leadoff walk in the Eagles’ eighth, and gave up Jose Marmolejos’ second hit of the game but struck out two of the next three he faced to strand two.
Alan Busenitz struck out the last two Orix hitters in the eighth but left after two singles. A walk by Hayato Yuge loaded the bases but Naoto Nishiguchi retired cleanup hitter Yutaro Sugimoto to end the inning. Yuki Matsui struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save.
Giants 5, Swallows 3: At Jingu Stadium, Swallows skipper Takatsu yanked right-hander Yasunobu Okugawa after throwing 53 pitches in a 1-1 game. Afterward, Takatsu assured us it was not random.
“I had a reason, but I’m not saying,” he said.
Yakult took a lead against Shosei Togo (1-0) in the first on a leadoff walk, a wild pitch and a Norichika Aoki single. The Giants tied it against Okugawa in the fourth on Kazuma Okamoto’s second homer.
Shogo allowed two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out 10 over seven innings.
The game turned on a sixth-inning Swallows pitching and defense implosion. A close fielder’s choice on a sacrifice loaded the bases after back-to-back no-out walks by Koshiro Sakamoto (0-1). With one out, rookie shortstop Hideki Nagaoka bobbled a double-play groundball, and Seiya Matsubara found the gap with a three-run triple.
The Swallows came close to getting back in it. Domingo Santana walked to open the seventh and scored and singled to load the bases in the eighth, when Yakult got one run, but failed to get more thanks to a great stop at first from Sho Nakata.
Rookie Giants closer Taisei Ota allowed a hit in the ninth but earned his third save.
Carp 3, Tigers 2: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Ryoma Nishikawa singled twice, walked, scored the first run, and drove in two in the ninth to extend Hiroshima’s win streak to four.
Yuki Nishi, the first regular member of the Tigers rotation we’ve seen this year, and Allen Kuri each 6-2/3 innings. Kuri might have allowed more, but rookie Takumu Kurohara struck out Tigers captain Kento Itohara to end Hanshin’s seventh with runners on second and third in his major league debut.
The Tigers, shut out in their last two games, loaded the bases in the sixth on three straight singles and scored on a groundout and a sac fly.
New Tiger Kyle Keller (0-2) surrendered new Carp Ryan McBroom’s first hit in Japan to open the ninth on a hanging curve. After a stolen base, a strikeout, and a 12-pitch walk, Hisayoshi Chono loaded the bases with a hard chopper back through the box that Keller couldn’t field.
Nishikawa then smoked a liner to the wall off new pitcher Atsuki Yuasa to end it.
BayStars 4, Dragons 0: At Nagoya Dome, Fernando Romero (1-0) worked eight scoreless innings, Shugho Maki plated Taishi Kusumoto with a two-run third-inning homer off Shinosuke Ogasawara (0-1). Masayuki Kuwahara, who doubled twice, singled and walked, scored on a Kusumoto single in the fifth and a ninth-inning Toshiro Miyazaki sac fly as the BayStars earned their first win.
Wednesday’s starting pitchers
Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Eagles: Osaka Dome) 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Swallows vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Dragons vs BayStars: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Carp vs Tigers: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 3/29/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/8