NPB news: Sept. 16, 2022

We entered the weekend with the Central League-leading Yakult Swallows having a magic number of 10 and Munetaka Murakami on fire as they went into their game against the Chunichi Dragons, who have won 12 of their first 21 games.

In the Pacific League, the SoftBank Hawks are in a similar position, with Yuki Yanagita on fire, and having won five straight.

The games:

Hawks 7, Eagles 3: At Miyagi Stadium, Yuki Yanagita hit a three-run first-inning home run off Hideaki Wakui (4-2) his 20th of the season and his second in two days. Former closer Yuito Mori worked three innings and allowed a solo homer to Rakuten catcher Hikaru Ota in the third. Daichi Suzuki made it a one-run game in the fourth when he doubled in Hideto Asamura off Keisuke Izumi.

Alfredo Despaigne, who was robbed of a two-run double in the fifth by left fielder Haruki Nishikawa, broke the game open with a two-out three-run home run that Nishikawa couldn’t get to, off Sung Chia-hao after an error prolonged the inning. Yanagita was drilled with a pitch in the fifth, struck out in the seventh and pulled for a defensive replacement.

Fighters 6, Buffaloes 3: At Osaka Dome, Orix took a 1-0 lead on Masataka Yoshida’s third-inning RBI single off Conner Menez (1-0). Former Fighters closer Hirotoshi Masui (0-2) started for Orix and gave up the lead after stranding six runners through the first four innings.

A one-out walk and a Daigo Kawakamibata single set up a Go Matsumoto sac fly off new pitcher Ryota Muranishi, who walked Kensuke Kondo and surrendered a Kotaro Kiyomiya three-run homer, his 16th.

Kosei Yoshida replaced Menez, who appeared to be hurt after losing his balance on a pitch, with two outs in the sixth and surrendered Yuma Mune’s solo homer. The visitors put it out of reach in a two-run eighth on a homer by Ryota Yachi and an RBI triple from rookie Ryohei Hosokawa.

Like a lot of import players over the years, Menez failed to see eye to eye with home plate umpire Katsumi Manabe, which led to the ump warning him, and then having a spaz when Menez wanted a new ball, which caused Manabe to have a chat with manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo.

The Buffaloes’ loss cut the Hawks’ magic number to nine. But if they’re going to lower it on Saturday, they’ll have to get past Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Dragons 8, Swallows 0: At Nagoya Dome, Yudai Ono (7-8) allowed one hit and two walks while striking out seven over seven innings, and Yakult starter Hirotoshi Takanashi (7-8) got hammered for the third straight start.

Munetaka Murakami was held to a walk in four plate appearances.

“He hit me well the last time I faced him, and I knew that if I didn’t shut him down, we weren’t going to win,” Ono said.

He struggled in the second and got two outs in the third before issuing back-to-back walks. A Dayan Viciedo single loaded the bases, Takahashi walked Takuya Kinoshita to put the first run on the board and Ariel Martinez blasted the next pitch high off the center-field wall for a three-run double.

Yuki Okabayashi singled and doubled and drove in three runs.

Carp 5, BayStars 3: At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA took a first-inning lead off Daichi Osera when Masayuki Kuwahara doubled and scored on a Taishi Ota single. Hiroshima made it 2-1 in the top of the sixth on RBI doubles by Ryoma Nishikawa and Ryuhei Matsuyama off Haruhiro Hamaguchi (7-6).

That lead didn’t last. With two outs in the home half, Toshiro Miyazaki singled and Neftali Soto hit his 15th home run. Kaito Kozono singled to open Hiroshima’s seventh and Tsubasa Aizawa chased Hamaguchi with an RBI double. Ryutaro Hatsuki singled in the go-ahead run off Hiromu Ise and scored on a Ryan McBroom single.

Daisuke Moriura (5-3), who struck out Kozono with a runner on to end the sixth, earned the win. Ryoji Kuribayashi got his 31st save after loading the bases in a scoreless ninth.

The BayStars’ loss trimmed Yakult’s magic number to nine.

Saturday’s starting pitchers

Fighters vs Marines: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hiromi Ito (10-9, 2.97) vs Kota Futaki (2-3, 3.29)

Lions vs Eagles: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Wataru Matsumoto (6-5, 3.32) vs Masahiro Tanaka (8-10, 3.27)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Osaka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (13-5, 1.80) vs Yugo Bando (2-2, 4.46)

Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shosei Togo (11-6, 2.69) vs Yuki Nishi (9-8, 2.09)

BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kosuke Sakaguchi (-) vs Shogo Tamamura (2-2, 3.69)

Dragons vs Swallows: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (8-8, 3.01) vs Cy Sneed (8-6, 3.96)

Active roster moves 9/16/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/26

Central League


SwallowsP14Hirotoshi Takanashi
SwallowsIF5Shingo Kawabata

Pacific League


BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui
BuffaloesP46Hitomi Honda
EaglesP49Masaya Nishigaki
FightersC65Yuki Umebayashi


BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo
BuffaloesOF99Yutaro Sugimoto
MarinesP47Yasuhiro Tanaka
EaglesP29Koichi Takada
FightersC10Yushi Shimizu

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