The Hanshin Tigers on Friday survived with a tie awkward start from Yuki Nishi, who was called into a meeting with manager Akihiro Yano after a game in which both Nishi and catcher Ryutaro Umeno were yanked after the third inning.
The Tigers tied with the Giants, allowing Yakult to pull a half-game ahead of both clubs in the CL race as they ran their unbeaten streak to 10 games. Their seven straight winning decisions is the team’s longest win streak in three years.
In the PL, the Rakuten Eagles were the big winners. They beat second-place Orix to gain one game on the first-place Lotte Marines, and the Buffaloes, and the Hawks.
Lions 5, Marines 4
At MetLife Dome, Shuta Tonosaki snapped a 4-4 tie in the fifth inning winning a single-handed battle with the Marines battery. He walked with two outs, stole second on a ball that got away from catcher Takuma Kato. The passed ball moved him to third, from where Tonosaki scored on a wile pitch from reliever Yasuhiro Tanaka (1-2).
Seibu starter Tatsuya Imai allowed three runs over three innings thanks to seven walks and four hits. Rookie Junichiro Kishi’s two-run home run, his ninth, off Kota Futaki made it 3-2 in the third before Lotte’s Hisanori Yasuda made it 4-2 in the fourth with his eighth home run off Ichiro Tamura (1-0), who threw two innings and earned his first pro win.
Seibu’s six-time PL home run champ Takeya Nakamura homered to open the fourth and Sosuke Genda singled in the tying run after an error and two singles loaded the bases against Futaki.
With the lead in hand, Yoshinobu Mizukami worked a 1-2-3 sixth. Demoted closer Tatsushi Masuda worked around a pair of two-out singles in a scoreless seventh, and Ryosuke Moriwake stranded two more in the eighth before Kaima Taira finished with his 17th save.
Eagles 4, Buffaloes 3
At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Daichi Suzuki singled twice and scored twice on hits by Hiroaki Shimauchi, as the Eagles spotted Takahiro Norimoto (10-5, 3.33) a 4-1 lead against rookie Hiroya Miyagi (11-3, 2.44) after Eigoro Mogi’s fourth-inning sac fly broke a 1-1 tie.
Rookie Kotaro Kurebayashi had three hits for the Buffaloes. His eighth home run tied it 1-1 in the third. He singled with one out in the eighth and came home when Yutaro Sugimoto retook the PL home run lead with his 38th off Norimoto’s 127th and final pitch – into the top deck in dead center.
Sung Chia-hao got the final two outs with the potential tying run on third base in the ninth to earn his fourth save.
Fighters 4, Hawks 1
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Nippon Ham’s Naoyuki Uwasawa (10-6, 3.08) struck out 11 while walking two and allowing three hits. His shutout bid ended in the eighth when Takuya Kai halved the Fighters’ lead with his 10th home run.
SoftBank’s 1.93-meter rookie right-hander Kazuki Sugiyama (1-1, 2.51) allowed a run over five innings. He struck out six and walked four while allowing one hit, Ronny Rodriguez’s fourth home run.
Kensuke Kondo hit his eighth home run off Livan Moinelo in the eighth to make it 2-0, Yushi Shimizu hit a two-run homer, his third, off closer Yuito Mori in the ninth before Toshihiro Sugiura closed it out in the bottom of the ninth for his 22nd save.
Giants 6, Tigers 6
At Tokyo Dome, rookie shortstop Takumu Nakano saved the game by making a tricky play on a bases-loaded grounder to get the second out at home plate thanks to a good scoop by backup catcher Seiichiro Sakamoto, and then caught Sho Nakata’s little liner for the third out as Robert Suarez worked around a Hayato Sakamoto double a Kazuma Okamoto single to secure the tie for Hanshin.
Hanshin’s Yuki Nishi allowed five runs over three innings, blowing an early 3-0 lead. A Jefry Marte RBI single highlighted Hanshin’s two-run first against C. C. Mercedes, who escaped a bases-loaded third-inning jam with just one run scoring and was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the home half.
Nishi surrendered a leadoff pinch-hit single but got a do-over by starting a double play before the real trouble started. After a walk and a single, Okamoto moved ahead of Munetaka Murakami in the home run race with his 38th. Yoshiyuki Kamei doubled and Yoshihiro Maru hit his 17th home run. Even with two multi-homer home runs and a double play, the Giants still managed to strand two runners in the inning.
Sakamoto singled in a run in the Giants’ fourth, but Yomiuri failed to mount another scoring threat until the ninth. Marte’s two-run fifth-inning home run, his 19th, off Toshiki Sakurai made it a one-run game, but the Giants bullpen followed that by retiring 10 straight.
Thyago Vieira back on the first-team mound after 19 days on the farm due to fitness issues, walked the first batter he faced and surrendered Jerry Sands’ game-tying RBI double. Vieira blew the save but did not let Hanshin take the lead.
Swallows 3, Dragons 0
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-1, 3.35) struck out seven while allowing five hits and getting some big plays from his defense, and the Swallows scored three second-inning runs off Yudai Ono (6-10, 2.97) on a Yasutaka Shiomi double, a Norichika Aoki RBI single and Munetaka Murakami’s career-high 37th home run.
Noboru Shimizu worked the eighth for the Swallows, who pulled a half-game ahead of Hanshin, while Scott McGough threw 10 of his 11 in the ninth as he locked down his 23rd save.
Dayan Viciedo set the team record for hits by an import player with the first of his two singles, surpassing the mark of 766 he shared with current batting coach Alonzo Powell.
Carp 9, BayStars 2
At Yokohama Stadium, Kaito Kozono had five hits, including a two-run home run, his second, scored four and drove in three while Daichi Osera (7-5, 3.08) gave up two runs over 7-2/3 innings. The BayStars scored first, on Toshiro Miyazaki’s two-run solo homer, his 13th, in the second, but singles by Osera and Kozono and a Seiya Suzuki walk set up a three-run inning, capped Shogo Sakakura’s two-run double. Kozono’s fifth-inning homer stuck a fork in DeNA.
Ryosuke Miyaguni (1-1, 6.30) surrendered five runs over five innings.
Saturday’s starting pitchers
Lions vs Marines: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Katsunori Hirai (4-3, 4.15) vs Tokito Kawamura (2-0, 4.32)
Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Yoshinobu Yamamoto (14-5, 1.46) vs Takayuki Kishi (7-8, 3.59)
Hawks vs Fighters: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Shuta Ishikawa (5-9, 3.37) vs Drew VerHagen (4-7, 4.50)
Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Tomoyuki Sugano (5-6, 3.52) vs Haruto Takahashi (1-1, 4.09)
Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT
Keiji Takahashi (3-1, 3.21) vs Yariel Rodriguez (0-3, 4.66)
BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Masaya Kyoyama (2-5, 4.59) vs Koya Takahashi (3-6, 5.53)
Active roster moves 9/24/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/4