Revenge of the cellar dwellers
The Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes and Central League’s Yakult Swallows came out of interleague on a roll and both won Friday, leaving two teams who finished last in each of the last two seasons in sole possession of second place.
Friday’s games had an old-school look with all 12 starting pitchers getting a decision. I’ll bet that doesn’t happen too often anymore.
Eagles 5, Buffaloes 2
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Yutaro Sugimoto hit his 14th home run and doubled in a run, while Steven Moya drove in two with his seventh and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-5) allowed two runs, one earned, over six innings. Three relievers each worked a scoreless inning for the Buffaloes, with Tyler Higgins doing the job in the eighth and Yoshihisa Hirano earning his sixth save.
Hideaki Wakui (6-5) allowed five runs over four innings to take the loss as the Eagles’ PL lead shrank to a run over the Buffaloes, who jumped from third to second by winning their seventh straight decision.
Fighters 2, Hawks 1
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-2) allowed three hits and four walks over the distance, while Daiki Asama and Kazunari Ishii homered for last-place Nippon Ham.
Shuta Ishikawa (3-6) allowed both runs over six-plus innings.
Marines 5, Lions 0
At MetLife Dome, Daiki Iwashita (5-4) struck out seven over six innings, while Katsuya Kakunaka and Yudai Fujioka each scored two runs for Lotte. Hisanori Yasuda had a pair of RBI singles, while Shogo Nakamura hit his fourth homer.
Kona Takahashi (5-3) allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.
Swallows 5, Dragons 2
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s 41-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (3-1) delivered his third straight solid start, allowing two runs over six innings, while allowing five hits and no walks. Munetaka Murakami hit a two-run homer in the first, his Japan-leading 21st, and Jose Osuna hit a three-run homer in the sixth, his fourth. Three Swallows relievers worked 1-2-3 innings with Scott McGough striking out two in the ninth as he earned his 12th save.
Yuya Yanagi (5-3) after a nearly flawless start to the season, allowed five runs in back-to-back starts. Naomichi Donoue hit his second homer and Shohei Kato hit his first in the CL after the Dragons acquired him in a mid-week trade from Lotte.
Tigers 7, Giants 1
At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Jerry Sands cracked open the scoring in a three-run second inning with the second of four Tigers doubles off Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (2-1). Sands also hit his 13th home run, a grand slam, to ice it in the third inning, as Yuki Nishi (4-3) scattered four walks, a hit batsman and five hits to allow just one run over seven innings.
Carp 7, BayStars 4
At Tokyo Dome, 20-year-old rookie Hiroshima lefty Shogo Tamamura (1-3) allowed two runs over seven while striking out 10 and singled in a run in the second to tie it 1-1 as he earned his first pro win in a game hosted by DeNA at Tokyo Dome as their home park is being prepared to host the Olympic baseball and softball tournament.
Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Lions vs Marines: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Hawks vs Fighters: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
BayStars vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Active roster moves 6/18/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/28