NPB wrap 5-4-21

Neo classic

Dragons 8, BayStars 4

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi rookie Akira Neo hit his first home run, a third-inning grand slam to help ace Yudai Ono (2-2) overcome a pair of home runs to DeNA’s Neftali Soto, his third—a second-inning three-run shot, and Keita Sano, his fourth – a sixth-inning solo homer.

The Dragons scored four in the first against Shinichi Onuki (1-3), who allowed eight runs on eight hits and three walks over three innings. Ono lasted seven innings, struck out five and walked one while allowing seven hits.

Chunichi cleanup hitter Dayan Viciedo singled twice, walked and scored twice.

Tigers 11, Swallows 5

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Jefry Marte singled in Koji Chikamoto to open the scoring for Hanshin in the third inning and snapped a 4-4 tie with a seventh-inning solo homer, the first of four for the Tigers against Yakult’s bullpen, which leads both leagues in holds.

Takumu Nakano hit his first and fellow rookie Teruaki Sato his ninth, while Jerry Sands hit his ninth to put the game away.

Neither starting pitcher had a game worth writing home about. Swallows lefty Kazuto Taguchi worked six innings, while Hanshin’s Yuki Nishi worked five. Each allowed four runs, two earned, in an error-plagued game.

Carp 1, Giants 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yomiuri starter Yuki Takahashi remained unbeaten in six starts, as the lefty twice pitched out of big jams by retiring Hiroshima’s star hitter Seiya Suzuki. Both Takahashi and Carp lefty Hiroki Tokoda allowed just a run over seven innings.

Suzuki, however, saved the Carp in right field when he robbed Kazuma Okamoto of a two-run double with a leaping catch at the warning track before Tokoda ended his tenure on the bump by striking out Justin Smoak.

Kevin Cron singled and doubled to collect a third of Hiroshima’s hits and scored the hosts’ only run, while Zelous Wheeler singled and scored Yomiuri’s lone run.

Carp closer Ryoji Kuribayashi posted his 14th straight scoreless outing.

Asked on Pro Yakyu News what made Kuribayashi special, former catcher and BayStars skipper Akihiko Oya mentioned not his command, his velocity or that nasty splitter but “He pitches like no one can hit him.”

By that standard, Eddie the Eagle should have been the greatest ski jumper in history.

Hawks 6, Eagles 4

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Rakuten veteran Takayuki Kishi‘s struggles continued as the right-hander fell to 2-3 after allowing five runs, four earned, over three innings. Hawks reliever Jumpei Takahashi took over in the fifth inning with no outs and a runner on after the Eagles closed to within 6-3. Takahashi allowed the runner to score but stranded two runners and four of his bullpen colleagues slammed the door with lefty Livan Moinelo getting his second save.

Lions 6, Buffaloes 6

At MetLife Dome, Stefen Romero hit his first home run for Orix in two years after spending a productive 2020 with the Rakuten Eagles. His two-run, eighth-inning shot tied the game, and Seibu’s Ryosuke Moriwake got out of a one-out, bases-loaded ninth-inning pickle with a double play.

The Buffaloes’ Masataka Yoshida went 4-for-5 with a double and his seventh home run. His three RBIs helped stake the visitors to a 4-2 fifth-inning lead.

Yoshida also contributed to both teams combining to set a nine-inning record with 16 pitchers after he knocked Seibu’s Reed Garrett out of the game in the ninth with a shot off his left knee.

With closer Tatsushi Masuda deactivated following a string of poor results, Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji had hoped to use Garrett in that role.

“I think it may be hard for Garrett to come back tomorrow,” Tsuji said according to Sanspo.com.

Cory Spangenberg walked to leadoff the Lions’ second and scored on an Aito Takeda single. He walked to load the bases in the fourth ahead of Wu Nien-ting’s RBI single and Takeda’s two-run double.

The Lions put runners on the corners in the ninth against former Tiger ace Atsushi Nomi, but the 40-year-old hung on to end the game thanks to a super defensive stop by substitute Koji Oshiro at second that secured a tie with the third out.

More Fighters felled by virus

The Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters, currently on hiatus due to the coronavirus, announced three new infections on Tuesday, bringing the total of infected first-team players and staff to 13, Nikkan Sports reported.

In addition to the staff, coaches and players who have tested positive, five players have been determined to have had close contact with them. The Fighters have not played since Saturday. Their next scheduled game is scheduled for Friday at Sapporo Dome, but it will not take place unless Nippon Ham can field a virus-free team.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Tatsuya Imai (1-2, 2.40) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-2, 1.39)

Hawks vs Eagles: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (2-2, 3.34) vs Takahiro Norimoto (2-1, 2.14)

Central League

Swallows vs Tigers: Jingu Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yasunobu Okugawa (1-1, 7.20) vs Koyo Aoyagi (2-2, 2.25)

Dragons vs BayStars: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-1, 3.12) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (1-3, 4.22)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Koya Takahashi (1-0, 1.74) vs Angel Sanchez (1-2, 5.89)

Active roster moves 5/4/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/14

Central League

Activated

GiantsP21Shoichi Ino
GiantsP50Chiaki Tone
CarpOF49Yuya Shozui

Dectivated

GiantsP45Seishu Hatake
GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP29Ryuya Ogawa
EaglesC55Takaya Tanaka
BuffaloesP22Ryota Muranishi

Dectivated

HawksP13Akira Niho
LionsP14Tatsushi Masuda
EaglesP57Ryota Takinaka
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
FightersIF23Ryo Watanabe
BuffaloesP68Yu Suzuki

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