NPB wrap 7-9-21

Giants’ Mercedes, Sanchez in Olympics

Yomiuri Giants pitchers C.C. Mercedes and Angel Sanchez have been named to the Dominican Republic’s Tokyo Olympic team, bringing the total of NPB imports in the Tokyo tournament to six. I’ll list them below in order of their announcements.

Host Japan, Premier 12 runner-up South Korea, and European-African qualifying tournament champion Israel will round out the six-team field.

Leaders get some breathing room

The Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers moved 3-1/2 games clear of the Yomiuri Giants on Friday, while the third-place Yakult Swallows are one game further back. This is all nice but the Swallows are 5-17 against the two teams they are chasing, so it’s not as promising as it looks.

In the Pacific League, the FIRST-PLACE Orix Buffaloes put a hurt on the four-time defending Japan Series champion SoftBank Hawks and moved three games clear of the Rakuten Eagles. The Lotte Marines are a half-game further back with the Hawks another two games back of them in fourth.

Swallows 4, Carp 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Hiroshima opted for Geronimo Franzua (1-2) instead of rookie closer Ryoji Kuribayashi to protect a one-run ninth-inning lead and it didn’t go well. For the second straight night, Yakult fought back after an eighth-inning bullpen blip.

A leadoff walk, a stolen base, a Domingo Santana single and a pinch-hit single by Shingo Kawabata tied it. After a sacrifice and an intentional walk to load the bases, the Swallows got their second RBI pinch-hit single by a former batting champ, this time by offseason acquisition Seiichi Uchikawa.

A fourth-inning homer by Jose Osuna, his seventh, and a seventh-inning Yasutaka Shiomi RBI triple put the Swallows up 2-1. But Seiya Suzuki, who opened the scoring in the fourth with his 14th home run, made it 3-2 in the eighth when he homered off reliever Tomoya Hoshi.

Tigers 4, Giants 1, 7 innings, rain

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Takumi Akiyama (7-4) allowed a run over six-plus innings when the game was called after back-to-back singles in the top of the seventh and no outs.

Hanshin got all the runs it would need after two runners reached on errors to open the third and scored off Shosei Togo (8-4) on a Koji Chikamoto ground out and a Kento Itohara single. Zelous Wheeler’s ninth home run, made it a one-run game in the fifth.

Tigers rookie Takumu Nakano singled with one out in the fifth and scored was bunted over and scored on a Chikamoto single. Jefry Marte’s 16th homer completed the scoring in the sixth.

Dragons 3, BayStars 1

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Chunichi lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-4) struck out seven without a walk, while allowing a run on four hits over seven innings and Raidel Martinez recorded earned his ninth save and his second in two nights. Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh with his seventh home run, off Yuki Ariyoshi (0-1), who allowed two runs over 6-2/3 innings in his season debut.

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Buffaloes 8, Hawks 0

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Orix snapped a three-game winless streak behind ace and Japan Olympic team pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (9-5), who struck out six while allowing six hits and a walk over seven innings. He set a career-high in wins and tied 19-year-old teammate Hiroya Miyagi for the league lead.

Orix’s other Olympian, Masataka Yoshida, opened the scoring with a third-inning solo homer, his 17th, off Shota Takeda (4-5). Kenya Wakatsuki homered for the second straight game, a two-run shot in the fourth. His third homer equaled his career-high from last year. Yoshida singled in a run in the fifth before Takahiro “T” Okada belted a pair, his ninth and 10th to drive in four more runs and complete the rout.

Marines 6, Fighters 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Nippon Ham’s rookie Olympic team pitcher Hiromi Ito (7-4) beat highly touted Lotte rookie Roki Sasaki (1-2). Ito issued three walks but struck out six and allowed just one infield single over seven innings. Sasaki gave up four runs, two earned, on eight hits and three walks while striking out just three over five innings. Daiki Asama cashed in a one-out single Chusei Mannami single and a walk with a two-out two-run second-inning double to open the scoring as the Fighters cruised to a third straight win.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 4 pm, 3 am EDT

Hideaki Wakui (6-5, 4.22) vs Tatsuya Imai (5-3, 2.71)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Fumiya Motomae (1-1, 5.55) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-4, 3.36)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Nick Martinez (6-2, 2.08) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (4-5, 3.34)

Central League

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Juri Hara (-) vs Haruki Omichi (3-2, 4.85)

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

Takahiro Matsuba (0-2, 5.49) vs Kosuke Sakaguchi (2-2, 4.06)

Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masashi Ito (5-4, 2.23) vs C.C. Mercedes (4-1, 2.63)

Active roster moves 7/9/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/19

Central League

Activated

GiantsP20Shosei Togo
DragonsP12Shinji Tajima
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez
BayStarsP67Yuki Ariyoshi
CarpP41Takuya Yasaki

Dectivated

GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
DragonsP59Takumi Yamamoto
BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
CarpP34Koya Takahashi

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP35Livan Moinelo
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo

Dectivated

HawksP41Kodai Senga
FightersP36Drew VerHagen
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino

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