NPB wrap 6-20-21

Buffaloes roam into 1st

Orix is in first place for the first time since 2014 after beating the Rakuten Eagles on Sunday and pulling into a first-place tie with their opponents. The Buffaloes have now won eight straight decisions for the first time in 10 years.

Lions get classy on father’s day

With almost all the import players going through the ups and downs this season without their families, the Seibu Lions did a very cool thing on Sunday, paying tribute to their teammates — in with a video message on the big screen at MetLife Dome, that 11 other teams probably wish they’d thought of first.

Buffaloes 3, Eagles 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, rookie Orix lefty Hiroya Miyagi, shaved head and all, worked eight innings on a walk and four hits. He improved to 7-1 after Steven Moya and Stefen Romero delivered RBI singles in a three-run sixth inning against rookie Rakuten lefty Takahisa Hayakawa (7-3) who went six. Yoshihisa Hirano worked the ninth for the Buffaloes to earn his seventh save.

Lions 3, Marines 3

At MetLife Dome, Zach Neal responded to Seibu’s father’s day message by presenting the Lions with a sturdy outing, holding the PL’s best offense to two runs over 5-2/3 innings. Hotaka Yamakawa tied the game 2-2 for the Lions in the bottom of the sixth with his 11th home run, and Seiji Kawagoe doubled in a go-ahead run in the seventh before Lotte re-tied on Yudai Fujioka’s two-out eighth-inning bases-loaded walk.

Taira streak ties PL record

Lions right-hander Kaima Taira did not allow a run for the 34th consecutive game, tying the PL record set in 2003 by current Lions coach Kiyoshi Toyota and matched in 2014 by Motoki Higa.

Hawks 1, Fighters 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Nippon Ham’s Daiki Asama homered for the third straight game, leading off the first against Tsuyoshi Wada, while Yuki Yanagita tied the score with his 15th home run in the fifth. Wada juggled six hits and three walks over 5-1/3 innings to allow just one run, while Takayuki Kato allowed just two hits and a walk over eight for the Fighters.

The tie marked the first time in nine years the Hawks had not won at least one game in seven tries.

Giants 2, Tigers 1

At Koshien Stadium, Yomiuri’s Seiya Matsubara hit a two-run homer in the top of the sixth and Hanshin rookie Teruaki Sato hit a solo shot in the home half, his 18th of the season. Yuki Takahashi (7-2) worked five scoreless innings to earn the win for the Giants, while Takumi Akiyama (6-3) started for the Tigers and delivered six innings, allowing four hits and a walks while striking out four.

Thyago Vieira, the last of four relievers, earned his third save.

Swallows 2, Dragons 1

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Shingo Kawabata broke a scoreless tie with a two-run pinch-hit homer off Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-5) to make a winner out of 19-year-old right-handed rookie Yasunobu Okugawa (3-2), who threw eight innings.

Katsuno walked four but didn’t allow a hit until Takeshi Miyamoto’s pinch-hit single with two outs in the seventh to put a man on for Kawabata. Scott McGough worked a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save.

BayStars 10, Carp 5

At Tokyo Dome, DeNA salvaged the final game of their “home” series after jumping out to an 8-4 fourth-inning lead. Masayuki Kuwahara plated a run with a two-out third-inning infield single and Tyler Austin capped the rally with his 15th home run, a grand slam. Hikaru Ito doubled with the bases loaded in the fourth to make it 8-0 and the BayStars coasted from there.

Pacific League

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