Tag Archives: Andrew Albers

NPB 2020 Sept. 20

Lions come back to beat Buffaloes

Tomoya Mori snatched the victor’s laurels from Orix Buffaloes center fielder Hayato Nishiura with a three-run eighth-inning double that lifted the Seibu Lions to a 5-4 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Nishiura saved three runs with in the first, robbing Ernesto Mejia of a two-out double at the wall. He went up to get it before it hit the ball and caught it between his arms, cradling it for the out after he crashed to the turf.

Ryo Ota, a former top draft pick whose 2019 debut season was limited by injury, homered off Wataru Matsumoto in the first to put the Buffaloes up 1-0. Another rookie, 2018 fifth-rounder Sho Gibo, doubled in a run with two outs in the third. Steven Moya’s second homer of the year made it 3-0.

Nishiura preserved a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Playing shallow with two outs and a runner on second as Japanese teams do, Nishiura had to race back into the gap in right-center, making an over-the-shoulder basket catch for the final out.

He followed that by leading off the bottom of the fifth with home run into the second deck.

Orix starter Andrew Albers allowed two runs over six innings on seven hits, a walk and a hit batsman.

The Lions finally got to the lefty in the sixth when Sosuke Genda singled and scored on Hotaka Yamakawa’s 22nd home run.

Right-hander Ryo Yoshida, the Buffaloes’ third reliever, took over in the seventh with one on and one out but walked the bases loaded with two outs and gave up Mori’s double.

On the other side, four Lions relievers followed Matsumoto and combined to allow one walk and one hit. Tatsushi Masuda recorded his 20th save.

Eagles survive Hawks comeback

Eagles closer Alan Busenitz came within a hair of blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead, earning the save when a rocket off Ryoya Kurihara’s bat was caught by first baseman Daichi Suzuki for the final out as Rakuten beat the SoftBank Hawks 3-2 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome on Sunday.

Suzuki tied the game 1-1 on the first pitch in the fourth. Shuta Ishikawa (6-3) left a fastball up and Suzuki lined it off the wall behind the right-field home run terrace. Hawks catcher Takuya Kai, who’d homered to open the scoring minutes earlier tried not to shake his head but failed.

Eagles veteran Takayuki Kishi got out of a sixth-inning jam when Akira Nakamura, who swings and misses as infrequently as any hitter in Japan, struck out swinging for the second out. After an intentional walk to Yuki Yanagita, Kishi got out of the inning with an easy groundout.  

Stefen Romero put the Eagles up by one in the seventh, hitting an 0-1 power curve. Ishikawa supplied the curve by hanging it up in the zone and Romero supplied the power, launching it 10 rows back into the permanent seats.

Former San Diego submariner Kazuhisa Makita surrendered a two-out two-strike single to Nakamura. Yanagita came up with a chance to put the hosts in front, but went down swinging. Hiroaki Shimauchi then took out some insurance by taking reliever Yuki Matsumoto’s first pitch out to left for a solo homer to open the ninth.

Takayuki Kishi allowed a run over a season-high six innings in his fifth start of the Eagles.

The Hawks loaded the bases against closer Alan Busenitz with one out in the ninth on two singles and a fielder’s choice. Go Kamamoto singled in one run, but Busenitz got a force out at the plate before Suzuki was impaled by Kurihara’s liner.

Fighters give one away

Shohei Kato scored the tying run from second on a passed ball-throwing error with his team down to their last strike and then tripled in two runs in the 10th to lead the Lotte Marines to a 5-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

Rookie catcher Toshiya Sato’s two-run sixth-inning homer brought Lotte to within a run, after Marines starter Manabu Mima allowed three runs in the first but lasted eight innings.

Kato came on to run after Seiya Inoue singled with one out off Taisho Tamai. A two out walk put runners on first and second.

Tamai got ahead of Tsuyoshi Sugano 0-2, but catcher Yushi Shimizu failed to catch a 1-2 changeup. It popped up off the heel of his glove and by the time caught it Kato was on third, but the runner on first was well of the base. Sensing a chance to end the game, Shimizu gunned a throw to first that glanced off first baseman Kotaro Kiyomiya’s glove, allowing Kato to score.

Marines closer Naoya Masuda (2-2) got into trouble in the bottom of the ninth. Regular cleanup hitter, Sho Nakata, who started the game on the bench, came on to pinch hit flew out to short for the third out.

With two out and two on in the 10th, Kato drilled a pitch from Kenya Suzuki (0-1) to the gap to plate two. Recently acquired reliever Hirokazu Sawamura took over in the bottom of the 10th. He issued three two-out walks before getting a groundout to record his first save of the year.

Hatake plows under BayStars

Right-hander Shusei Hatake (1-3), making an emergency start in place of lefty Cristopher Mercedes, worked six innings and Yoshihiro Maru homered twice and drove in three as the Yomiuri Giants beat the DeNA BayStars 5-0 at Yokohama Stadium. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Giants.

DeNA right-hander Shinichi Onuki (6-4) allowed four runs, three earned, over six innings to take the loss. A single, a stolen base, a throwing error and a Hayato Sakamoto single put the Giants up in the first. Maru hit his 16th homer in the fourth with a man on and went deep again in the sixth.

Dragons light up Nakata in win over Tigers

The Chunichi Dragons scored three runs in two innings off veteran right-hander Kenichi Nakata (0-2) en route to a 4-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.

After a 1-2-3 first against the team for which he won the bulk of his 100 career games, Nakata allowed four straight hits in the second, bringing in two runs, while a third scored on a safety squeeze.

Takahiro Matsuba (3-4) allowed two runs over five innings. The only two runs came when pinch-hitter Kenya Nagasaka homered with a man on after his foul pop was dropped but not ruled an error. Four relievers combined to allow one hit and two walks over the final four innings with Raidel Martinez earning his 13th save.

Swallows survive ninth-inning horror show

The Yakult Swallows opened the home half of the first with three straight home runs before nearly blowing a seven-run ninth-inning lead with starter Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-3) on the mound in an 8-6 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Ogawa worked a 1-2-3 first, and in a sense, so did Carp starter Yuta Nakamura (0-1), who watched three of his first 14 pitches end up as souvenirs for the Carp fans in the left-field bleachers. It was the fifth time a team had homered in its first three plate appearances and the first time since the Dragons did it at Yokohama Stadium in 1995.

The Swallows entered the top of the ninth with an 8-1 lead and kept Ogawa on the mound after he had thrown just 101 pitches. After a double, a single and a double play, things were still looking good for manager Shingo Takatsu’s plan not to use his bullpen with the last three of nine straight games looming.

But five straight hits off straight fastballs and hanging breaking balls, the last off Ogawa’s 123rd pitch, finally forced a change. Closer Taishi Ishiyama allowed the tying run on with a single before getting a strikeout that ended the game and earned him his 11th save.

Active roster moves 9/20/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/30

Central League

Activated

GiantsP31Seishu Hatake
GiantsP58Ryosuke Miyaguni
TigersP20Kenichi Nakata
CarpP67Yuta Nakamura

Dectivated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsIF00Daiki Yoshikawa

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP63Hiroyuki Kawahara
HawksOF60Go Kamamoto
EaglesIF6Kazuya Fujita
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo

Dectivated

HawksOF51Seiji Uebayashi
EaglesIF66Itsuki Murabayashi
MarinesP30Tsuyoshi Ishizaki
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino
BuffaloesOF56Yusuke Matsui

Starting pitchers for Sept. 21, 2020

Central League

Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daisuke Naoe (0-0, 2.35) vs Allen Kuri (4-4, 4.06)

Dragons vs Swallows: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-3, 3.66) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1, 5.33)

Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Minoru Iwata (-) vs Masaya Kyoyama (1-0, 9.00)

NPB 2020 Sept. 14

Futaki shuts out Buffaloes

The Lotte Marines moved to within a half game of the Pacific League-leading SoftBank Hawks on Monday, when Kota Futaki (4-2) threw a three-hitter in a 5-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The 25-year-old right-hander struck out three without issuing a walk in a 108-pitch effort. The win was Futaki’s third in three starts.

“Futaki established a real good rhythm, was very aggressive inside to their left-handed hitters and was very confident with his fastball in the strike zone,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said.

“Today we wanted to be ready to hit, and we did a good job of not chasing and putting good swings on mistakes.”

Rookie cleanup hitter Hisanori Yasuda, who had three run-scoring hits in Sunday’s win over Orix, opened the scoring with a two-run third-inning double off Andrew Albers (3-6), following a one-out Leonys Martin walk and a double by Shogo Nakamura.

Solo home runs by Yudai Fujioka, Nakamura and Ikuhiro Kiyota completed the scoring.

Albers allowed all five runs over five innings.

VerHagen goes 8 to beat Eagles

Drew VerHagen (6-3) threw eight scoreless innings, and lefty Naoki Miyanishi survived a ninth-inning scare to nail down his first save as the Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Rakuten Eagles 2-1 at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Eagles starter Takahiro Shiomi (4-6) was victimized in the fourth inning, when Kensuke Kondo got the barrel on a slider low and away and it carried out to left for an opposite-field home run.

Kondo singled to open the seventh by smashing a hanging curve on the ground through the infield, becoming the Fighters’ first leadoff runner of the game. Cleanup hitter Sho Nakata followed by chopping an 0-1 slider that missed up through the infield.

Rookie right-hander Kanji Teraoka, who earned his first career win the night before, got one out before leaving a slider in the heart of the zone that Taishi Ota also smashed through the infield for an RBI single.

The Eagles’ bullpen played with fire in the top of the eighth and ninth. By stranding six runners over two innings, they kept their team in the game,.

Kazuki Tanaka homered to open the bottom of the ninth off Miyanishi, who ran the count full to the next two hitters, getting one out and giving up one single. With two outs, Miyanishi got ahead of left-handed-hitting Eigoro Mogi.

Throughout the game, umpire Masaharu Kasahara had been hesitant to call strikes low and away, and for a cross-firing side-arm lefty against a left-handed hitter, Kasahara really tried Miyanishi’s patience running the count to 2-2 after a couple of pretty close pitches. When the lefty threw another slider on the outside corner but up a little, Mogi thought he was safe only for Kasahara to ring him up and end the game.

Active roster moves 9/14/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/24

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

TigersP19Shintaro Fujinami
DragonsP19Kazuki Yoshimi
SwallowsOF9Yasutaka Shiomi
SwallowsOF41Yuhei Takai

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesC2Hikaru Ota
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Dectivated

EaglesC44Yuichi Adachi
BuffaloesP98Chang Yi

Starting pitchers for Sept. 15, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Hawks: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Naoyuki Uwasawa (5-3, 2.65) vs Kodai Senga (6-3, 3.39)

Lions vs Marines: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kona Takahashi (5-6, 4.28) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (6-2, 3.82)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (4-3, 3.01) vs Wataru Karashima (0-2, 4.42)

Central League

Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tomoyuki Sugano (10-0, 1.44) vs Haruto Takahashi (2-2, 1.03)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masanori Ishikawa (0-3, 4.67) vs Yuya Sakamoto (1-0, 5.73)

Carp vs Dragons: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Allen Kuri (3-4, 4.31) vs Yudai Ono (5-4, 2.31)

NPB 2020 Aug. 30

Albers, Jones lead Buffaloes over Marines

Andrew Albers allowed seven base runners over seven innings, and Adam Jones hit a game-breaking three-run homer as the Orix Buffaloes snapped a five-game losing streak with a 5-0 win over the Lotte Marines on Sunday at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Through the first three innings, both teams caught breaks on defense, but that ended in the bottom of the fourth, when an error contributed to two runs against Lotte lefty Toshiya Nakamura (1-2). With two on and no outs, shortstop Yudai Fujioka’s errant throw on a potential double play resulted scored one and left men on the corners, from where another could score on a hard-to-field come-backer.

Albers, whose last win came on July 21, escaped a jam in the top of the fifth when a liner to short that was turned into an inning-ending double play, and the Buffaloes put the game away in the home half on Jones’ 10th home run.

“That was a huge homer,” said Albers, who allowed six hits and a walk while striking out six. “It gives you a little cushion and allows you to be a little more aggressive on the mound and the way the defense was playing behind me tonight that was a huge turning point.”

Singles in the bottom of the fifth by Shuhei Fukuda and Masataka Yoshida off pitches up in the zone brought Jones up with two outs. Nakamura had jammed him his first time up and he’d rolled over a pitch that sank on him in the fourth. But when Nakamura hung a 1-0 two-seamer, Jones hit it out to left.

“I was just trying to drive the ball,” Jones said. “I was pulling off on his forkball early and rolled over on it. I wanted to get something in the air and stayed back on it and was able to hit it out of the ballpark.”

“I’m just trying to get adapted to the Japanese style of pitching. I’m making the adjustments. Early on I was just stubborn and thinking one way was going to do it, but sometimes you just have to make the adjustment and make the adjustment day by day to the new style of pitching I’m facing.”

Albers needed two final gifts from his outfielders to keep the Marines from scoring in the seventh. With one and one out, center fielder Keita Nakagawa robbed Ikuhiro Kiyota of extra bases in a kind of tit for tat after Kiyota had robbed him of an RBI double off the left-field wall in the first inning. Yoshida then made a good running catch in left to send Albers out with a clean sheet.

A pair of rookie relievers, righty Taisei Urushihara in the eighth, and lefty Ryoga Tomiyama in the ninth closed it out.

Yanagita, Nakamura power Hawks comeback

Yuki Yanagita hit his 20th home run and Akira Nakamura hit his fourth, a two-run tie-breaking shot in the fourth inning as the SoftBank Hawks overcame a four-run first-inning deficit to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 8-5 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

With Shuta Ishikawa going for the Hawks against the Fighters’ Drew VerHagen, this game should have been a pitchers’ duel but Ishikawa’s inability to locate cost him and VerHagen (5-2) ran into a buzz saw.

Nakamura is arguably the best player in Japan at making contact. He virtually never chases until he has two strikes on him, fouled off four-straight two-strike pitches around the zone before he got one fair between third and short for a one-out single.

He is followed in the Hawks lineup by Yanagita, who swings harder than anyone in Japan. VerHagen missed up a bit with a two-seamer and Yanagita met it perfectly, propelling it off the top of the left-field fence to halve the Fighters’ lead. Ryoya Kurihara tripled with two outs and scored on a wild pitch to cut the Fighters’ lead to one.

Kensuke Kondo doubled in a run in the second for the Fighters after Sho Nakata failed to bring the runner home from third. Nakata, who stood and stared at his bat in the first inning after he was late on a high-straight fastball, returned to the dugout after the third out and took out his frustration on the offending piece of wood.

VerHagen hit Nakamura in the toe to open the third, Yanagita doubled and the Hawks tied it after a Yurisbel Gracial single and a well-executed Kurihara sac fly. On another two-seamer away, Yanagita again went the other way on a liner to the gap in left.

With two outs in the fourth, VerHagen was yanked after he hit speedster Ukyo Shuto with Nakamura on deck. Rookie left-hander Suguru Fukuda came in and Nakamura drilled a low liner off the dome’s permanent wall that rattled around in the right-field home run terrace for a two-run shot.

Submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi (3-1) earned the win in relief after Ishikawa was charged with five runs, four earned, over four innings. Closer Yuito Mori, in stark relief to his previous two outings, worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 17th save as the Hawks bullpen retired the last 11 Fighters hitters they faced.

Gracial completed the scoring by leading off the fifth with his second homer.

9th-inning Mejia blast stuns Eagles

Ernesto Mejia hit a three-run ninth-inning home run off Alan Busenitz (1-1), boosting the Seibu Lions to a 3-2 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Hotaka Yamakawa walked with one out to get things started against Busenitz, who got too much of the plate with a 1-2 fastball to Tomoya Mori, who kept the Lions alive with a two-out single.

Mejia, who had struck out in each of his first three at-bats, looked at a breaking ball down the pipe for a strike, swung and missed at a low one, but got enough of Busenitz’s third to reach the short porch in left for his seventh home run and his sixth against the Eagles. The home run was the first Busenitz has allowed this year and his second in two seasons.

“We’ve still got games left to play (against Seibu), I’d like to think we can come up with some kind of countermeasure,” Eagles skipper Hajime Miki said.

De La Rosa gets out of jail in Giants win

Rubby De La Rosa bailed himself and the Yomiuri Giants out of ninth-inning trouble on one pitch, escaping a bases-loaded jam to seal a 3-2 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo Dome.

De La Rossa earned his seventh save after striking out the first batter he faced and then loading the bases on two walks and a hit batsman he struck with a 3-2 pitch. But on the next pitch, Yohei Oshima ended it by hitting a tailor-made double play ball to short.

Dragons starter Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-3) allowed five hits and a walk in the Giants’ three-run first inning, but gave them little else before leaving the mound trailing 3-2 after six. Lefty Ryusei Oe (2-0) faced one batter, striking out Yota Kyoda to end the Dragons’ fourth with the bases loaded and earned the win in relief.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Ogawa eclipses ‘Stars again

Two weeks after his first career no-hitter, Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa (7-2) returned to Yokohama Stadium, where he allowed two runs over seven innings in the Yakult Swallows’ 6-4 win over the DeNA BayStars.

Ogawa gave up eight hits and a walk while striking out four, and Tetsuto Yamada had four hits, including an RBI single, a double, and a second-inning grand slam.

The BayStars came back to score two runs in the ninth and bring the tying run to the plate before Swallows closer Taishi Ishiyama put an end to the proceedings by striking out pinch-hitter Toshiro Miyazaki.

Oyama ruins Carp comeback story

Yusuke Oyama tripled just beyond the grasp of right fielder Seiya Suzuki with two outs in the 10th inning to lift the Hanshin Tigers over the HIroshima Carp 5-3 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

The Carp started out in a hole after Jerry Sands teed off on a high pitch from Atsushi Endo in the first for his 10th home run and a three-run Tigers lead.

The hosts tied it in the fifth when Ryosuke Kikuchi hit his sixth, also with two men on.

Carp closer Geronimo Franzua (1-2) opened the 10th by walking Koji Chikamoto. With two outs and first base open after a sacrifice and a strikeout, the Carp walked Sands intentionally to pitch to Oyama, whose ball to the gap in right missed being caught by inches.

Robert Suarez finished the fish off in the home half, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning for his 12th save.

Active roster moves 8/30/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/9

Central League

Activated

CarpIF6Tomohiro Abe
DragonsP41Akiyoshi Katsuno

Dectivated

CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki
DragonsP69Tatsuro Hamada
SwallowsP33Matt Koch

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesC67Takahiro Shimotsuma

Dectivated

None

NPB 2020 8-23 Games and news

Jones goes deep as young Buffaloes deliver

Adam Jones struck pay dirt for the third-straight game as the Orix Buffaloes cashed in on a 6-5 win over the Seibu Lions on Sunday at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Jones broke a 3-3, eighth-inning tie with his ninth home run, a one-out solo shot off setup man Reed Garrett (3-1) and the Buffaloes added on two more runs in the inning. Acting skipper Satoshi Nakajima gave rookie Taisei Urushihara the ball for his top team debut. Urushihara, who saved 23 games last year for Nakajima in the Western League, allowed two runs but earned his first save.

Jones said he wasn’t looking to break the tie with a home run.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive. I’m not trying to hit the ball out of the park. I’m just trying to hit the ball hard and put a good swing on it and the last couple of days it’s been working so hopefully it can continue,” Jones said.

Two of his last four home runs had put the Buffaloes in front and another had tied a game.

“I like the pressure of tough situations. In the last couple of days, it’s been good to come through for the team. We’re just going to play the game hard and live with the results. The last couple of days they’ve been good.”

It looked like the Buffaloes had met their match in Lions right-hander Wataru Matsumoto, who retired Jones in the second on three-straight high fastballs. Matsumoto allowed a solo homer in the first to diminutive slugger Masataka Yoshida and left with a 3-1 lead.

The Lions got to lefty Andrew Albers in the fifth, when two scored on Hotaka Yamakawa’s two-out double. Takumi Kuriyama made it 3-1 in the sixth with his seventh homer. But Lions rookie Tetsu Miyagawa let the hosts back into it in the home half. Singles by Keita Nakagawa and Ryoichi Adachi set the table, and Yutaro Sugimoto, whom Nakajima brought up with him from the farm team singled both home.

“Keita and I had both been working hard on the farm, and it’s good that we could both produce up here,” Sugimoto said. “The farm games are played outside, and it’s really hot. We all bond under the shared hardship. I didn’t hit the ball well, but got lucky in where it went.”

“Urushihara gave his all on the farm alongside me, so it is only natural that he gets results up here.”

VerHagen, relievers shut out Eagles.

Drew VerHagen (5-1) worked six innings, and his teammates broke the ice with two outs in the sixth inning en route to an 11-0 Nippon Ham Fighters win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sapporo Dome.

VerHagen pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth, scattered five hits and two walks while striking out eight. He set the tone for the game in the first inning, when he got four ground balls, including a single when he failed to properly cover first. The only ball the Eagles managed to elevate off him in six innings was a foul out to his catcher.

Eagles right-hander Yuya Fukui (0-3) had allowed three runners through five innings. He made his pitches in the sixth, but good swings by Go Matsumoto and Haruki Nishikawa produced a single and a double that put two in scoring position with one out. J.T. Chargois struck out Sho Nakata, who leads both leagues in home runs and RBIs, but allowed the tie-breaking run to score on an infield single and an RBI single by Kotaro Kiyomiya.

Kiyomiya added a three-run home run, his fourth, in the Fighters’ six-run seventh.

Yanagita, Ishikawa lead Hawks’ victory

Yuki Yanagita’s third home run in three games, a towering two-run shot, opened the scoring and Shuta Ishikawa (6-0) allowed an unearned run over six innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 6-4 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The win moved the Hawks one game ahead of the Marines at the top of the PL standings.

A day after he hit the bottom of the stadium’s big screen over 100 feet above the playing surface, Yanagita launched another towering shot off lefty Toshiya Nakamura (1-1). His 18th home run hit off the facade that towers above the ballpark’s right-field stands.

Nobuhiro Matsuda and Ryoya Kurihara each added a two-run shot for the three-time defending Japan Series champs.

Ono goes distance again with 1st shutout

Lefty Yudai Ono (4-3) threw a five-hitter for his first shutout and his fourth-straight complete-game victory as the Chunichi Dragons beat the DeNA BayStars 3-0 at Nagoya Dome.

Ono, who had struck out 10 in each of his three previous starts only notched seven, while scattering five hits and two walks. He also walked and scored a run.

Dragons leadoff hitter Yohei Oshima singled three times and scored twice. He reached with one out in the third, stole second, and scored on Zoilo Almonte’s two-out single. Oshima followed Ono’s fifth-inning one-out walk and scored on a double off the wall by Ryosuke Hirata. The Dragons veteran had been recalled that morning after rehabbing for a month with the farm team.

Sakaguchi pushes Swallows past Tigers

Tomotaka Sakaguchi homered and hit a tie-breaking RBI infield single to drive in two runs as the Yakult Swallows beat the Hanshin Tigers 4-2 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

A week after throwing his first no-hitter, Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa (6-2) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over seven innings. After Sakaguchi tied it 1-1 in the first with his fifth home run, Ogawa singled in the go-ahead run in the second. He earned the win after Noboru Shimizu and Taishi Ishiyama finished up with one scoreless inning each.

Tigers starter Takumi Akiyama allowed two runs over six innings and squeezed in the tying run in the fifth, but setup man Joe Gunkel (0-2) took the loss after allowing two singles and hitting a batter in the seventh.

Sakakura blast lifst Carp over Giants

Shogo Sakakura’s second home run in two games, an eighth-inning pinch-hit shot off former Carp Kan Otake (1-1) lifted the Hiroshima Carp to a 2-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Carp cleanup hitter Seiya Suzuki tied it 1-1 in the fourth with his 13th home run, while 21-year-old right-handed starter Atsushi Endo held the Giants to a run over seven innings.

Lefty Atsuya Horie worked a scoreless eighth. Closer Geronimo Franzua loaded the bases with a single and a pair of two-out walks but hung on to earn his sixth save. Zelous Wheeler lined a 3-2 pitch from Franzua to left, but left fielder Jose Pirela was able to make the catch.

Harimoto heaps praise on rookie Rodriguez

Hall of Famer Isao Harimoto, Japan’s favorite Sunday morning baseball curmudgeon, this week heaped praise on Chunichi Dragons rookie pitcher Yariel Rodriguez, the Daily Sports reports.

Speaking remotely in his usual spot on the TBS network’s “Sunday Morning,” Harimoto called the 23-year-old, who has made three impressive starts, “ominous.”

“He’s got good stuff. He’s 23. You can’t hit those pitches, they are heavy and move. If you aren’t really good, he’s awfully hard to hit. You get the sense, like you do with (Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki) Sugano that if this guy is on the mound, the team feels like it’s going to win.”

Isao Harimoto, on TBS’ Sunday Morning, Aug. 23, 2020

Dragons rush Hirata up to replace Fukuda

The Chunichi Dragons on Sunday deactivated outfielder Nobumasa Fukuda and rushed veteran outfielder Ryosuke Hirata back from his rehab assignment to take his place according to the Hochi Shimbun.

Fukuda left Saturday’s game at Nagoya Dome against the DeNA BayStars in the fourth inning due to stiffness in his leg and was examined at a local hospital.

Hirata was deactivated on July 20

Active roster moves 8/23/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/2

Central League

Activated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Dectivated

GiantsP31Seishu Hatake
GiantsOF36Shingo Ishikawa
DragonsIF55Nobumasa Fukuda

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesIF23Ryo Miki
BuffaloesP28Ryoga Tomiyama
BuffaloesP65Taisei Urushihara

Dectivated

LionsP27Tetsuya Utsumi
MarinesIF68Kenji Nishimaki
BuffaloesP39Keisuke Kobayashi
BuffaloesP57Nobuyoshi Yamada

NPB 2020 8-9 games and news

Former Tiger VerHagen wins 3rd straight

Drew VerHagen struck out 10 over seven innings to win his third-straight start after Sho Nakata broke a 1-1 tie with a third-inning RBI single in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 2-1 victory over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome on Sunday.

With Ryo Watanabe on second after a leadoff double, Nakata singled on the second pitch he saw from Lions right-hander Keisuke Honda (0-4). It was the second run of the game for Watanabe, who singled with one out in the bottom of the first and scored the tying run after singles by Kensuke Kondo and Taishi Ota.

Shuta Tonosaki put the Lions in front in the first with a two-out solo homer in the first. The right-handed hitter barreled up a two-seamer on the inside edge and pulled it down the line for his second homer of the year.

After the Fighters tied it in the bottom of the first, center fielder Haruki Nishikawa helped ensure it stayed tied by robbing No. 9 hitter Shohei Suzuki of a leadoff double in the top of the third.

VerHagen (4-1) allowed five hits but did not issue a walk. Left-handed bullpen workhorse Naoki Miyanishi pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and side-arm right-hander Ryo Akiyoshi did the same in the ninth to earn his 10th save.

Honda allowed two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out one. Lions cleanup hitter Hotaka Yamakawa, hurt his right ankle when he stumbled out of an awkward swinging third strike to end the first inning. He was helped off the field and received treatment. He appeared to run without trouble in the field, but struck out in his next two at-bats and was pinch-hit for in the ninth.

Nakamura 3 relievers blank sluggish Buffaloes

Rookie lefty Toshiya Nakamura worked six scoreless innings to outduel Andrew Albers, who surrendered Leonys Martin’s third home run in three games in the Lotte Marines’ 4-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

With Adam Jones out of the lineup for the first time this season due to discomfort in his right heal, Torai Fushimi took over the DH duties and went 0-4, ending three innings with one or more runners on.

Nakamura (1-0), the Marines’ fifth draft pick in 2018 scattered four walks and a hit, and faced only one serious challenge, when he got Fushimi to ground out to end the sixth with two men on.

Albers (2-4) looked sharp from the outset, but in the fourth inning, Martin launched a lazy 2-2 slider that missed over the plate and hit it over the center field wall for his 11th home run.

Yuki Karakawa worked a 1-2-3 seventh for the Marines, but Frank Herrmann tempted disaster in the eighth.

Kenya Wakatsuki put a perfect swing on a low first-pitch knuckle curve, looped it over short toward the gap in left and legged out a leadoff double. After failing to get a bunt down, Shuhei Fukuda avoided being rung out on a fastball that missed the outside edge by quite a bit – a location that has been a called strike on lots of batters this year – and walked on eight pitches.

Manager Norifumi Nishimura’s predictable sacrifice followed, but Lotte manager Tadahito Iguchi opted to fill the bases with one out by walking slugger Masataka Yoshida. It should have backfired, but third baseman Hisanori Yasuda made a good play to retire Takahiro Okada on a foul fly after he overran the ball. Herrmann fell behind 3-1 to Fushimi, who swung at two fastballs at the letters that umpire Tetsuya Shimada had been calling balls all day.

The Buffaloes tried the same intentional walk trick in the top of the ninth, walking Martin to load the bases with one out, but Yasuda, the Marines cleanup hitter, delivered a two-run double, and Ikuhiro Kiyota “singled” in another run on a pop fly over second that put the “blooper” in blooper reel.

Hawks bullpen finally holds off Eagles

A bullpen day is nothing to cheer for against the SoftBank Hawks, as the Rakuten Eagles found out in a 5-0 loss at Sendai’s Raktuen Seimei Park Miyagi as four pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout that left the two teams tied for the Pacific League lead.

Lefty Shunsuke Kasaya started and went three innings, while Yugo Bando (2-1) worked four innings to earn the win. Setup man Livan Moinelo and closer Yuito Mori finished up.

Eagles starter Yuya Fukui (0-1), the No. 1 draft pick of the Hiroshima Carp in 2010, took the tough loss after allowing a run on two hits and a walk over 5-2/3 innings while striking out six.

Hawks catcher Takuya Kai doubled in the in the sixth and scored on a wild pitch. Yuki Yanagita hit a fat pitch nearly as far as one can in the eighth to drive in an insurance run, and Kai hit a three-run home run in the ninth.

Giants comeback to salvage tie

On the back foot against first-team debutant Yariel Rodriguez and some good defensive plays by the Chunichi Dragons, the Yomiuri Giants tied it in a two-run seventh in their 2-2 10-inning tie at Nagoya Dome.

Toshiki Abe homered with one out and one on in the first off right-hander Ryosuke MIyaguni, who was making the start on a bullpen day. The Giants relievers, however, shut down the hosts for the rest of the game, allowing the hitters to finally score off Rodriguez.

Making good use of a good fastball and slider, the 23-year-old Cuban allowed three runs to reach through the first six innings, all on walks. He didn’t allow a hit until back-to-back one-out doubles by Takumi Oshiro and Zelous Wheeler. Lefty Toshiya Okada walked the only batter he faced.

Setup man Daisuke Sobue allowed Wheeler to score after a single loaded the bases and veteran left-handed hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei delivered a sacrifice fly on a pitch headed for the dirt.

Rodriguez allowed two hits and three walks while striking out eight over 6-1/3 innings.

The tie ended a run of three-straight losses by the Giants.

Kuramoto slam powers DeNA shutout

Toshihiko Kuramoto hit a first-inning grand slam, his first home run in two years, and Kentaro Taira (3-2) worked seven innings as the DeNA BayStars beat the Yakult Swallows 4-0 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Kuramoto capped a first-inning rally off submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka (0-1), who lasted four innings.

Taira allowed four hits and a walk while striking out six. Spencer Patton and Edwin Escobar each supplied one perfect inning of relief to close it out.

Oyama, Akiyama lead Tigers over Carp

Cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama doubled, tripled, homered, scored two runs and drove in two, while Takumi Aoyama (4-1) allowed a run over six innings in the Hanshin Tigers’ 5-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Oyama broke the ice in the second, when he doubled to open the inning against 21-year-old right-hander Atsushi Endo (2-2) and scored on a bases-loaded groundout.

After the Carp tied it, the Tigers took the lead for good in the third. Seiya Kinami doubled and Oyama tripled him home. Oyama homered in the eighth to make it 3-1.

Endo allowed two runs over five innings on three hits and four walks, while Akiyama gave up one hit and walked three.

The Carp loaded the bases in the ninth with one out against closer Robert Suarez, but could not score.

Buffs’ Jones out of lineup for 1st time

Adam Jones sat out the Orix Buffaloes’ game against the Lotte Marines on Sunday, marking the first time this season was not in the lineup. According to the Nikkan Sports, Jones came out of Saturday’s game after the fifth inning due to discomfort in his right heel.

He was not examined at a hospital and is expected to play against the Hawks in Fukuoka from Tuesday.

Active roster moves 8/9/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/19

Central League

Activated

TigersP46Takumi Akiyama
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez
SwallowsP13Hikaru Nakao
SwallowsP69Ryuta Konno

Dectivated

SwallowsP61Takuma Kubo

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesP22Ryota Muranishi
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Dectivated

FightersP27Nick Martinez
BuffaloesP30Kohei ”K” Suzuki

Starting pitchers for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

Central League

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuta Muto (0-0, 6.75) vs Yuta Iwasada (2-1, 3.41)

Carp vs Dragons: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Allen Kuri (1-2, 4.91) vs Shinnosuke Ogasawara (-)

NPB 2020 6-30 GAMES AND NEWS

Go to today’s LIVE BLOG.

Giants knock off BayStars

The Yomiuri Giants hit three home runs in a come-from-behind 5-2 win over the DeNA BayStars on Tuesday. The win kept the Giants in first place in Japan’s Central League.

With a 2-1 lead in the sixth, BayStars skipper Alex Ramirez pulled left-handed starter Haruhiro Hamaguchi with one out and one on with three right-handed bats coming up. Hayato Sakamoto walked against hard-throwing right-hander Yuki Kuniyoshi and Kazuma Okamoto singled in the tying run.

With two outs, Gerardo Parra singled in the go-ahead run, and Yoshihiro Maru and Okamoto homered for the Giants in the eighth. Twenty-year-old Giants lefty Shosei Togo (2-0) surrendered two runs in the first but followed with five-straight scoreless innings before being pulled in the seventh.

Rubby De La Rosa allowed two runners in a scoreless ninth to earn his fourth save.

Giants activate Wheeler

Zelous Wheeler, whom the Giants acquired last week in a trade from the Pacific League’s Rakuten Eagles, was added to the active roster on Tuesday. He was inserted into the starting lineup, batting seventh and playing left field.

The Giants have the maximum of five imported players on their 31-man active roster, one of whom will not be eligible to play. Teams are allowed to suit up 26 players this season instead of the traditional 25 while using the additional non-playing spots on pitchers between starts.

Almonte slam lifts Dragons

Former New York Yankee Zoilo Almonte hit a game-breaking seventh-inning grand slam and starting pitcher Yuya Yanagi (1-1) overcame five walks over seven innings in a 5-0 Central League win over the Chunichi Dragons.

Moore bounces back with solid effort

Matt Moore came back from a disappointing Japan debut last week to strike out 10 over six innings, while allowing one run for the SoftBank Hawks in a 1-1, 10-inning tie with the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome. Moore allowed three hits and a walk.

Fighters starter Naoyuki Uwasawa, making his first start since a line drive shattered his kneecap on June 18, 2019, allowed a run over five innings.

Lions get past Albers, Buffaloes

Andrew Albers (0-1) allowed two unearned runs over four-plus innings to take the loss as the Seibu Lions held off the Orix Buffaloes 3-2 at MetLife Dome.

With two outs in the fourth, Albers walked two-time defending PL home run champ Hotaka Yamakawa and allowed a single to Shuta Tonosaki. An error loads the bases, and veteran left-handed-hitting grinder Takumi Kuriyama hits a flair to center for a two-run single.

The Buffaloes pulled two runs back on former Mets and Orioles farmhand Aderlin Rodriguez’s first homer in Japan.

But new Lions import Reed Garrett helped slam the door with his fourth-straight 1-2-3 inning in relief. Tatsushi Masuda worked the ninth for his fourth save.

Spangenberg day to day

Corey Spangenberg was held out of Tuesday’s game after feeling pain in his ribs in pregame practice, Seibu Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji told the Nikkan Sports, saying his new left fielder and leadoff man is now day to day.

“He goes full speed in practice and full speed in games,” Tsuji said. “And if he really gets hurt that’s going to cost us a lot.”

Carp, Swallows rained out

Tuesday’s game between the Hiroshima Carp and Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, has been postponed. It’s the first rain-out of the Nippon Professional Baseball Season, that started on June 19, nearly three months late on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

Note: A previous version of this incorrectly stated the game was in Hiroshima.

Go to NEWEST.

For those of you who are curious, you can read a little about these teams in my Japanese pro baseball guide.

Live blog: Eagles vs Marines

The Lotte Marines have won eight-straight, the last a labor-intensive, clinical dissection of Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Sunday. Tonight they’re up against the Rakuten Eagles. The Eagles send big lefty Hayato Yuge (1-0) against the Marines’ Kota Futaki (0-0).

The Marines are back with a bopper in the No. 2 spot as Katsuya Kakunaka starts against the right-hander.

Since I’m typically at the office watching games, this is the first time I’ve been able to casually take in the pregame. The Eagles did away with the national anthem before the first game of the series. With no fans in the stands, DH Stefen Romero just stood up in the dugout and kind of waved to the cameras.

Top 1st

Takashi Ogino somehow gets the barrel on a splitter below the zone and flairs it into center. He cruises into second with a double when the ball kicks off the glove of center fielder Ryosuke Tatsumi.

Kakunaka, up there ostensibly because he can hit the ball hard, sacrifices.

Announcer: “Of course you try to play for one run when you are playing well.”

Ikuhiro Kiyota homers on straight 1-0 fastball over the inside part of the plate and pulls it deep into the left field stands. Marines 2, Eagles 0.

Brandon Laird tries the same thing with a sinking fastball and flies out easily to left. Leonys Martin follows with an easy grounder to first.

Bottom 1st

Futaki starts Eigoro Mogi off with two called strikes at the bottom of the zone, but can’t get him to chase one outside. A 1-2 forkball doesn’t topple until after Mogi lashes it into center for a leadoff single.

Longtime Marines captain Daichi Suzuki up to bat against his former team. A generous call on a back-door slider to the left-handed hitter and a foul put Suzuki in a hole. The announcer feels it necessary to comment on the fact that the Eagles aren’t bunting when trailing 2-0 at home, because for many in Japan, this would be normal behavior.

Another splitter from Futaki, not a great one either, but Suzuki is fooled enough that he hits into an easy 6-3 double play. Blash fouls off an inside fastball. Blash miss-hits a high straight fastball and flies out to center.

Top 2nd

Shogo Nakamura draws a four-pitch leadoff walk. Yuge hangs a 2-0 fastball to Seiya Inoue, but he miss-hits it and flies out deep to center. Tatsuhiro Tamura up.

This guy had a GREAT game on Sunday against Orix with four superb at-bats that were instrumental in Lotte’s win. But with the run and hit on, Tamura misses a low inside pitch with a kind of cricket swing and catcher Hikaru Ota guns down Nakamura to complete the double play.

Bottom 2nd

Hideto Asamura turns on a first-pitch inside fastball and it dies at the wall for a leadoff double. Hiroaki Shimauchi rips a hanging first-pitch slider up the middle for an RBI single. Marines 2, Eagles 1.

Romero takes a borderline fastball away for Ball 1, and Futaki misses in the same spot with a slider and still no swing. He offers at a high splitter and knocks it past third and hustles into second with a double.

A bad first-pitch slider in the heart of the zone, and Ginji Akaminai’s eyes light up. He misses it a little, but it drops into shallow center. Tie game. Eagles 2, Marines 2.

After a conference at the mound, Hikaru Ota misses a bunt, but Akiminai steals second. Ota then grounds to second to bring home Romero. Eagles 3, Marines 2.

With the infield in for a play at the plate, Tatsumi grounds it through the infield. Eagles 4, Marines 2.

Mogi walks and there are two on, and Futaki is done. Manager Iguchi had no patience with his offense and now has no patience with a starter who’s throwing hittable pitches in the zone. The new pitcher is lefty Toshiya Nakamura, to face the left-handed-hitting Suzuki with one out and the game slipping away.

And there it goes… Suzuki blasts the first pitch into the right field stands. Eagles 7, Marines 2.

Asamura strikes out swinging to end the inning.

Top 3rd

Two quick outs for Yuge in the third. Guessing seven early runs will help his execution a little. But a Kakunaka single and a walk to Kiyota, and the Marines have a chance to get a run or two back.

Yuge sneaks a slow pitch past Laird in the zone for Strike 1. A foul and it’s 0-2. But Laird taps one back to the mound.

Bottom 3rd

Shimauchi strikes out swinging at a high hanging splitter. Romero gets ahead in the count again before swinging and missing a low fastball. Two more misses from Nakamura and Romero walks. Akaminai, however, goes down looking at a pitch on the outside corner, and Ota also goes down looking, on three pitches.

Top 4th

Leonys Martine up to lead off the Marines’ fourth. He hits under a fastball and it floats into shallow left for a single. Shogo Nakamura flies out to right. With Inoue at the plate, Martin takes second when Yuge bounces a splitter and scores easily on a liner to left center. Eagles 7, Marines 3.

Tamura goes down swinging for the second out, and Yudai Fujioka lines out.

Bottom 4th

After an impressive third, lefty Toshiya Nakamura walks Tatsumi to open the fourth. The Eagles are piping in the sound of their fans chanting for Eigoro Mogi. Tatsumi draws a bunch of pickoff throws from the left and then steals his second base of the game easily.

The 14th pitch to Mogi is his 11th foul of the at-bat, and he walks on the 15th. Two on and no outs for Suzuki, who hit the first pitch from Nakamura for a home run. This time he’s up there to surprise the world with a bunt but pops it up. Now he’s sacrificing. Suzuki strikes out looking and now with Blash up, Nakamura, having failed to pick Tatsumi off first, tries his luck with him at second.

Blash hammers a high 1-2 fastball, pulling it into the left field corner. Tatsumi scores, but Mogi is cut down on near-perfect throw from Kakunaka in left. Eagles 8, Marines 3.

Asamura this time clears the fence. Hammering a hanging Nakamura splitter out to left for his fourth home run of the season. Eagles 10, Marines 3.

Top 5th

Kakunaka with a nice swing on a high fastball produces a one-out single, but Kiyota grounds into an easy double play.

Bottom 5th

Lotte switches out their battery. Right-hander Tsuyoshi Ishiazki and rookie catcher Toshiya Sato in for Toshiya Nakamura and Tamura. Romero will be their first test. Romero strikes out swinging after missing a slider and a cutter low and away. Akaminai flies out. Ishizaki, a 29-year-old journeyman who spent most of his fringy career with the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers, is looking very sharp. He catches Ota looking and it’s a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 6th

Yuge still in there for the Eagles. A curve and a fastball and Laird is gone. A pair of two-out singles brings the rookie Sato up to the plate. He has a good at-bat but grounds out to end the inning.

Bottom 6th

Ishizaki is locating his slider and fastball. He gets four-straight ground balls off miss-hit balls, but ground balls sometimes get through. Suzuki beats out an infield single with two outs, Blash finds a hole and Asamura walks. An inning that was in control is perched on a precipice.

The battery tumbles over the cliff. Ishizakai gets ahead against Shimauchi by working outside with his fastball land slider. Sato calls for a low-inside 1-2 slider, Ishizaki gets it up just a bit and Shimauchi doubles in two runs. Eagles 12, Marines 3.

Romero follows by barreling up a fastball away and driving it out to right for an opposite-field home run. Eagles 15, Marines 3.

Top 7th

If this were international baseball, it would have just ended on the mercy rule. But it isn’t, so right-hander Tomohito Sakai is in for Yuge, who barring a catastrophe will improve to 2-0.

Top 8th

With former high school star Tomohiro Anraku on for the Eagles, Martin hits pay dirt with one of his big swings, taking it out to right for his first homer of the season. Eagles 15, Marines 4.

Final score: Eagles 15, Marines 4

Where’s the mercy rule when you need it?