On Saturday, the Giants sent Matt Shoemaker to the mound to preserve their Central League lead against the Swallows. The Pacific League also had a matchup between last year’s champs, the Orix Buffaloes and this year’s leaders, the Rakuten Eagles, who on Friday set a franchise record with their eighth consecutive winning decision.
While no one had a game quite on par with Yudai Ono’s gem from the day before there were a few to be had.
Shall we get started?
Swallows 6, Giants 2: At Tokyo Dome, Matt Shoemaker (1-2) walked three, hit two and all but one of those batters scored on home runs by Tetsuto Yamada, his sixth in the first, and Munetaka Murakami, his ninth in the third and his second grand slam in two days as Yakult moved past the Giants into first place.
Murakami is the ninth player to hit grand slams in back-to-back games in Japanese pro baseball.
Keiji Takahashi (3-0), the Swallows’ third pick in the 2015 draft, allowed a first-inning leadoff double to Taishi Hirooka, the Swallows’ second pick that year, before retiring 12 straight. He hit Gregory Polanco to open the Giants’ fifth. A Hiroyuki Nakajima double and a two-run Takumi Oshiro single got the hosts on the board, but Oshiro was out trying for second base.
Dragons 2, Tigers 1: At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi cleanup hitter Dayan Viciedo, publicly criticized by manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami this week for his hitting style, had the second of three Dragons singles as they opened the scoring in the first off Aaron Wilkerson (1-2), and broke a 1-1 third-inning tie with an RBI double.
Teruaki Sato, whose 10th-inning double on Friday was the Tigers’ only hit against Yudai Ono, tripled to open Hanshin’s second against Takahiro Matsuba (1-1) and scored the tying run on a Yusuke Oyama single.
Chunichi’s Taiki Mitsumata, who doubled and scored the winning run on Friday, singled with one out in the third and scored on Viciedo’s double.
The Tigers threatened to bounce back in the fourth. Takumu Nakano doubled, Sato walked, and both advanced on a sacrifice. Matsuba missed up in the zone to Oyama, but the right-handed hitter fired a bullet to third for the second out, before Dan Onodera struck out to end the game’s final scoring opportunity.
Yariel Rodriguez allowed the Tigers’ only other base runner, a two-out eighth-inning single, and Raidel Martinez retired the side in order in the ninth for his eighth save.
Carp 2, BayStars 1: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, DeNA’s Taiga Kamichatani struck out eight over six scoreless innings and singled in the game’s first run off Masato Morishita in the fifth, but Edwin Escobar allowed Shogo Sakura to single in the seventh and score the tying run on Hisayoshi Chono’s pinch-hit sac fly.
Morishita kept the game tied through nine, Makoto Kemna (1-0) worked a scoreless 10th for Hiroshima, and Ryoma Nishikawa won it with his third home run, off Kazuki Mishima (2-2).
Hawks 16, Marines 0: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Masaki Mimori led off the game against Ayumu Ishikawa (3-2) with his fifth home run, and 24-year-old lefty Tomohisa Ozeki worked out of a two-out two-on jam in the home half before going on to complete a three-hitter for his first career shutout. He struck out six and walked one while the Hawks showed little mercy at the plate.
Yuki Yanagita hit a two-run home run, his fifth, in an eight-run ninth inning that would have had snowflake Tony LaRussa screaming bloody murder, but there are no unwritten rules in Japan about beating an opponent to a pulp on the scoreboard.
Eagles 7, Buffaloes 1: At Osaka Dome, Rakuten extended its longest winning streak to nine straight decisions. Hiroaki Shimauchi drew a leadoff walk in the second off Sachiya Yamasaki (0-4), José Marmolejos singled and Daichi Suzuki delivered the ice-breaking sac fly.
Haruki Nishikawa doubled to lead off the third and scored on a double play. Lefty Takahisa Hayakawa (3-1) pitched out of a couple of tight spots in the third and fourth, when Yuma Tongu’s RBI double made it a 2-1 game, but Ginjiro Sumitani doubled in Marmolejos in the sixth, and Shimauchi doubled in two in the seventh.
Fighters 3, Lions 2: At Seibu Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (1-4) struck out eight over seven innings while allowing two runs as Nippon Ham came from behind to get the right-hander his first win. Seibu got five solid innings from 40-year-old Tetsuya Utsumi, who allowed a run in his season debut when Shingo Usami homered in the fifth to cut the Lions’ lead to 2-1. Katsunori Hirai took over in the sixth and surrendered two on singles by Yuma Imagawa and Yuki James Nomura and an Arismendy Alcántara sac fly.
Uwasawa retired the last seven batters he faced, Mizuki Hori worked a 1-2-3 eighth and rookie Koki Kitayama did the same in the ninth for his second save.
Sunday’s starting pitchers
Lions vs Fighters: Seibu Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
Marines vs Hawks: Chiba Marine Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight 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 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT
Active roster moves 5/7/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/17