NPB wrap 9-15-21

The Marines’ march toward their first regular season championship since 1974 continued in Fukuoka, while Orix got whacked in Sendai to fall four games off the pace on Wednesday.

The Central League got a little tighter, as the Swallows scraped past the Tigers and the Giants came from behind late to beat DeNA thanks largely in part to Scott Heinemann, leaving both clubs 2-1/2 back.

Swallows 1, Tigers 0

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Munetaka Murakami singled in a first-inning run, Yakult’s Yasuhiro Ogawa (8-4, 3.96) scattered five walks and six hits over 7-2/3 innings, reliever Noboru Shimizu struck out Jerry Sands to retire the side in the eighth with the bases loaded, and closer Scott McGough, who surrendered a game-tying three-run home run the night before, worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save.

Hanshin rookie Masashi Ito (7-7, 2.98) allowed a run on five hits and a walk over six innings, but Sands went 0-for-2 with two outs and the bases loaded.

Giants 7, BayStars 6

At Tokyo Dome, new Giant Scotte Heinemann saved three runs with a big catch to end DeNA’s ninth inning, and then singled to lead off Yomiuri’s three-run ninth off DeNA closer Kazuki Mishima (1-5), who blew his second save in three games.

Hayato Sakamoto hit his 14th and 15th home runs to keep the Giants close and singled in tying run in the ninth. Kazuma Okamoto hit his 37th home run and capped the ninth-inning comeback with a sacrifice fly.

Giants starter Shosei Togo allowed two hits and issued three walks in a three-run first. Neftali Soto’s two-out walk pushed in one run, and rookie Shugo Maki’s two-run single capped the rally. Sakamoto’s 14th home run, off Shinichi Onuki made it a 3-2 game. Maki’s 18th made it 4-3 in the sixth before Sakamoto struck again in the home half. Tyler Austin’s 26th gave the BayStars a two-run lead in the eighth before Kazuma Okamoto’s Japan-leading 37th made it 5-4 in the bottom of the inning.

The BayStars scored on two singles and a fielder’s choice in the ninth off Rubby De La Rosa (1-5), and then loaded the bases. With two outs, Heinemann made an inning-ending catch against the right-field wall to rob Toshiro Miyazaki of a three-run double.

Heinemann led off the Giants’ ninth with a single against closer Kazuki Mishima, who issued a one-out walk to Zelous Wheeler before surrendering three straight singles and Okamoto’s sac fly.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Carp 5, Dragons 3

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Hiroshima rookie Yuya Shozui singled in one run and his three-run seventh-inning home run brought the Hiroshima Carp from two runs down, and rookie closer Ryoji Kuribayashi notched his 24th save.

Naomichi Donoue, who drove in five late runs for Chunichi on Tuesday, opened the scoring in the second with a two-run home run, his fifth.

Marines 5, Hawks 4

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Lotte leadoff man Takashi Ogino reached base three times and scored the game’s first two runs off Carter Stewart, Jr. Shogo Nakamura singled home Ogino in the first, and walked and scored along with Ogino in the Marines’ two-run third, Katsuya Kakunaka singling in one run and Adeiny Hechavarria doubling in the other.

Yuki Yanagita brought SoftBank back with a two-run third-inning home run, his 26th, off Manabu Mima, who surrendered two runs in the fourth, the first on Alfredo Despaigne’s third to lead off the inning. Kenta Imamiya chased Mima with a one-out RBI single that left two on, but rookie lefty Shota Suzuki steadied the ship. Suzuki retired four straight, the first three on strike outs but had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam to keep the Hawks from blowing the game up.

Hechavarria doubled and scored the tying run on a Yudai Fujioka single, while Nakamura was hit by a pitch in the seventh and scored the go-ahead run on a Kakunaka double.

Frank Herrmann (1-1) worked a 1-2-3 sixth to earn the win, and three scoreless innings from Yuki Kuniyoshi, Chihaya Sasaki and Naoya Masuda, for his 33rd save, closed it out.

Eagles 7, Buffaloes 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Rakuten continued to recover from its weekend scarring at the hands of Lotte by piling misery on Orix. Ryota Takinaka (7-4, 4.05 worked seven innings a week after bowling six scoreless frames against Nippon Ham. While Soichiro Yamazaki (0-2, 5.30) got a reality check after his sublime dominant start against the Marines a week earlier, allowing five runs on two walks, a hit batsman and six hits over 4-2/3 innings.

Yamazaki’s night collapsed with his command after two were down with one on in the fifth. His fat 1-0 pitch to Tsuyoshi Yamasaki was drilled for an RBI triple, and he grazed the next batter’s elbow guard before Hideto Asamura got the end of the bat on a two-strike fastball away for an RBI single. Hiroaki Shimauchi doubled in two and Takero Okajima capped the rally with an RBI single.

Asamura euthanized the Buffaloes by homering for the second straight day, a two-run seventh-inning shot, his 13th.

Lions 3, Fighters 3

At MetLife Dome, Wang Po-jung hit his eighth homer in the first inning off Keisuke Honda with Haruki Nishikawa aboard. Tomoya Mori doubled and halved the Fighters’ lead when he scored in the first on a Takeya Nakamura single.

Wang singled home Nishikawa in the third only for Mori to draw his second walk of the game to open the fifth off Hiromi Ito. Takumi Kuriyama, who struck out to end the third with two on, delivered Mori with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. The Lions tied it in the eighth on a Shuta Tonosaki double and a Kuriyama single.

At that point, the closers came in and preserved the tie. Kaima Taira pitched out of a two-out bases-loaded pickle in the top of the ninth, while Toshihiro Sugiura stranded two in the home half.

Starting pitchers

Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takahiro Norimoto (9-5, 3.49) vs Daiki Tajima (5-7, 3.88)

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Wataru Matsumoto (7-7, 3.75) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-6, 3.20)

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

Nick Martinez (7-3, 1.91) vs Kota Futaki (5-5, 3.93)

Thursday’s starting pitchers

Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takahiro Norimoto (9-5, 3.49) vs Daiki Tajima (5-7, 3.88)

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Wataru Matsumoto (7-7, 3.75) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-6, 3.20)

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

Nick Martinez (7-3, 1.91) vs Kota Futaki (5-5, 3.93)

Active roster moves 9/15/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/25

Central League


GiantsOF51Takumaru Yaoita
DragonsP47Shotaro Kasahara


GiantsP64Ryusei Ohe

Pacific League


HawksP35Livan Moinelo
LionsP45Keisuke Honda
LionsOF7Yuji Kaneko
BuffaloesP57Nobuyoshi Yamada


MarinesP48Toshiya Nakamura
MarinesP91Enny Romero
FightersP52Takahide Ikeda
BuffaloesP58Kazuyuki Kaneda

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