NPB news: May 21, 2023

On Sunday in NPB, the best game was a draw, Adam Walker kickstarted the Giants, Lotte was overpowering even on a bullpen day, there was a bases-loaded squeeze, and Nippon Ham’s rookie two-way player, Kota Yazawa, made his big league pitching debut.

Sunday’s games

Tigers 4, Carp 1: At Koshien Stadium, Hiroto Saiki (2-3) returned to the Tigers rotation for the first time since April, and pitched as well as he does when he’s right, striking out seven and walking none while allowing an unearned run in 6-2/3 innings.

Teruaki Sato scored two of the Tigers’ runs, and Ryutaro Umeno walked, singled twice and drove in three. Hiroshima’s Drew Anderson (2-1) allowed two runs, one earned, over 4-1/3 innings.

Tigers-Carp highlights

Marines 6, Eagles 4: At Miyagi Stadium, Lotte turned to a six-pitcher bullpen day after the Marines’ scheduled starter Ryutaro Mori was scratched due to back tightness, and the offense produced in similar fashion with four different players driving in runs.

Gregory Polanco put the visitors on the scoreboard with a first-inning RBI single and Toshiya Sato’s second homer made it 2-0 in the second. Hiromi Oka, doubled in the first run in a four-run sixth as the league leaders put the cellar-dwelling Eagles down.

Lotte’s Luis Perdomo worked the ninth for his first save in Japan.

DenialStars 3, Swallows 3, 12 innings: At Yokohama Stadium, in what soccer writers might call a pulsating draw, the Swallows loaded the bases with the game tied in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings and DeNA held on to the tie.

Munetaka Murakami put Yakult ahead 3-1 in the fourth with his seventh home run, a two-run shot to dead center on what had to be the easiest swing you’ll ever see for a ball that travels that far. Yakult starter Yasuhiro Ogawa left with a 3-2 lead after six innings.

But this one turned into a thriller in which the hosts collected just two base runners after the seventh, while the Swallows stranded 11 over the same five innings even with having two runners thrown out on the bases.

DeNA-Yakult highlights

Hawks 3, Lions 1: At Fukuoka Dome, the play of the day was perhaps a bunt, when Hikaru Kawase pushed one past the pitcher’s mound with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth inning to give Softbank a 3-1 lead with the only hit of the inning.

Giants 5, Dragons 2: At Tokyo Dome, Adam Walker popped a two-run home run, his fourth, and then singled and scored to make it 3-0 in the fourth off Japan WBC pitcher Hiroto Takahashi (1-5).

Adam Walker‘s fourth home run.

Chunichi second-chancer Seiya Hosokawa had another two-hit day with a two-run sixth-inning homer, his third, only for Giants captain Kazuma Okamoto to hit his seventh homer with a man on in the seventh. It was Yomiuri’s fifth straight win.

Buffaloes 10, Fighters 4: At Kyocera Dome, Orix buried submariner Kenya Suzuki (3-2), with new import Leandro Cedeno doubling in two second-inning runs, his first hit and RBIs in major league baseball.

He singled in another run and Keita Nakagawa belted a three-run homer for the Buffaloes. Chusei Mannami and rookie Koki Fukuda homered for the visitors. It was Mannami’s second in two games.

Orix’s Jharel Cotton made his first start in Japan, but was yanked after Fukuda homered with Mannami on base and one out in the fifth.

Kota Yazawa, Nippon Ham’s first draft pick last autumn, entered the day batting .213 in 85 plate appearances, but had yet to pitch. The lefty, who is listed as a pitcher, struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth.

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