May pitchers, hitters of the month
NPB announced its monthly awards for May on Wednesday. The Central League’s honors went to Hanshin Tigers closer Robert Suarez and rookie slugger Teruaki Sato. The Pacific League’s went to right-hander Nick Martinez of the SoftBank Hawks and Orix Buffaloes outfielder Masataka Yoshida.
No one asked me, but in case anyone does, I wrote in “3 hits and a near miss” that one of the honors, although well-intentioned was misguided
Interleague Day 14 — the CL strikes back
A day after seeing the PL catch up in the interleague race the CL reclaimed the lead with three wins, a tie and two losses. The CL now leads 36-35 with 10 ties, while trailing in runs scored 378-342.
But if the CL was striking back they were striking out, at least in Osaka, where 19-year-old Orix Buffaloes lefty Hiroya Miyagi continued to show poise and command beyond his years, exploiting a large strike zone to give the Yomiuri Giants fits for seven innings while striking out 13.
Buffaloes 3, Giants 1
At Osaka‘s Kyocera Dome, Orix’s Hiroya Miyagi (6-1) had superb control to go with his superb stuff and poise and with the help of a generous strike zone, 19-year-old virtuoso played the Yomiuri lineup like a Stradivarius. He changed speeds, hit his spots and was in complete command from the jump. He walked one and allowed one hit over seven innings, a two-out seventh-inning homer to Kazuma Okamoto, his 16th.
Yomiuri’s Angel Sanchez (4-4) was aggressive and steady, and though he allowed three runs on nine hits and three walks over 6-2/3 innings, he never looked threatened as he coolly made big pitches to keep it close.
Yuma Mune opened the scoring in the first with his fifth home run. Yutaro Sugimoto doubled with two outs and scored on a fourth-inning ground single. Sanchez was yanked in the seventh to bring in lefty Yuhei Takanashi against Steven Moya. Orix responded with Adam Jones, who lashed a pinch-hit RBI single.
Tyler Higgins stranded two runners in a scoreless eighth before Yoshihisa Hirano bulled his way through a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save since coming back from the majors.
Tigers 10, Fighters 3
At Sapporo Dome, Nippon Ham’s Takayuki Kato (3-4) retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced but Hanshin tied it 1-1 on a throwing error in the second inning before the Fighters defense fell apart and he ended up allowing seven runs, six earned, in 4-1/3 innings.
Hanshin’s Takumi Akiyama (6-2) allowed three runs over 5-2/3 innings. Jerry Sands had three hits, including two doubles and drove in four runs. The Fighters had chances to get back in the game, but left the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings.
Dragons 7, Eagles 3
At Sendai’sRakuten Seimei Park, it was Shuhei Takahashi day as the Chunichi captain had four hits including two home runs, his third and fourth, and drove in four runs. Dayan Viciedo chipped in with two RBI singles. Lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (4-2) held the PL leaders to two runs, one earned, over six innings despite walking five and giving up five hits. Both runs scored after some poor defense from him and the normally outstanding Viciedo at first.
Rakuten’s Takahiro Norimoto (5-3) worked six innings, giving up four runs on nine hits and a walk.
Lions 8, BayStars 8
At MetLife Dome, Toshiro Miyazaki reached base four times and drove in four runs for the BayStars, while Tyler Austin homered, walked twice, drove in two runs and scored two, but hurt his leg running the bases and left the game and did not bat in the sixth inning.
Seibu’s Matt Dermody allowed six runs in three-plus innings, while DeNA’s Koo Nakagawa gave up four runs in four innings. The Lions overcame a six-run deficit with the bottom half of the lineup doing the heavy lifting. Wu Nien-ting, Cory Spangenberg, Aito Takeda and Haruka Yamada combined for six runs and seven RBIs. DeNA shut down the rest of the Lions’ attack – except for a seventh-inning Tomoya Mori walk and Ernesto Mejia’s two-out double off Venezuelan compatriot Edwin Escobar, setting up Wu to single in the tying run.
Lions rookie Yutaro Watanabe held the BayStars scoreless for three innings in his pro debut before Reed Garrett worked a scoreless eighth and Kaima Taira extended his scoreless game streak to 30. DeNA’s Yasuaki Yamasaki bounced back from a bad outing on Sunday to work a 1-2-3 eighth and closer Kazuki Mishima did the same in the ninth – with the help of a diving catch from Masayuki Kuwahara to end the game.
Swallows 5, Marines 3
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Yakult’s Kazuto Taguchi (3-4) allowed three runs over 6-2/3 innings, Jose Osuna and Domingo Santana each singled in a first-inning run, and Tetsuto Yamada scored twice and hit a solo home run, his 14th. The game got dicey in the ninth, when current Swallows closer Scott McGough allowed Lotte to load the bases with one out before striking out Shogo Nakamura and Katsuya Kakunaka to end it and earn his eighth save.
Lotte’s Daiki Iwashita (4-3) allowed four runs over 5-2/3 innings to take the loss.
Hawks 8, Carp 4
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, SoftBank’s Akira Nakamura singled in two runs with two outs in the fifth to snap a 3-3 tie. Two walks and a two-run single by Nobuhiro Matsuda iced the game. Matsuda tied Michiyo Arito’s PL record for games at third base with his 1,774th.
All eight Hawks runs were charged to Carp starter Yusuke Nomura (0-4).
Fighters vs Tigers: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Robbie Erlin (1-1, 4.40) vs Raul Alcantara (1-1, 5.79)
Eagles vs Dragons: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Ryota Takinaka (4-2, 4.08) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-3, 3.54)
Lions vs BayStars: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Tetsuya Utsumi (0-0, 13.50) vs Yuya Sakamoto (1-1, 3.32)
Marines vs Swallows: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Roki Sasaki (1-0, 4.50) vs Cy Sneed (1-1, 5.65)
Buffaloes vs Giants: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Sachiya Yamasaki (1-5, 4.17) vs Yuki Takahashi (6-1, 2.26)
Hawks vs Carp: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Colin Rea (0-0, 4.50) vs Shogo Tamamura (0-3, 5.40)
Active roster moves 6/9/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/19