NPB news: May 23, 2024

The SoftBank Hawks deactivated Tsuyoshi Wada a day after he threw seven sparkling innings in a 12-0 demolition of the Eagles, while Rakuten’s starter, Kosei Shoji, was also sent down after not making it out of the five-run first inning.

I think I need to write about how Japan’s roster activation-deactivation system creates another cushion for players here that makes it that much more stressful for pitchers to adapt in MLB.

We also had three games ahead of the final weekend before interleague play begins next week.

Thursday’s games:

BayStars 5, Swallows 2: At Jingu “Tokyo’s sacrifice to corporate greed and political malfeasance” Stadium, DeNA’s Tyler Austin homered and drove in three runs in three different innings, and Kenta Ishida (2-2) won a left-handed duel with Keiji Takahashi (1-2) as Yakult dropped its fifth straight, and the BayStars completed a three-game sweep.

Austin plated Tatsuo Ebina with a first-inning flare single off Keiji Takahashi, and made up for that awkward hit with a blast deep into the stands to lead off the fourth, hitting the lefty’s second pitch after he spent the bottom of the third on the bases. Toshiro Miyazaki followed with a double and scored on Yamato Maeda‘s sacrifice fly. Austin struck again with a fifth-inning RBI single off Tomoya Hoshi who left the bases loaded.

Kenta Ishida cruised through six innings before surrendering back-to-back homers to Munetaka Murakami and Domingo Santana as the Swallows strove toward achieving their 12th one-run loss of the season on Murakami’s RBI single in the eighth. DeNA

Keito Mori spoiled that scenario in the ninth when he doubled and scored on Masayuki Kuwahara‘s single, and Kohei Morihara worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 12th save.

Buffaloes 9, Fighters 3: At Kitahiroshima Taxpayers Burden Field, the Buffaloes, who entered Thursday’s game with the PL’s fifth weakest offense, found their offensive gear against Kenta Uehara (0-2) to salvage the finale of their three-game series. Orix opened the game with back-to-back three-run innings. Taishi Hirooka walked and doubled and scored twice, while Keita Nakagawa singled and scored in each inning. Tomoya Mori and Ryoma Nishikawa both singled in a run in each inning.

The fifth was home run inning, with Buffaloes catcher Kenya Wakatsuki hitting a two-run shot and Ariel Martinez answering with a three-run blast of Orix’s third pitcher, Hiroshi Suzuki. Former Fighters Kosei Yoshida worked around two hits in a scoreless ninth for Orix.

Tigers 2, Carp 1: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Takumu Nakano singled in the first, stole second, and scored the opening run against Thomas Hatch (0-3) on Yusuke Oyama’s jam-shot single. Takayoshi Noma and Ryosuke Kikuchi, who had two of the Carp’s four hits through seven innings, singled again to set up Hiroshima’s first run in the eighth after Hanshin got six scoreless innings from Yuki Nishi (2-1).

Masaya Yano, who had Hiroshima’s other two singles, singled with one out in the ninth off Javy Guerra and reserve catcher Tomoki Ishihara‘s single put runners on the corners. Guerra got out of the pickle by getting the Carp’s top pinch-hitter, Ryuhei Matsuyama on a game-ending double play to secure his seventh save.

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