Tanaka sharp for Japan
Japan 5, Yomiuri Giants 0: Masahiro Tanaka allowed a hit on one of the 26 pitches he was allowed to throw for Japan before being relieved after 2-2/3 innings in his first outing for Japan since the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
“Actually, my form wasn’t real good tonight,” Tanaka said. “But the balls they hit well went straight to fielders. I’ve still got some things to work on.”
Japan’s Tetsuto Yamada singled and scored on a double play ball in the first inning. Fighters rookie Hiromi Ito took over from Tanaka for 1-1/3 innings. Lefty Yudai Ono surrendered a two-out triple in the fifth before working a 1-2-3 sixth.
Ryuta Heinai, the Giants’ top draft pick last autumn, surrendered three runs in the top of the sixth on three singles, a double and a Ryosuke Kikuchi safety squeeze.
Yamada doubled and scored in the seventh on a Masataka Yoshida single, before three relievers, Suguru Iwazaki, Kaima Taira and Ryoji Kuribayashi delivered a perfect inning apiece to end it.
Japan opens pool play on July 28 in Fukushima against the Dominican Republic.
NPB announced Sunday that one of the umpires who handled Saturday’s warm-up game, Shinji Hashimoto, tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.
After consulting with health officials, no other officials, staff or players were determined to be close contacts, allowing Sunday night’s game against the Yomiuri Giants at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.
Hashimoto turned 48 on Wednesday.