NPB news: Sept. 5, 2023

We had five games Tuesday, with Rakuten and Nippon Ham getting rained out in Sendai. Cy Sneed did his best Shohei Ohtani impression, Yusuke Oyama continued to contribute like he’s raising money for Jerry’s kids, something Carter Stewart Jr. could relate to, and Hiroshima and DeNA played a wild one.

In other news, Buffaloes pitcher Taisuke Yamaoka spouted off, while Orix catcher Kenya Wakatsuki announced what he’ll do with his free agency rights this autumn.

Tuesday’s games

Lions 3, Buffaloes 0: At Kobe Green Stadium, Orix appeared headed for its third 1-0 game in its last three, but that plan came off the rails in the top of the eight. A one-out error, a two-out Takuya Hiruma double and a Kento Watanabe homer made it 3-0. Brooks Kriske, who joined Seibu this summer after pitching for DeNA last year, earned his second save.

Giants 4, Swallows 3: At Jingu Stadium, Yomiuri tied it with the help of an eighth-inning throwing error on Munetaka Murakami and took the lead on their third unearned run of the game, in the ninth after a single and an errant pickoff throw from reliever Taichi Ishiyama (3-6).

Cy Sneed broke a 1-1 fourth-inning tie with a two-run home run, his first in his three seasons in Japan, and allowed two runs, one earned, in six innings. Yudai Koga‘s second-inning RBI single put Yakult on top. He singled and scored on Sneed’s homer. Sneed allowed six hits but no walks. Takayuki Kajitani singled and scored Yomiuri’s first run, and singled in the second to make it a 2-1 game in the fifth.

Carp 6, Deniers 5, 10th inning: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Shota Dobayashi completed a late-inning comeback with a walk-off RBI single off Yasuaki Yamasaki (3-7), who retired the first two batters he faced before walking two to put the winning run in scoring position.

Hiroshima’s Shohei Mori allowed a run over six innings, and after Hiroshima came from behind to take a 2-1 fourth-inning lead, Mori singled to open the Carp’s two-run fifth. DeNA tied it on a three-run eighth-inning homer from Masayuki Kuwahara, and took a ninth-inning lead on an unearned run.

The Carp tied it in the bottom of the inning against DeNA’s current closer, Kohei Morihara, when veteran pinch-hitter Ryuhei Matsuyama opened with a single with the run coming in after a sacrifice, a groundout and a Takayoshi Noma infield single. Shota Nakazaki (1-0), Hiroshima’s closer from 2015 to 2019, a span during which they won three CL pennants, worked a 1-2-3 10th to earn the win.

Marines 7 Hawks 1: At Fukuoka Dome, Lotte lefty Kazuya Ojima (8-4) struck out seven over seven innings, Yudai Fujioka hit a two-run fourth-inning homer. Carter Stewart Jr. (3-5) walked five batters over four innings while allowing three runs, and the Marines continued to score after he left with Koki Yamaguchi leading off the fifth to make it 5-0.

Tigers 8, Dragons 2: At Nagoya Dome, CL walks leader Yusuke Oyama drew three free passes. With Teruaki Sato and Sheldon Neuse reaching base behind him in their first three trips to the plate, Oyama scored each time. After getting drilled in the ribs Sunday, Koji Chikamoto was replaced in center and in the leadoff spot by rookie Shota Morishita, who singled to lead off Hanshin’s three-run first and three-run fourth.

Seiya Hosokawa hit his 21st home run for the Dragons, doubled and had a sacrifice fly. Hanshin’s Yuki Nishi (6-5) started and went seven innings for the win. Hideaki Wakui, coming off his best start in two years, allowed three runs over two innings and fell to 4-12.

Yamaoka has a question about hair

Taisuke Yamaoka, responding to comments that his dyed blond locks are “unbefitting a ballplayer,” went off on social media, demanding that people who say things like that offer constructive criticism instead of just saying what’s wrong.

Posting on his Threads account, the 27-year-old right-hander wrote, “I have this hairstyle and people say it’s not a baseball player’s hairstyle, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing lol.”

“What is ballplayer hairstyle anyway? Is it a shaved head like a priest? LMAO I wonder if there is. Do salaried workers have a prescribed hairstyle? Is there a firefighter hairstyle or one for astronauts? I want you to tell me. I’m really curious lol. Looks interesting!!! Everyone, please let me know.”

Wakatsuki to stay put

On Tuesday, Buffaloes catcher Kenya Wakatsuki, like every other player who has just compiled the necessary service time to file for free agency, was asked by reporters about his plans, and unlike 90 percent of the players who say, “I’m in a pennant race now and I’m 100 percent focused on that” Wakatsuki declared his intention to stay with the Buffaloes for next season, suggesting he would not file for free agency, which would prohibit him from doing so for another three seasons.

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