Japanese baseball had its first Roki Sasaki Friday as the Marines wunderkind matched up against Hawks ace Kodai Senga, who was working on five days rest, and while that pitchers’ duel lived up to its billing, the real deal was in Nagoya, where Yudai Ono was denied a perfect game because the Chunichi Dragons couldn’t score until the 10th inning against Koyo Aoyagi.
Shall we get started?
Dragons 1, Tigers 0, 10 innings: At Nagoya Dome, Yudai Ono (2-3) retired the first 29 batters he faced before losing his perfect game on a 10th-inning Teruaki Sato double, and had to settle for a one-hit extra-inning shutout. That was what he needed to beat Koyo Aoyagi (3-1), who allowed two hits and a walk through nine but took the complete-game loss.
Daiki Mitsumata doubled with one out and scored on rookie Takaya Ishikawa’s walk-off single.
Ono struck out five without allowing a walk in his 120-pitch gem. Aoyagi allowed five hits and two walks while striking out six over 9-1/3 innings.
By my records, it is the first time two pitchers have worked extra-inning complete games against each other since Yakult’s Shohei Tateyama lost 1-0 to the BayStars’ current manager, Daisuke Miura on July 13, 2007.
Hawks 5, Marines 3, 11 innings: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Marines closer Naoya Masuda allowed a leadoff runner in the ninth on an uncaught third strike before Hanshin Tigers discard Masahiro Nakatani’s two-run pinch-hit home run tied it.
Yurisbel Gracial’s fourth hit of the game drove in Masaki Mimori off reliever Yasuhiro Tanaka (0-1) in the 11th and another run scored on a wild pitch as the Hawks eked out a win after coming up on the short side of the pitchers’ duel between Roki Sasaki and Kodai Senga.
Sasaki allowed a run on six hits and a walk while striking out 11 as his fastball averaged a career-high 100.4 mph over six innings. Working without his best command, Sasaki threw some pitches the Hawks were able to square up, but he caught a break when left fielder Tsuyoshi Sugano threw a runner out at the plate in the first inning.
Senga pitched out of a tough spot in the first and got a fourth-inning lead on doubles from Tatsuru Yanagimachi and Kenta Imamiya. Senga’s luck ran out in the fifth. Koki Yamaguchi doubled in Akito Takabe to tie it with one out. With runners on second and third, the pitcher got a sharp come-backer from Sugano but couldn’t handle it, the ball deflected off his glove and into shallow left and scored two runs.
The Marines nearly iced the game but Hisanori Yasuda doubled into a double play, as Yanagimachi threw out Sugano at the plate, and catcher Takuya Kai gunned down Yasuda trying for third to end the inning.
Daiki Tojo worked a scoreless seventh for Lotte as did Tayron Guerrero, despite giving up three hits. The right-hander got one out when he tagged out Yuki Yanagita down the first-base line after the Hawks start thought about going to second on a wild throw to first.
Lions 5, Fighters 0: At Seibu Dome, Kona Takahashi (3-2) struck out eight over seven innings, and 27-year-old rookie Tsubasa Nabatame (0-1) loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman, setting the table for Shuta Tonosaki to single home the game’s first run, and for Kenta Uehara to walk in another. Hotaka Yamakawa completed the scoring with a two-run eighth-inning home run. Yamakawa’s 12 homer moved him past Yomiuri’s Kazuma Okamoto for Japan’s major league lead.
Swallows 13, Giants 2: At Tokyo Dome, Munetaka Murakami broke a 1-1 third-inning tie with his eighth home run, a grand slam off rookie right-hander Kenshin Hotta (1-2). Adam Walker tied it 1-1 in the Giants’ first with his sixth homer, off Juri Hara (3-2), and Jose Osuma hit his third, a solo shot in the fifth for Yakult.
Hara allowed seven hits over seven innings, striking out three and walking none as Yakult moved to within a half-game of first place. Eagles starter Ryota Takinaka allowed two runs in the first but held the fort for five further innings to keep the game close.
BayStars 4, Carp 3, 11 innings: At Hiroshima Citizen’s stadium, Shugo Maki capped a three-run first inning for DeNA with a two-run homer, his eighth of the season and third in three days. Shogo Sakakura had a first-inning sac fly and tied it 3-3 in the third when he singled in Ryoma Nishikawa, who drove in the Carp’s other first-inning run.
Yasutaka Tobashira singled to open the 11th off Sotaro Shimauchi (0-2) and Kazuki Kamizato tripled in the go-ahead run in the 11th. Kazuki Mishima (2-1) worked the 10th to earn the win and Yasuaki Yamasaki collected his third save.
Eagles 3, Buffaloes 2: At Osaka Dome, Haruki Nishikawa’s two-out eighth-inning triple off Jesse Biddle tied the game 2-2, Alan Busenitz (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 eighth for Rakuten, Daichi Suzuki hit his first home run of the year, off Orix closer Yoshihisa Hirano (2-2) in the ninth, and Yuki Matsui retired the tail-end of the Buffaloes’ order in the ninth for his ninth save.
Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima allowed a first-inning homer to Hideto Asamura, his sixth, and left after seven with a 2-1 lead
Lions vs Fighters: Seibu Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Marines vs Hawks: Chiba Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Eagles: Osaka Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Carp vs BayStars: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Active roster moves 5/6/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/16