The Lotte Marines were the big winners on Wednesday in their showdown with the Orix Buffaloes, and Thursday is set up for a doozy when Hiroya Miyagi and Roki Sasaki go head to head in Osaka.
The Chunichi Dragons gave a nice sendoff to pitcher Daisuke Yamai, who started against Yakult and even spotted them an out by striking out the leadoff hitter before walking into the sunset with tears in his eyes.
Fighters 10, Lions 2
At Sapporo Dome, Nippon Ham beat Seibu in a game without much meaning in the big picture. Robbie Erlin (2-2, 2.12) allowed a second-inning unearned run over five innings, and fellow first-year import Ronny Rodriguez doubled in two in the home half of the second to put the Fighters in front for good against Kona Takahashi (11-8, 3.66), who trailed 3-1 after 6-1/2 before getting lit up in a seven-run seventh, four of which were charged to him. Fighters catcher Yushi Shimizu put the icing on the cake with his fourth home run, a grand slam, off Ken Togame.
Eagles 2, Hawks 1
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, SoftBank’s Nick Martinez scattered four singles, three walks and a hit batsman over seven scoreless innings.
Alfredo Despaigne drew a seventh-inning leadoff walk and came home via a sacrifice and a two-out Takuya Kai single for the Hawks’ only run off Takahisa Hayakawa.
Eagles leadoff man Tsuyoshi Yamasaki reached base four times. He drew a leadoff walk in the eighth off Shinya Kayama, and after an error and a walk loaded the bases, scored on a Daichi Suzuki sac fly off Yugo Bando.
Sung Chia-hao (3-3) worked around a leadoff walk to earn the win after the Eagles loaded the bases against Yuito Mori (1-2) on a single and two walks, and ended it on a Takero Okajima single.
The loss left the Hawks six games out of third with eight games left to play.
Marines 8, Buffaloes 2
At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa (5-3, 3.75) came one out short of a shutout while the Marines’ attack blew up the Buffaloes, leaving Lotte 1-1/2 games behind the league leaders, whose starter, Sachiya Yamasaki (8-10, 3.66), surrendered five runs over 2-2/3 innings.
The win moved Lotte to within 1-1/2 games of the Buffaloes.
The Marines scored in the first on singles by Takashi Ogino, Shogo Nakamura and Brandon Laird. The Marines made it 5-0 in the third after two were gone with on. A one-out Nakamura walk, and two-out singles from Laird, Adeiny Hechavarria, Koki Yamaguchi and Yudai Fujioka made it 4-0, and back-to-back walks added another. Yudai Fujioka doubled with two outs in the fifth and scored on a Hiromi Oka single.
Nakamura doubled to open the ninth, Leonys Martin singled and Ryo Miki completed the Marines’ assault with a two-run double.
Rookie shortstop Kotaro Kurebayashi returned two games after being sidelined by a pitched ball, but Orix needed a lot more than he could provide. He singled with two outs in the ninth and scored on Yutaro Sugimoto’s PL-leading 31st home run before Ishikawa closed it out.
Giants 2, Tigers 2
At Tokyo Dome, Tomoyuki Sugano surrendered two runs over seven innings in a tie with Hanshin that ensured the Giants could finish no better than third.
Seiya Matsubara doubled to open the Giants’ first, and two flies brought him home. The Tigers tied it on second-inning singles by Kento Itohara, Seiya Kinami and Seishiro Sakamoto.
The tie didn’t last long. One-out singles from Zelous Wheeler and Akihiro Wakabayashi, a Sugano sacrifice and an RBI groundout put Yomiuri ahead again and forced Tigers starter Yuki Nishi out of the game due to discomfort in his right elbow. With two down in the fourth, Sakamoto tied it with his first home run in two years.
Kosuke Baba retired four straight batters in relief of Nishi, and Tigers rookie Masashi Ito worked three solid innings from the fourth, Raul Alcantara pitched two more before Robert Suarez stranded two in the ninth.
The Giants got scoreless innings from Kota Nakagawa and Thyago Vieira to keep the Tigers in check.
Swallows 3, Dragons 1
At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Daisuke Yamai struck out the game’s first and walked off the mound for the last time having notched his 867th career strikeout. After Yamai received his bouquet of flowers for retirement, Takahiro Matsuba (6-5, 3.20) retired the next two, and the Dragons took the lead on a pair of two-out hits. After Cy Sneed (6-2, 3.41) struck out the first two batters, Yohei Oshima legged out a double and scored on an Ariel Martinez line single.
Yakult squandered a second-inning two-on one-out opportunity, but Yuhei Nakamura singled and tied it on a no-out triple by Domingo Santana, whom Matsuba stranded at third.
Munetaka Murakami broke the tie sixth, hitting his 39th home run, a miss-hit opposite-field shot after Tetsuto Yamada drew a one-out walk. Sneed left after walking the leadoff hitter in sixth, but Hiroki Onishi picked the runner off first while striking out two. Taichi Ishiyama, Kazuto Taguchi and Scott McGough, each allowed a hit but no runs with McGough getting his 29th save when Martinez was thrown out trying to stretch a two-out ninth-inning double.
BayStars 9, Carp 3
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, the Carp blew a 3-0 lead in a hurry and just like that their race to overhaul Yomiuri for third place took a hit in a seven-run fifth inning against Hiroki Tokoda (5-4, 3.23). Michael Peoples (3-4) worked two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.
Koki Ugasa led off Hiroshima’s third with a single and scored on a triple by Kaito Kozono, who scored on a Ryoma Nishikawa sac fly. Shogo Sakakura reached on an error, stole second and scored the inning’s third run on a Ryosuke Kikuchi single.
The Carp had been smoking hot for a week. That ended in a seven-run BayStars fifth inning that started with a one-out Yasutaka Tobashira single and ended with a two-out two-run Tobashira double against new pitcher Yasunori Kikuchi, who retired the next batter and the two after that in the sixth before surrendering back-to-back homers by Keita Sano, his 17th, and rookie Shugo Maki, his 22nd.
Thursday’s starting pitchers
Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Dragons vs Swallows: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 10/13/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/23