NPB news: May 3, 2024

Rakuten’s Takahisa Hayakawa got a lot of help and made the most of it. Munetaka Murakami is now two homers shy of becoming the youngest player to hit 200 in Japan.

Friday’s games

BayStars 2, Carp 0: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Katsuki Azuma (3-0) worked 7-1/3 innings, Hiromu Ise stranded the tying runs in scoring position, and Kohei Morihara worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his sixth save as the BayStars won their third straight.

A hit batsman and a Keita Sano double set up a first-inning run off Makoto Aduwa (2-1), and three singles from Yota Kyoda, Yudai Yamamoto and Taiki Sekine set up Masayuki Kuwahara‘s second-inning sacrifice fly. The Carp are winless in four straight with two losses and two ties.

Eagles 12, Marines 1: At Miyagi Stadium, Takahisa Hayakawa (2-3) struck out eight over the distance for Rakuten.

Daichi Suzuki sparked a four-run second against his old team with a leadoff single. Ryosuke Tatsumi tripled off Yuji Nishino (2-3), whose two-out walk to Hiroto Kobukata kept the inning alive for Yuya Ogo to single in one before Kazuki Murabayashi’s triple made it 4-0. Murabayashi singled in the fifth and scored on Hideto Asamura‘s third home run. In the Eagles’ four-run seventh, he singled and scored on a Hiroaki Shimauchi double.

Fighters 3, Buffaloes 0: At Osaka UFO Dome, Kenya Suzuki (1-1) made a 5-1/3-inning “short start,” pulled before his third time through the lineup having allowed two walks and a single before five relievers completed the four-hit shutout with Seigi Tanaka earning his sixth save.

A two-out walk, and an Ariel Martinez single set the table for Nippon Ham’s three-run first inning off Kohei Azuma (1-2), with two scoring on a Chusei Mannami double and one on a Yuya Gunji single.

Swallows 5, Dragons 3, 11 innings: At Jingu “Tokyo’s Sacrifice to Corporate Greed and Governmental Malfeasance” Stadium, Yakult center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi returned to the outfield for the first time since suffering lower back pain six days earlier, and then clubbed a walk-off 11th-inning home run as Yakult beat Chunichi.

Yakult’s Haruki Nishikawa was hit by a pitch from Humberto Mejia to lead off the first, scored on Domingo Santana‘s double, and delivered Hideki Nagaoka with a second-inning sacrifice fly. Munetaka Murakami‘s seventh home run made it 3-0 in the third.

Entering Saturday’s games, Murakami had two of the eight opposite-field homers hit this year. Saturday’s was his third, and the 198th homer of his career and his 100th at Jingu.

Kaito Muramatsu got Chunichi on the board against Yasuhiro Ogawa in the seventh with his third single of the game and the Dragons’ fourth straight to open the inning, while a second run scored on a double play. Sho Nakata tied it in the eighth with his third home run.  Ogawa allowed two runs on nine hits but no walks over six-plus innings.

Lions 1, Hawks 0: At the domed stadium formerly known as “Prince,” rookie lefty Natsuki Takeuchi (2-0) struck out eight over eight innings, and Albert Abreu secured his seventh save as Seibu won its second straight. Ryosuke Otsu (3-1) allowed the only run on three hits and three walks over six innings.

Giants 8, Tigers 5: At Tokyo Ugly Dome, Yomiuri jumped all over rookie Keito Mombetsu (0-1) to snap Hanshin’s four-game unbeaten run, and the Giants’ three-game losing streak. The 19-year-old lefty retired the first two batters he faced before allowing Naoki Yoshikawa‘s double and a walk followed by four straight RBI singles. A two-out error by Sheldon Neuse in the second set the table for Kazuma Okamoto, who hit his fifth home run. Yusuke Oyama homered twice for the Tigers.

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