There were six games on Thursday, as Drew Anderson made a winning Japan debut for the Hiroshima Carp. We also had one unusual play, while Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu reminded us he is a slave to convention and Dragons manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami gave further evidence that his patience is limited.
Elsewhere, Tomoyuki Sugano, who left last Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Hanshin Tigers with discomfort in his right elbow is expected to make his next start on Tuesday against the DeNA BayStars, pitching coach Masumi Kuwata said, according to Sankei Sports.
It was also Roki Eve, with Roki Sasaki poised to return to the mound Friday for the Lotte Marines against the SoftBank Hawks, who were propelled into the weekend by a vintage start from
Shall we get started?
BayStars 10, Dragons 2: At Yokohama Stadium, Chunichi played remarkably like last year’s team, loading the bases without scoring three times, while Shugo Maki hit his seventh home run, and his second three-run homer in two games, one of four hit by DeNA.
Rookie Taisei Irie (1-0), the BayStars top draft pick in 2020, struck out four in two scoreless innings to earn his first career win, while Dragons manager Tatsunami appears to be running out of patience with another of his regulars.
A day after banishing shortstop Yota Kyoda for a) not hitting and b) starting a hard play at shortstop but dropping the ball, Tatsunami said it’s time for Dayan Viciedo to either hit or get off (the cleanup) spot after all of 11 plate appearances without a hit, and said he needs to alter his style slightly or he won’t hit.
Tigers 3, Swallows 2: At Koshien Stadium, the Tigers easily should have blown this game open early, but had to settle for a ninth-inning gift, when Yakult manager Shingo Takatsu’s two intentional walks set up a game-winning bases-loaded walk.
The Tigers came within inches of taking the lead in the second, but luck intervened in the form of Hirotoshi Takanashi’s foot. With two outs and the bases loaded, Ryutaro Umeno drove a pitch up the middle only for the Yakult right-hander to make a kick save, deflect the ball straight to a fielder, turning a two-run single into an inning-ending double play.
Takanashi had little command and was constantly in trouble. The Tigers tied it 2-2 in the fifth, when Taichi Ishiyama relieved Takanashi but had no more luck locating his pitches.
Joe Gunkel allowed two runs, one earned, over five innings, while Mel Rojas Jr. singled and drew the game-tying walk for the Tigers.
Carp 3, Giants 0: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Drew Anderson (1-0) allowed Yomiuri’s only hit over seven innings, in which he struck out seven and walked none in his Japan debut, and two relievers each faced the minimum with Ryoji Kuribayashi getting his sixth save.
Carp rookie Kento Nakamura singled in the fifth and scored the first of two Hiroshima runs off C.C. Mercedes (4-1), while Takashi Iwamoto singled and doubled and scored both times for the Carp.
Eagles 8, Fighters 4: At Sapporo Dome, Nippon Ham continued to hit home runs, with Daiki Asama hitting a two-run shot in the first inning off Takayuki Kishi (3-0, his second, and Kotaro Kiyomiya hit a pair of solo homers for Nippon Ham, his third and fourth. The second one tied it 4-4 in the fourth, but the Fighters threw away a scoring chance in the fifth, failed to take the lead and never got another opportunity.
Hiroaki Shimauchi doubled twice, walked, singled and scored three runs, the first when José Marmolejos single him home in the second to trim the Fighters’ lead to a run. Fighter starter Hiromi Ito (3-3) walked three batters in the fifth, and all of them scored. He allowed two straight one-out singles in the sixth before Ryosuke Tatsumi beat out a safety squeeze to break the tie. Ginjiro Sumitani then squeezed in an insurance run.
Marmolejos had an RBI double in the seventh.
Nippon rookie Tatsuki Mizuno got an education in the fifth inning. After his leadoff double, the Fighters burned an out to sacrifice him from scoring position into a better scoring position. Nippon Ham tried a run-and-hit with a 2-0 count on Go Matsumoto. Although a good contact hitter, Matsumoto appeared to be looking for a fastball, but swung and missed at a big hanging curve, resulting in a rundown and an easy putout at the plate.
Lions 7, Marines 0: At Seibu Dome, the Marines, in anticipation of Roki Sasaki’s start, appear to have been saving up all their runs for him, because they didn’t have a single one to spare Manabu Mima (0-4) against Seibu.
Submarine right-hander Kaito Yoza (2-1) who starred in long relief in Seibu’s win over SoftBank a week earlier, went six innings without a walk in his second start of the season.
Yuji Kaneko doubled in the third and scored the ice-breaker on a Sosuke Genda single, and Takeya Nakamura dealt the first of two late hammer blows. Fearing a two-out two-run home run by Hotaka Yamakawa would spoil their chances, the Marines walked Yamakawa intentionally ahead of Nakamura’s first homer of the season.
Yamakawa, however, still got his cuts, hitting his 11th with none on in the Lions’ three-run eighth.
Hawks 9, Buffaloes 3: At Fukuoka Dome, Tsuyoshi Wada allowed a run on three hits over five innings while striking out seven and walking none, while Colin Rea (2-2) didn’t allow a hit or a walk over three innings of relief to earn the win. Jacob Waguespack (0-1) gave up three runs, two earned over 5-2/3 innings to take the loss for Orix.
When Yuki Yanagita is not hitting home runs, he is drawing walks. He drew three on Thursday and scored twice. Twenty-five-year-old rookie Tatsuru Yanagimachi drove he and Yurisbel Gracial in with a tie-breaking sixth-inning double, and SoftBank sent 10 batters to the plate in a six-run seventh.
Lions vs Fighters: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Marines vs Hawks: Chiba Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Eagles: Osaka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Carp vs BayStars: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 5/5/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/15