There were Friday fireworks in Japanese pro baseball.
Olympians Nick Martinez and Yoshinobu Yamamoto tangled for the second time in eight days in a game decided by Adam Jones in the ninth, while the Yomiuri Giants appeared to be sailing smoothly to victory behind a gem from starter Shosei Togo until the sky — or rather the Hanshin Tigers — fell on them at Koshien Stadium.
Buffaloes 2, Hawks 1
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Orix managed its second ninth-inning comeback in two days. A day after securing a tie with four late runs in Sapporo, the Buffaloes broke a 1-1 tie on Adam Jones’ two-out RBI single, making a winner out of ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (12-5, 1.61), who allowed a run over eight innings in an atypical start that saw him walk four and strikeout five while allowing three hits.
SoftBank’s Nick Martinez allowed a run over seven innings while striking out nine and walking two.
Yamamoto was on course to throw his second straight shutout and third straight complete game victory until the Hawks tagged him for a run to tie it in the eighth. A single, a bunt and an intentional walk to Yuki Yanagita put two on with two outs, and Ryoya Kurihara tied it with a single.
After a 1-2-3 eighth from Hiroshi Kaino, SoftBank’s Yugo Bando allowed one-out singles to Yuma Mune and Masataka Yoshida, who hobbled off for a pinch-runner before Jones lashed a high 0-2 fastball into center to plate the go-ahead run.
Lions 8, Eagles 4
At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Masahiro Tanaka (4-5, 2.73) got some run support for a change, but allowed four runs over eight innings, and Seibu exploited closer Yuki Matsui’s absence, scoring four runs in the ninth to beat Rakuten.
Seibu starter Wataru Matsumoto allowed two runs over six innings and did not figure in the decision after the Eagles rallied to tie it in the eighth against Seibu’s bullpen.
The Lions scored three in the fourth. Sosuke Genda barely got a piece of changeup for a flare single. After a bunt, he scored when Tomoya Mori got the end of his bat on a low fastball and found the gap for a double. Tanaka then left an 0-2 slider over the plate, and Takeya Nakamura served it into the outfield for an RBI single. Takumi Kuriyama, two hits from 2,000 in his career, golfed a low pitch to center for a sacrifice fly.
Takero Okajima doubled in Eigoro Mori in the home half to reduce the arrears. Tanaka followed with three scoreless innings before No. 9 hitter Seiji Kawagoe homered off him to open the eighth.
Okajima tied it in the bottom of the inning, singling in two off Ryosuke Moriwaki after two walks and a sacrifice.
Nakamura singled to open the ninth against Sung Chia-hao (1-3). With two outs, Kuriyama kept the rally alive with a single, Hotaka Yamakawa fell behind 1-2 before walking to load the bases and Wu Nien-ting singled off his countryman to put the Lions ahead.
Marines 7 Fighters 5
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Yudai Fujioka broke an eighth-inning tie, driving in his second run of the game in a three-run inning as Lotte came from behind for the second time to beat Nippon Ham.
Kazuya Ojima (6-3, 4.65) allowed the Fighters to load the bases with one out in the first, and all three runners scored, on singles by Yuto Takahama and Daiki Asama and a groundout.
Leonys Martin (hit by pitch) and Brandon Laird (single) reached to open Lotte’s second and scored on a Hisanori Yasuda double and a Fujioka sac fly. New Fighter Ryusei Sato singled in a run in the fourth, but Martin homered to open the Marines’ home half. His 23rd tied SoftBank’s Yuki Yanagita for the league lead, while Laird singled and scored on a bases-loaded walk from Fighters starter Takahide Ikeda.
Three singles put the Fighters up a run in the fifth, and three relievers held that lead until the eighth. Laird got things started against Kazutomo Iguchi (1-1) with a one-out single, his third. The tying run scored on an error and Yasuda walked before Fujioka singled.
Pinch-hitter Katsuya Kakunaka’s sac fly completed the scoring, and Naoya Masuda worked the ninth to record his Japan-best 29th save.
Tigers 7, Giants 3
At Koshien Stadium, rookie Takumu Nakano’s three-run tie-breaking triple completed a turn-around after Hanshin’s first 15 batters were retired by Yomiuri right-hander Shosei Togo (8-6), who eventually allowed five runs over 6-1/3 innings.
“I wasn’t up there to weakly take a walk,” Nakano said of his swing on a borderline 3-2 pitch that he drove for a triple into the corner.
The Giants broke the scoreless tie in the fifth against Tigers starter Yuki Nishi.
Yasuyuki Kamei had the first of two singles before Seiya Matsubara tripled in two. Kazuma Okamoto doubled with two outs in the sixth and scored on a Kamei triple.
Yusuke Oyama became Hanshin’s first base runner, when he singled to open the sixth, and scored on 40-year-old Yoshio Itoi’s pinch-hit double. Jefry Marte doubled with one out in the Tigers’ seventh, when they loaded the bases on a walk to Mel Rojas Jr. and a single before Oyama doubled to tie it and chase Togo.
Jerry Sands pinch-hit and was walked intentionally after lefty Yuhei Takanashi fell behind 2-0 to load the bases. With two out, Nakano made manager Hara pay for his generosity.
Nishi allowed a run on six hits and a walk over six innings while striking out five.
Swallows 3, Carp 1
At Tokyo Dome, Albert Suarez (3-3, 4.08) struck out eight while walking two and allowing six hits over 5-1/3 innings.
Yasutaka Shiomi hit the first pitch from Daichi Osera (6-3, 3.09) for his 10th home run, and reached on a one-out infield single to spark a two-run third. Osera loaded the bases on a hit batsman and a walk and Munetaka Murakami doubled.
Suarez left with two on and one out in the sixth, but Koshiro Sakamoto bailed him out. Ryutaro Konno worked a perfect seventh, before setup man Noboru Shimizu surrendered a run in the eighth.
Seiya Suzuki, who’d walked twice and singled, hit his 20th home run to put the Carp on the board in the eighth. It was his seventh over 15 games at Tokyo Dome, matching his total from 42 games at his home park, Mazda Stadium.
Scott McGough pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 19th save.
Dragons 1, BayStars 0
At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Chunichi’s lefty ace Yudai Ono (5-8, 3.31) protected a 1-0 first-inning lead by stranding a pair of runners in three different innings as he allowed six hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings while striking out five.
Kosuke Fukudome broke the ice with a two-out, RBI single in the first.
Masaya Kyoyama (2-4, 5.09), who went six innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman.
Katsuki Matayoshi struck out two in the eighth and Raidel Martinez did the same in the ninth as two perfect innings closed out the BayStars with Martinez getting his 14th save.
Saturday’s starting pitchers
Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT
Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Swallows vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Dragons vs BayStars: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 9/3/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/13