The Buffaloes and Eagles went into Monday’s games poised to sweep their series and completely throw the PL pennant race in complete disarray, while DeNA played the Giants in the only CL game that was not disrupted by a typhoon, and needing a win to shave a half-game off the idle Yakult Swallows’ lead.
Let’s get to ‘em.
Buffaloes 5, Hawks 4, 10 innings: At Osaka Dome, Masataka Yoshida drove in four runs, including two with a first-inning home run, his 19th, off Nao Higashihama, who allowed four in two-plus innings. Yoshida’s third-inning RBI single made it 4-0 and chased the Hawks starter.
The Hawks came back with three runs in the fourth off Daiki Tajima, who managed SoftBank’s hitters for three innings before back-to-back fourth-inning singles. A Yuma Mune throwing error scored one, a groundout scored another, and a Taisei Makihara single made it a one-run game.
An Akira Nakamura bases-loaded single tied it and the go-ahead run scored on a passed ball. The Buffaloes tied it against Livan Moinelo on a two-out Yoshida single. Mune, who said afterward that he felt it was his game to stamp his mark on for good or bad, and his third single, won it off Colin Rea (5-6) in the 10th.
Eagles 6, Lions 4, 11 innings: At Seibu Dome, there was another blown save, by Yuki Matsui, and another sweep with a former Lion, Hideto Asamura, doing the final damage with an 11th-inning tie-breaking homer, his 27th, off Tatsushi Masuda (2-5), who surrendered his fourth home run in five games.
The game was close, but really shouldn’t have been since the Eagles did what they do best, draw walks, seven, in addition to out-hitting the Lions 13-6, while leaving 12 runners on base.
Tetsuya Utsumi faced the first Eagles hitter in his retirement game, and ended his career by retiring Tsuyoshi Yamasaki on five pitches, and I’m going to miss him. Utsumi was one of my favorite interviews, always honest, always original.
I’ll never forget the day after he came after a long layoff, he pitched the Giants past the Swallows in the Climax Series at Jingu and I remember him saying his legs were shaking he was so nervous before the start of the game.
Marines 7, Fighters 4: At Sapporo Dome, Takayuki Kato (7-7) worked a 1-2-3 first and was rewarded with four-run six-hit inning in the bottom of the inning against Lotte’s Shota Suzuki (1-3). Kato then completed his six-hit shutout.
Giants 5, BayStars 3: At Tokyo Dome, Shota Imanaga (10-4) surrendered four home runs, a game-tying leadoff homer in the second, Sho Nakata’s fourth in five games and 23rd of the season, Takumi Oshiro’s 13th to cap the three-run inning, a fourth-inning Gregory Polanco solo homer, his 23rd and Yoshihiro Maru’s 27th in sixth.
The power supply overshadowed seven innings from Tomoyuki Sugano (9-6), who allowed a first-inning run on five hits and a walk while striking out nine.
Tuesday’s starting pitchers
Fighters vs Hawks: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Lions vs Eagles: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Marines vs Buffaloes: Chiba Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Carp vs Dragons: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 9/19/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/29