Cy Sneed, who for reason unknown is wearing his first and last name on his Yakult Swallows uniform, was overpowering in his second start while two other new imports, Yakult’s Domingo Santana and Hanshin’s Mel Rojas Jr., had impressive games at Koshien. Sneed entered the game having allowed three runs over four innings in his first start, causing an announcer to carelessly utter, “He’s not pitching like a guy with a 6.75 ERA.”
Mel Rojas Jr., KBO’s 2020 MVP, finally got untracked after 21 plate appearances without a hit. He drove a pitch off the outside edge out to center for his first hit and home run in Japan, and you could see the frustration leave his shoulders as he rounded third and raised his arms in wonder about how long this took.
Santana, who has begun having a series of good games, drew a walk and had three doubles.
Swallows 14, Tigers 3
At Koshien Stadium, Cy Sneed (1-0) whose last name was so short that Yakult perhaps felt the need to include his first name on his uniform, was more like a bridge of Cys for Hanshin’s hitters until they chased him with one out in the sixth with the Swallows leading 9-2. Sneed located a sizzling fastball with ease mixed it with a sharp slider and it was pretty much game over. With a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, he struck out the heart of the Hanshin order on 10 pitches. He struck out seven, walked one, allowed three runs and five hits.
Yuki Nishi (3-3) on the other hand, was doing just that. After walking 10 batters in his first 46 innings, the right-hander walked five in five. Neither pitcher was helped by an inconsistent strike zone, but when Nishi needed something that wouldn’t be Ball 4, he often couldn’t throw it close enough to get a call.
Santana scored once and drove in five, while Munetaka Murakami hit his Central League-leading 12th home run, walked, singled twice, drove in two runs and scored four.
Giants 7, Carp 2
At Tokyo Dome, Zelous Wheeler extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a two-run double that brought Yomiuri from behind against a Carp team that swapped out eight players due coronavirus infections. Kazuma Okamoto and Justin Smoak homered back to back in the seventh for the Giants. Okamoto’s was his 10th, Smoak’s his fourth.
Shosei Togo (3-2) allowed two runs over six innings. He struck out six, walked two and allowed four hits to win his first game in a month. Daichi Osera (2-1) came back from a calf injury that sidelined him for a month. He allowed three runs over five innings. Thyago Vieira, who was dropped from the closer role a month ago, was activated and created a save situation in the ninth when he loaded the bases with a double and two walks, allowing Chiaki “Door Root” Tone to get his first save in five years.
Tone was called Door Root once on the national team’s English roster page, because NPB is too cheap to pay someone to actually do a real page with names using the roman alphabet and instead used machine transliterations of players names in Chinese characters for those guys who were late additions.
Dragons 5, BayStars 1
At Yokohama Stadium, Chunichi’s Shinnosuke Ogasawara (3-2) threw six scoreless innings, Yota Kyoda had three singles, a sacrifice fly, scored one run and drove in three, while Yohei Oshima reached three times and scored twice for the Dragons.
DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki (1-4) allowed four runs on 10 hits and one walk over 3-2/3 innings.
“(Kyoda) is a good hitter, batting second. What should they do with him?”–Dave Okubo, on Pro Yakyu News
Eagles 3, Fighters 2
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten’s Hideto Asamura had three hits, singled in the tying run in the fifth inning, and homered to break the 2-2 tie in the eighth for the Pacific League-leading Eagles against Nippon Ham reliever Bryan Rodriguez (0-1). The Rakuten bullpen allowed one hit over the final three innings in relief of Takayuki Kishi with Sung Chia-hao (1-0) earning the win after striking out the side in the eighth.
Chihiro Kaneko cruised through four innings for the Fighters before leaving with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth. Lefty Ryusei Kawano surrendered an RBI single to Hiroto Kobukata that made it 2-1 Fighters. Taisho Tamai entered to face Asamura and let the tying run score. Asamura’s home run was only his third of the year.
Hawks 8, Lions 2
At MetLife Dome, SoftBank’s Shota Takeda (3-2) threw a five-hitter, walking three while striking out seven with Yuki Yanagita hitting his eighth homer in the first off Seibu’s Matt Dermody (0-1) with a man on. Dermody surrendered four runs over six innings. Wladimir Balentien made his season debut for the Hawks, going 1-for-5 with a two-run single.
Buffaloes 6, Marines 5
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix’s Steven Moya hit a pair of solo homers, his fifth and sixth, and Takahiro Okada his fourth, a two-run shot in the fourth to help the Buffaloes win a slugfest with Lotte. Adeiny Hechavarria got a start at short for Lotte and broke the ice with a two-run second-inning double off Hiroya Miyagi. The 19-year-old rookie lefty surrendered Leonys Martin’s Japan-best 13th home run in the fifth before making his exit after five.
Moya’s first homer nearly hit the back wall of the dome, while his second of the game, in the sixth off Lotte rookie Shota Suzuki (1-2) broke the tie. Moya also singled to leadoff the eighth to set up an insurance run. Rookie Ryota Muranishi was called on to get the final out and recorded his first career save.
The Marines had a fast runner in scoring position with one out in the eighth, and the Pro Yakyu News guys jumped on pinch-runner Koshiro Wada for messing it up.
Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 5/18/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/28