Tuesday, we had more mashing from Japan’s home run monster, although he twice failed to hit his fifth grand slam of the season in another Swallows marathon, and a top three vs bottom three set of series in the Pacific League.
Hawks 4, Eagles 2: At Fukuoka Dome, Hideto Asamura opened the scoring with a first-inning solo homer, his 24th, off 41-year-old lefty Tsuyoshi Wada (5-4), who allowed two runs over five innings to win his second straight start. Eagles starter Ryota Takinaka (2-8) gave up back-to-back singles to open the first as the Hawks tied it 1-1. Back-to-back one-out singles in the third set up Yuki Yanagita for an RBI single, and Masaki Mimori tripled in two with two outs in the fourth.
Wada allowed three hits and no walks, while striking out four. A quartet of relievers retired 12 of the 13 batters they faced with Livan Moinelo getting his 20th save.
Lions 3, Marines 2: At Seibu Dome, Seibu’s Kona Takahashi (10-7) scraped out of a couple of tight spots including a one-out fourth-inning jam, while Ayumu Ishikawa (7-6) struck out six of the first 11 Lions he faced in 4-2/3 perfect innings, before the sky fell on him in the form of three straight two-out homers by Tomoya Mori, his eighth, Hotaka Yamakawa, his league-leading 38th, and Wu Nien-ting, his fifth.
Takahashi struck out nine but continued to scrape by, allowing two runs, one earned, over 7-2/3 innings. Katsuhiko Kumon entered to strand two runners in the eighth, and Kaima Taira recorded his seventh save.
Fighters 6, Buffaloes 2, At Sapporo Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (7-7) allowed two runs over seven innings, and Chusei Mannami and Ryota Yachi each singled in a second-inning run off Taisuke Yamaoka (6-7) as Nippon Ham, wearing the uniforms they donned after their 2004 move to Sapporo, knocked Orix a full game back of the league leaders.
After falling behind 2-0, Keita Nakagawa doubled in Shuhei Fukuda to halve the hosts lead while Yamaoka retired nine straight. But back-to-back two-out fifth-inning doubles by Kensuke Kondo and Go Matsumoto made it 3-1, and two walks and a two-run Kotaro Kiyomiya triple iced the game.
Swallows 8, Tigers 6, 11 innings: At Koshien Stadium, routine plays were not all that routine as both teams took turns missing plays in the field.
Yakult, having played the season’s longest game, 5 hours, 28 minutes, last Wednesday, felt no need to go after the record as Kazuto Taguchi inherited two runners with no outs in the 11th and shut down the Tigers to end this one after 5:18.
Murakami’s fourth-inning RBI single made it 1-0 for Yakult, but three singles, a couple of miss-handled balls and a squeeze made it 3-1 in the home half.
The Swallows regained the lead in the fifth on a two-run Kotaro Yamasaki triple and a Yuhei Nakamura sac fly. Murakami’s 62nd homer leading off the sixth made it 5-3. Hanshin’s Teruaki Sato, who singled in a run in the fourth, tripled and scored in the sixth.
Suguru Iwazaki, who spent most of the season as Hanshin’s closer, pitched the seventh, but retired Murakami with the bases loaded on a 3-1 pitch. Taichi Ishiyama, Yakult’s former closer, the allowed the tying run in the home half on a Jefry Marte RBI single.
The Swallows took a 6-5 lead in the 10th and came within a hair of scoring two when Hanshin threw the ball around some more, but Scott McGough failed to close it down in the bottom of the inning, issuing a leadoff walk and an RBI pinch-hit single to Fumihito Haraguchi.
With the rain really coming down in the 11th, Tigers right-hander Masumi Hamachi loaded the bases with no outs, and struck out Murakami until Shiomi singled in two on a ball that might have been an inning-ending double play had Hanshin’s infield not been playing for the out at the plate.
Carp 4, Dragons 2: At Nagoya Dome, Shogo Akiyama’s three-run homer highlighted a four-run third inning off Yuya Yanagi (8-10). Allen Kuri (6-8) struck out six, while allowing two runs on seven hits hits but no walks over 6-2/3 innings.
BayStars 2, Giants 1, 11 innings: At Tokyo Dome, there was a vintage pitcher’s duel between a guy who’s been red hot, DeNA’s Shota Imanaga, and a guy who’s struggled to match his incredible past glories, Yomiuri’s Tomoyuki Sugano. Imanaga allowed a run over seven innings, while Sugano struck out eight while allowing a run over nine.
DeNA lefty Edwin Escobar loaded the bases in the eighth with two outs on two walks and a hit batsman but retired Hiroyuki Nakajima to escape the jam. Hiromu Irie (4-0) turned away the Giants again in the 10th, when an infield single and two walks loaded them up with one out, and earned the win after Keita Sano broke the tie with his 18th home run, off rookie Taisei Ota (1-2) in his second inning of work.
Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Lions vs Marines: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Hawks vs Eagles: Fukuoka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs BayStars: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Dragons vs Carp: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 9/6/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/16