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Although Thursday was a national holiday and the start of the Golden Week holidays, two teams opted to postpone their games due to the latest state of emergency in Tokyo and three western prefectures, including Osaka. Rather than play in an empty park on a holiday afternoon, the Yakult Swallows postponed their Central League game with the Yomiuri Giants while the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes also put off their home game against the Rakuten Eagles.
Tigers 6, Dragons 4
At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome Chen Wei-Yin (1-0) returned to Nagoya with a flourish, winning his first game in Japan since 2011 and his first as a Hanshin Tigers against his old club, allowing a run over six innings, striking out four, walking none while allowing five hits and getting a pair of double plays. Cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama drove in four runs to help the Central League leaders snap a seven-game losing streak at Nagoya Dome.
“I wasn’t that good at the start of the game, and I was able to get a lot of support from my teammates,” Chen said in Mandarin through a Japanese language interpreter. “In particular (Jefry) Marte and Oyama put runs on the board that allowed me the breathing room to settle in.”
“I never think much about whether the team is in a losing streak or on a winning streak,” said Chen, whose win snapped a three-game skid. “Thanks to Ryu (catcher Ryutaro Umeno) calling such a steady game, I could just focus on executing my pitches, so I’m grateful to him.”
Marte sparked the Tigers offense with a two-out first-inning triple, a drive to the center field wall that Yohei Oshima nearly caught. Oyama then singled past short off Koji Fukutani (1-2) to open the scoring. The Tigers made it 4-0 in the third. Kento Itohara doubled with one out, Marte walked, and Oyama hit his fifth home run.
Fukutani allowed four runs over six innings on six hits and a walk.
Being Japan, we couldn’t be spared the number 3,497 — the number of days since Chen’s last win in Japan.
BayStars 5, Carp 3,
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Tyler Austin and Neftali Soto showed Japan what it’s been missing early in the season as the pair untied a 1-1 game with one home run each in a three-run third.
Austin went deep for the second straight day with a leadoff homer, and Toshiro Miyazaki’s two-out walk set the table for Soto’s two-run shot off Carp rookie Shogo Tamamura (0-1) in his pro debut baptism of fire. The lefty had been 2-0 in the Western League with some solid numbers, striking out 17 in 17 innings with just three walks, 13 hits and no home runs.
Haruhiro Hamaguchi (1-3) DeNA’s Opening Day starter, allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks over six-plus innings to post his fourth quality start. The lefty got the hook after allowing two runs on three straight no-out hits in the seventh. Edwin Escobar stranded a runner in the inning. Former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki and his successor, Kazuki Mishima kept the Carp of the board in the eighth and ninth with Mishima earning his third save.
Marines 5, Lions 2
At MetLife Dome, Lotte’s Daiki Iwashita (3-2) allowed two runs over six innings while striking out seven, and Leonys Martin got the Marines rolling with a two-run first-inning homer, his Japan-best 10th, off Sho Ito (0-1).
The Marines bullpen resumed normal uninterrupted service with a hat-trick of one-strikeout perfect innings by Frank Herrmann, Yuki Karakawa and closer Naoya Masuda, who earned his fifth save. Marines leadoff man Takashi Ogino walked, singled and scored twice.
The Lions were poised to pull even in the home half of the first with one run in, one out and the bases loaded. Wu Nien-ting chopped a fat pitch up the middle, but Yudai Fujioka dove to keep the ball in the infield and flip to second for a force as a run scored.
Iwashita responded by retiring 16 of the next 18 batters he faced before making way for the bullpen, which retired nine straight.
The Lions’ bright spot was 5-2/3 innings of one-run relief from troubled starter Wataru Matsumoto, who struck out five and walked none.
Hawks 2, Fighters 1
Ikeda, acquired in the March deal that sent slugging reserve infielder Taketoshi Yokoo to the Eagles, held the Hawks to two runs over seven runs in his fourth straight quality start. Akira Nakamura opened the scoring with his second homer in the sixth, and Yusuke Masago hit his first of the season in the seventh.
Livan Moinelo worked the eighth for SoftBank, and Yuito Mori worked around the third homer of the season by No. 2 hitter – Pro Yakyu News guys eat your hearts out – Sho Nakata to earn his eighth save.
Wang Po-jung went 2-for-2 with a walk in his season debut for Nippon Ham, but squandered his third-inning leadoff double trying for third in an inning in which the Fighters still stranded a runner.
Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 4/29/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/9