Wakui solid again
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Hideaki Wakui (2-0) struck out nine without a walk as he allowed two runs over seven innings in the Rakuten Eagles’ 4-2 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Friday.
Sachiya Yamasaki (0-1), the fourth left-handed starter the Eagles have faced in seven games, allowed two runs over five innings to take the loss in his season debut. He struck out seven.
Daichi Suzuki singled in a run in the Eagles’ two-run first, and doubled and scored in the sixth.
Wakui took a three-run lead into the seventh but gave up back-to-back doubles to Masataka Yoshida and Steven Moya and a pinch-hit RBI single to Adam Jones. Eagles leadoff hitter Kazuki Tanaka led off the first with a single and scored, and then scored an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh after leading off with a walk off Tyler Higgins.
Right-hander Tomohito Sakai worked around a pair of two-out walks in the eighth, and closer Yuki Matsui worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.
For the second straight week, Wakui established his fastball early and then mauled batters with his slider, sinker and curve, although he did use the heater more this time around as the game progressed.
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Kona Takahashi (2-0) was sharp for the Seibu Lions, striking out eight over eight innings, while Shuta Ishikawa (1-1) had an uncharacteristic start for the SoftBank Hawks in their 6-2 loss.
Ishikawa tends to have so much movement on his pitches that he walks three or four batters a start but rarely gives up a lot of hits. But this time out, when he walked two and hit one, the Lions teed off on straight pitches in the zone, scoring six runs on nine hits, the biggest a three-run Takeya Nakamura homer.
At Sapporo Dome, the PL needs to start thinking about a delay of game penalty to keep the Nippon Ham Fighters from taking at least 3-1/2 hours to play every one of their games.
That’s how long this one took as the Lotte Marines hammered former high school baseball star Kosei Yoshida (0-1) for seven runs over two innings.
Hisanori Yoshida homered, doubled and drove in four runs, while Shogo Nakamura had four hits, scored two and drove in three, while Leonys Martin walked twice, homered and scored three runs.
Kota Futaki (1-1), Lotte’s Opening Day starter, scattered four walks and two hits over seven innings.
Carp run over winless BayStars
At Yokohama Stadium, Daichi Osera (1-0) struck out seven over seven innings, and Ryuichi Matsuyama drove in three runs as the Hiroshima Carp continued the DeNA BayStars’ winless streak with a 4-0 victory in the Central League.
Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-1) allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.
At Tokyo Dome, Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-0) worked 7-2/3 innings and Munetaka Murakami hit his third home run, a two-run shot off Ryoma Nogami (0-1) in the Yakult Swallows’ 2-0 win over the Yomiuri Giants.
Zelous Wheeler hit two balls to the wall, one went for a double, and the other a single after he over-slid second base and was tagged out.
Swallows reliever Scott McGough retired the top of the Giants’ order 1-2-3 in the ninth to earn his first save.
At Koshien Stadium, the Hanshin Tigers’ bullpen wasted a good start from enigmatic right-hander Shintaro Fujinami in a 6-3 loss to the Chunichi Dragons.
Fujinami allowed a run on seven hits and two walks while striking out six, but new Tiger Ren Kajiya allowed three runners to reach with out in the eighth. Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita drove him from the mound with a two-run double and scored on a Yohei Oshima single.
Kinoshita doubled in two more in the ninth to ice it for the visitors.
Minor goings on
Hard-throwing Lotte Marines teenager Roki Sasaki pitched in his first official pro game on Friday, allowing an infield single and a stolen base in two scoreless innings in an Eastern League game against the Yakult Swallows, Nikkan Sports reported.
The 19-year-old, who was clocked at 163 kph (101.3 mph) in a national team training camp in 2019, touched 153 kph (95.1) in the game at the Swallows’ minor league park in Toda, Saitama Prefecture.
Swallows suck it up
The Swallows have been forced to improvise in the wake of a number of staff members and No. 2 catcher Akihisa Nishida testing positive for the coronavirus. The subsequent deactivation of players considered to have had close contact with those testing positive has forced the Swallows to cancel Saturday’s and Sunday’s Eastern League games with the Marines.
On Thursday, thanks to the heads up from Deanna Rubin @marinerds, we learned that the short-handed minor league squad was forced to skip the DH at the Nippon Ham Fighters’ park and used a pitcher as a substitute outfielder.
Tigers Girls put on hold
The Hanshin Tigers’ cheerleading squad, the Tigers Girls, not to be confused with the organization’s amateur baseball club, the Tigers Women, will not appear in games at Koshien Stadium for the time being after more than one of the club’s cheerleaders tested positive for the coronavirus, Daily Sports reported.
Taguchi gets 1st shot at old team
So Taguchi, traded from the Yomiuri Giants to the CL rival Yakult Swallows in March, will get his first crack at his old team on Saturday when the Giants host the Swallows at Tokyo Dome.
The lefty got hammered in his first outing against the Tigers last weekend, giving up six runs in 2-1/3 innings.
Fighters vs Marines: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Naoyuki Uwasawa (0-1, 11.57) vs Manabu Mima (0-0, 1.50)
Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Hayato Yuge (-) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-1, 6.00)
Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Rei Takahashi (0-0, 2.84) vs Shota Hamaya (0-1, 5.79)
Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Shosei Togo (1-0, 1.29) vs Kazuto Taguchi (0-1, 19.29)
BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Masaya Kyoyama (0-1, 6.75) vs Allen Kuri (1-0, 1.50)
Tigers vs Dragons: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Koyo Aoyagi (1-0, 4.76) vs Yuya Yanagi (0-1, 6.75)
Active roster moves 4/2/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/12