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.
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.
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.