Tag Archives: Angel Sanchez

NPB Wrap 4-13-21

Starting pitchers

Flooding back

The DeNA BayStars and Chunichi Dragons each welcomed back two essential workers on Tuesday, as DeNA activated second-year slugger Tyler Austin and two-time Central League home run champ Neftali Soto while the Dragons called up catcher Ariel Martinez and closer Raidel Martinez.

The Yomiuri Giants introduced new sluggers Eric Thames and Justin Smoak, while the Hawks held a press conference for right-hander Nick Martinez, who joins this season from the Fighters.

Ishikawa wins debut

Marines 6, Eagles 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa (1-0) allowed a run over seven innings to outduel Takayuki Kishi (2-1) in his season debut. Ishikawa surrendered back-to-back two-out first-inning doubles to Hiroaki Shimauchi and Hideto Asamura. The right-hander allowed seven singles, and struck out five without issuing a walk, while his teammates scored four unearned runs against the Pacific League leaders.

Kishi surrendered Koki Yamaguchi’s game-tying solo homer in the second and allowed in a pair of unearned runs in the seventh on a walk, a two-out error, a passed ball and a Yamaguchi flare single. The Marines tacked on three more against former Padres and Lions submariner Kazuhisa Makita with the help of another two-out error. The Marines took a five-run lead into the ninth but had to call on closer Naoya Masuda with two outs and the bases loaded. The right-hander allowed an RBI single before closing out his second save.

Fighters 3, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, Journeyman right-hander Takahisa Ikeda (1-2) earned his first win since the Nippon Ham fighters acquired him in a March trade from the Rakuten Eagles. The 26-year-old allowed a run on three hits and two walks over six innings.

Seibu Lions starter Wataru Matsumoto (1-2) resumed living on the wild side of life with five walks, only the last of which cost him in a three-run Fighters sixth. After a fluke single, he hit a batter and walked another.

Matsumoto handed lefty Yasuo Sano a no-out, bases-loaded predicament and Kensuke Kondo didn’t try to do too much with a hittable pitch, lining it up the middle to tie it. Tetsu Miyagawa walked Sho Nakata, and surrendered a sac fly.

The Fighters’ bullpen has been making games lively recently, and Tuesday was no exception, allowing a run on two hits before earning his third save.

Buffaloes 7, Hawks 4

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Orix Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima (1-1) allowed five walks but just one run on one hit, Ryoya Kurihara’s first-ining RBI single, over 6-1/3 innings. The Buffaloes tied it in the second on a walk by lefty Shunsuke Kasaya (1-1) and three scratch singles before Keita Nakagawa doubled to open the sixth and scored on Takahiro Okada’s pinch-hit single off reliever Yuki Tsumori.

The Buffaloes blew the game open in a five-run ninth. Nakagawa had a a two-run double, while Adam Jones, who walked twice and scored the tying run in the second, singled in two more. The Hawks scored three in the ninth, the last coming on veteran pinch-hitter Yuya Hasegawa’s single off new pitcher Tyler Higgins, who then ended the game with a strikeout for his first save.

Giants 2, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri Giants right-hander Angel Sanchez (1-1) allowed a run on four walks and a hit batsman over 7-1/3 innings, and Taishi Hirooka broke a 1-1 seventh-inning tie with his first home run since he was traded from the Yakult Swallows in March.

Giants manager Tatsunori Hara pulled Sanchez after Dragons catcher hit a broken-bat fly to deep left. Lefty Kota Nakagawa entered and allowed the Dragons’ only hit before striking out two. Rubby De La Rosa worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth.

The Giants scored in the home half of the first on a walk and two singles off Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono (0-2), who allowed two runs and five total hits over seven innings.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Swallows 5, BayStars 1

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Albert Suarez (1-1) struck out nine while allowing two singles and a walk over six innings, while Kengo Ota broke a scoreless tie with a two-run fourth-inning double off Shinichi Onuki (1-1), who threw the world’s worst changeup to Munetaka Murakami. The slugger’s home run was his sixth, a three-run shot in the fifth. Tetsuto Yamada had three hits and scored twice for the Swallows.

The BayStars threatened to tie it in the top of the fifth after Suarez allowed a leadoff walk and a single but with one out and two runners in scoring position, the right-hander got a comebacker and a strikeout.

Pacific League

Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takahiro Norimoto (2-0, 2.03) vs Kazuya Ojima (0-1, 5.25)

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (0-1, 2.70) vs Hiromi Ito (0-1, 2.08)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 4.26) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-1, 0.78)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Seishu Hatake (0-1, 7.36) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-0, 3.24)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Yuto Kanakubo (0-0, 0.00) vs Taisei Irie (0-2, 5.40)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masashi Ito (1-0, 2.25) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-0, 3.09)

Active roster moves 4/13/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/23

Central League

Activated

GiantsP11Ryuta Heinai
GiantsIF00Dai Yuasa
DragonsP97Raidel Martinez
DragonsC57Ariel Martinez
BayStarsIF99Neftali Soto
BayStarsOF23Tyler Austin

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
LionsOF58Masato Kumashiro
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
FightersIF48Kyohei Ueno

Dectivated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura

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Spring Wrap 3-16-21

Tigers’ Sato goes off for 5th time

Teruaki Sato hit his fifth home run of the spring for the Hanshin Tigers in their 9-6 win at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium over the Yakult Swallows on Tuesday.

Twenty-year-old Swallows outfielder Taiki Hamada hit his fourth. Hamada, a fourth pick in 2018, has hit 19 homers in 609 minor league plate appearances, but little else from his stat profile would suggest he’s actually a prospect, but one never knows.

While players habitually who crush minor league pitching in a large sample size virtually never fail at the top level given enough chances, a number of stars have had great careers after really poor minor league performances. Unless they’ve failed miserably in over 1,000 minor league at-bats, I wouldn’t be too quick too judge.

One of Hamaya’s weaknesses so far has been strikeouts, and he has no whiffed just once in 29 spring plate appearances.

Neftali Soto, the article pointed out, led the preseason with six home runs in 2018, then led the CL in his first season with 41, but he’s the only in the past nine seasons.

Jon Edwards and Robert Suarez each worked an inning of relief for the Tigers, with Edwards allowing a run on two hits and a walk. Robert’s older brother Albert gave up six innings in his three-inning start for the Swallows. He surrendered Jefry Marte’s fourth home run of the spring.

What do preseason homers mean?

Not much, former Lotte Marines catcher Tomoya Satozaki said in a Nikkan Sports story published Tuesday morning about young Mr. Sato’s home run hoopla.

“How many preseason home run champs have gone on to win the home run title? How about batting champs?” Satozaki asked. “It’s different if you’re an established player with a track record, but for a rookie or a new import, those spring numbers don’t tell you much.”

At MetLife Dome, Wataru Matsumoto struck out five and walked two over 6-2/3 innings as the Seibu Lions beat the Hiroshima Carp 1-0. Reed Garrett worked a scoreless ninth for the Lions.

Masato Morishita, the CL’s 2020 rookie of the year, allowed an unearned run over 4-2/3 innings.

In Shizuoka, Steven Moya doubled and singled, and Adam Jones doubled in three trips to the plate for the Orix Buffaloes in their 5-3 win over the Rakuten Eagles. Alan Busenitz worked a scoreless inning of relief for Rakuten.

At Vantelin (Nagoya) Dome, Sawamura Award winner Yudai Ono allowed a run over five innings in a 6-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants. The lefty struck out four, walked one and allowed four hits.

Angel Sanchez started for the Giants. He struck out three, walked two, hit one as he allowed three runs on four hits over 5-1/3 innings. Flame-throwing Brazilian Thyago Vieira struck out two and walked one in the eighth, when Chunichi failed to put the ball in play.

At Sapporo Dome, second-year lefty Ryusei Kawano allowed a run over six innings while striking out four, walking two and hitting a batter and allowing two hits for the Nippon Ham Fighters in their 3-2 win.

At PayPay Dome, a party of five SoftBank Hawks pitchers combined to strike out 12 in a 1-0 win over the DeNA BayStars. The one pitcher we’d have expected to strike out a batter for the Hawks, closer Yuito Mori, didn’t.

Sasaki to start

The Marines announced Tuesday that Roki Sasaki would start Lotte’s final preseason game on Sunday at home against the DeNA BayStars, Sponichi Annex reported.

The 19-year-old Sasaki, who did not pitch at all in a game last year after he turned pro, faced three batters in his first game with the Marines and struck out one batter, while touching 95 mph.

“Next time will be on Sunday and he’ll go two innings,” manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “Going forward, we hope to stretch him out to three innings.”

The news came the same day the team began selling shirts and towels commemorating Sasaki’s debut, with his image and the words “The beginning.”

“I think it would be great if I’m allowed to try out different things,” said Sasaki, who added that the promotion was a surprise.

“I’m really happy to be imagine fans holding up those towels.”

Giants to test fans

As a kid, my favorite ballpark promotion, or at least the one we got taken to every year at Candlestick was Bat Day. Thinking back on those days, it’s hard to imagine having much enthusiasm for the Yomiuri Giants’ new promotion, “Coronavirus Test Day.”

OK, it’s not called that, but according to Sankei Sports, the team announced it will provide testing for the coronavirus to fans attending their April 25 home game at Tokyo Dome against the Hiroshima Carp.

If attendance is limited to 5,000 fans, the tests will be supplied to season ticket holders eligible for admission. If more fans are admitted, some fans using other tickets will be eligible to receive a free antibody test kit in the mail, or if a PCR test is desired, a voucher for a free test.

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Series 2020 Game 3

The SoftBank Hawks took a 14-game home winning streak in Japan Series games into Tuesday’s Game 3 against the Yomiuri Giants and extended it 15 with a 4-0 combined one-hit victory.

The Hawks have now won 11 straight series games after starting the 2018 series against the Hiroshima Carp 0-1-1. The Giants have lost eight straight, one shy of the series record nine straight they lost from 1958 to 1961,

Akira Nakamura, whose eight career Climax Series home runs tie him with a bunch of real home run hitters, hit Angel Sanchez’s worst pitch of the game through three innings, opening the scoring with a two-run, two-out, third-inning home run.

Nakamura, made it 3-0 in the seventh with an RBI single off reliever Yuhei Takahashi, who hit the first batter he faced and was charged with a run when Kan Otake surrendered an RBI single to Yurisbel Gracial.

That was enough for Matt Moore who pitched well and somehow managed to not surrender a hit through seven scoreless innings in which two runners walked and two reached on errors.

For the first time in the series, a Giants starting pitcher came out very sharp. Sanchez hit his spots, expanded the zone away to right handers with his cutter and threw some superb splitters and for the most part kept the Hawks from barreling up his mistakes. He survived a hard-hit first-inning single from Yuki Yanagita but an infield single and a hanging splitter to Nakamura gave away the lead.

Moore was not quite as crisp and seemed to have some trouble getting low strikes called, but he was helped out by some good fielding from his teammates — despite an ugly attempted rundown in the first inning. A big play at third base by Nobuhiro Matsuda turned a hard-hit ball into a force at second after Moore walked the leadoff man in the fifth.

Moore looked vulnerable in the sixth, after his own error allowed the leadoff runner to reach. He fell behind and two fastballs down the middle were hit to center field. Hayato Sakamoto, who’d barely failed to get all of a fat fastball in the fourth came to the plate.

After a meeting on the mound to make sure everyone was on the same page, the lefty unleashed his best fastballs of the game to start off Sakamoto before striking him out with offspeed pitches.

The Hawks held Sanchez’s feet to the fire sixth, when Nakamura, back in his groove after an uncharacteristically undisciplined first at-bat, drew a leadoff walk. Giants manager Tatsunori Hara issued an intentional walk to set up a double play against the hardest team to double up in Japanese baseball history, but got out of it when second baseman Naoki Yoshikawa speared a grounder headed for right and one or more runs.

The Hawks knocked Sanchez out in the seventh. With a single and a sacrifice and three lefties coming to the plate, the Giants went to lefty Yuhei Takanashi and things went downhill. Takanashi hit a batter, gave up Nakamura’s single. With one out, Kan Otake faced Yurisbel Gracial and gave up a single before the Giants finally got out of the inning.

Livan Moinelo opened with a strikeout and then worked around a one-out walk and a hit batsman by striking out two more. Yuito Mori allowed Yoshihiro Maru’s two-out single up the middle to keep the Giants from joining the 2007 Nippon Ham Fighters as the only Japan Series no-hit victims.

Wednesday’s Game 4 will put Tsuyoshi Wada in position to win his second straight Series clinching game. Wada, however, is the last Hawks pitcher to lose at home in the series, having dropped Game 6 in 2011 before he went to the majors and went through Tommy John surgery.

The Giants, who for some reason put their second best starter this season, Shosei Togo, in the bullpen, will start right-hander Seishu Hatake on Wednesday.

Game 3 starting pitcher profiles:

A pair of 30-something first-year imports get the starting assignments. The Hawks go with lefty Matt Moore, who suffered a hamstring injury early in the season that limited him to 78 innings.

Matt Moore

Threw his fastball 61.3 percent of the time, the second highest figure for any pitcher with 70-plus innings behind the Hanshin Tigers’ Shintaro Fujinami. Moore also throws his changeup and–like every Hawks pitcher–a curve of some sort. Moore’s curve averaged 127.7 kph this year according to Delta Graphs, that’s third fastest this season behind Sanchez (129.8) and Nippon Ham’s Nick Martinez (131.3).

Among pitchers who threw their change at least 10 percent of the time, Delta Graphs valued Moore’s as being the second most effective behind far-and-away 2020 leader Yuki Nishi. Moore was in fairly elite company this year with his swing and miss rate of 11.6 percent.

Angel Sanchez

Sanchez is only in his first year in Japan, but had good success with the SK Wyverns in KBO the past two seasons. Sanchez’s big pitch is his splitter, which he threw 21.8 percent of the time. He threw his cutter and curve a little less often.

Sanchez is good at getting guys to chase, which as I must have mentioned somewhere, seems to be the Giants’ team philosophy, but is not overly good at missing bats, which can be problematic against a hard-hitting team that makes good adjustments.

Setting the record straight

On Sunday, Nippon Professional Baseball announced that Yurisbel Gracial had tied a Japan Series record by scoring in nine consecutive games. On Monday, the body issued a correction, noting that the record is 12 games, set by former Hankyu Braves middle infielder Toshizo Sakamoto from 1968 Game 3 to 1971 Game 2.

NPB 2020 Oct. 29

Thursday’s games

Other news

‘Stars relievers stuff Giants again

For the second straight night, a Yomiuri Giants hitter who had tied the game earlier with a home run came up with a chance to turn the game around with the bases loaded but were turned away by the BayStars bullpen. Two straight sixth-inning strikeouts stemmed the tide in DeNA’s 5-2 win at Yokohama Stadium.

The Giants loss completed a three-game sweep and prevented them from clinching the pennant in Yokohama. Their magic number, however, dropped to one after the Dragons lost to the Tigers.

Yoshiki Sunada struck out slugging on-base machine Yoshihiro Maru swinging on a 3-2 changeup and right-hander Shingo Hirata got Hiroyuki Nakajima looking at a 3-2 strike to enable starter Kentaro Taira (4-5) to earn the win after allowing a run in 5-1/3 innings.

Taira, who turned pro with the Giants, only pitched in one game for them before he was plucked from among the unprotected players on Yomiuri’s roster as compensation for the signing of free agent and current Toronto Blue Jay Shun Yamaguchi. This puts Taira in the same boat as his outgoing manager, Alex Ramirez, who finished his career in Yokohama after being discarded by the Giants, for whom he won two CL MVP awards.

And while Ramirez tends to be egregiously positive and would have congratulated his former skipper Tatsunori Hara had they clinched in Yokohama, you had to think that sweeping them and preventing them from celebrating in their home park had to be sweet.

Angel Sanchez (8-4) allowed two runs over six innings to take the tough loss and the BayStars piled three runs on after Sanchez was replaced with lefty Kazuto Taguchi. Tyler Austin and Neftali Soto each drove in a run in the inning.

Maru’s home run was his 26th of the season and the 200th of his career.

Jose Lopez had two hits, moving within two of 1,000 in Japan, a milestone that would make him one of three players with 1,000 in both MLB and NPB along with Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto also had two hits, moving him within five of Japan’s iconic 2,000-hit milestone.

Nishi takes cue from Ono

Yuki Nishi (11-5) allowed six hits and a walk over the distance as the Hanshin Tigers took advantage of poor control from Yudai Ono (10-6) to beat the Chunichi Dragons lefty in a 3-1 win at Koshien Stadium.

The irony is that Nishi’s fourth complete game came against Ono, the guy they’e now calling “Mr. Complete Game” because he’s gone the distance in 10 of his 19 starts — a figure that seems incongruous in this age.

Nishi gave up the opening run, a leadoff shot in the first when Yota Kyoda barreled up a waist-high changeup and just cleared the fence at the right-field pole for his fifth home run. The right-hander overcame a two-out “triple” on a miss-played single to right and then shut down the Dragons the rest of the way.

Ono took the mound without his pin-point location but the Tigers only barreled up one of his mistakes in a two-run first. It went: bad pitch + bad swing = leadoff single; bad pitch + good swing = RBI double; tough pitch + good swing = infield single; and an RBI groundout when Yusuke Oyama chased Ball 4 but grounded to short.

The Tigers runs snapped Ono’s streak of 45 consecutive scoreless innings, and the loss dropped the Dragons into third place behind Hanshin.

Chono spoils Swallows’ rookie’s starting debut

Yakult Swallows 20-year-old rookie Yuto Kanakubo, their fifth pick in 2017, threw five scoreless innings in his first career start, but Hisashi Chono’s pinch-hit homer tied it in the Hiroshima Carp’s three-run seventh and both teams left the bases loaded late in the 3-3 10t-inning tie at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Hawks speed past Marines

The SoftBank Hawks’ Ukyo Shuto set an NPB record by stealing a base in his 12th consecutive game and pinch-runner Go Kamamoto scored the winning run from second on a two-run wild pitch from closer Naoya Masuda (3-5) in a 4-3 win over the Lotte Marines at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Matt Moore went eight innings for the Hawks, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits while striking out nine and walking none. Marines reliever Hirokazu Sawamura allowed the Hawks to close within a run in the eighth on a home run by Takuya Kai.

Eagles keep Lions at bay

The Rakuten Eagles took extra BP after the first pitch, hammering Zach Neal (5-8) for five runs over two innings on six hits and three walks in a 13-5 win at MetLife Dome over the Seibu Lions, who remain one game back of the Marines in the battle for the PL’s second and final playoff spot.

Rookie Eagles catcher Takaya Tanaka, a 28-year-old purchased from the Giants on Sept. 28 after two games with them, went 3-for-3 with his first career home run, a squeeze and three RBIs.

Fighters squeak past Buffaloes

Christian Villanueva tied it with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly, and Haruki Nishikawa manufactured the winning run in the 10th in a 4-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome.

The Buffaloes’ back-of-the-bullpen duo, setup man Tyler Higgins and closer Brandon Dickson, kept the game tied 3-3 through nine with one perfect inning apiece. Nishikawa singled with one out and stole second. He slid headfirst and took third after catcher Torai Fushimi’s throw hit off him and into right field for an error. Ryo Watanabe then did his duty with a drive to right to score Nishikawa.

Bryan Rodriguez worked a scoreless inning of relief for the Fighters.

Viciedo out with shoulder injury

Chunichi Dragons’ first baseman Dayan Viciedo injured his left shoulder making a diving catch in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game against the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium and was deactivated on Thursday.

The Dragons, who are the least forthcoming of Japan’s 12 teams regarding player injuries, said he was deactivated due to “insufficient upper body fitness.” This makes me wonder whether would use that catch-all to describe a player losing an arm in a traffic accident.

Active roster moves 10/29/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/8

Central League

Activated

DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Dectivated

TigersP64Kentaro Kuwahara
DragonsC52Takuma Kato
DragonsIF66Dayan Viciedo

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP58Wataru Karashima
MarinesP15Manabu Mima
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
FightersIF24Yuki Nomura

Dectivated

EaglesP12Hiroki Kondo
FightersP36Drew VerHagen
FightersP49Katsuhiko Kumon
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui

Starting pitchers for Oct. 30, 2020

Pacific League

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

Nick Martinez (2-6, 4.83) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (3-5, 2.69)

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

Katsunori Hirai (5-4, 4.24) vs Nao Higashihama (8-1, 2.18)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuya Ojima (7-8, 3.84) vs Takayuki Kishi (5-0, 3.75)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (4-2, 3.48) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-2, 4.18)

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

Masaya Kyoyama (2-1, 4.88) vs Joe Gunkel (1-4, 3.54)

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

Yariel Rodriguez (3-4, 4.38) vs Hiroki Tokoda (3-8, 5.37)

NPB 2020 Oct. 1

Other news

Eagles blow chance to knock off Hawks

The Rakuten Eagles wasted a great start by Takayuki Kishi in a 4-1 loss to the SoftBank Hawks, whose win at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi guaranteed they would remain top of the Pacific League on Thursday.

Kishi delivered a master class with his fastball, curve and change to hold the Hawks to a walk and two hits while striking out four. But the switch to former closer Yuki Matsui (3-4) in the seventh inning, for his first relief appearance of a season so far spent as a starter, cost the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

A pair of sharp fielding plays from Hawks second baseman Ukyo Shuto and first baseman Akira Nakamura helped starter Shuta Ishikawa (7-3) and three relievers hold Rakuten to five hits. The typically wild Ishikawa walked three and hit two while striking out six over 6-1/3 innings.

Yurisbel Gracial walked and scored from first on Ryoya Kurihara’s double. After taking third on the throw home, Kurihara scored on a squeeze by Takuya Kai, who homered in the ninth to complete the scoring.

The Eagles had an opening with two walks and a single in the home half of the seventh but hurt their cause by striking out trying to sacrifice and a base running error. Hawks closer Yuito Mori earned his 23rd save. “We owe Kishi an apology,” Eagles skipper Hajime Miki said.

Iguchi: ‘We need to do better’

Hisanori Yasuda took a borderline 3-2 pitch for Strike 3 to end the game with the bases loaded in the Lotte Marines’ 3-2 loss to the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome that left Lotte a full game behind the Hawks.

Fighters starter Toshihiro Sugiura (6-3) struck out a career-high nine as he allowed one run over six innings. Kotaro Kiyomiya and Shingo Usami each homered for the Fighters, whose current closer, veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi loaded the bases after retiring the first two batters.

Yasuda worked the count full and was headed for first after taking a pitch low and away before being rung up to end it. Miyanishi earned his fourth save.

“We failed to play to our full capabilities,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “We knew early on that we were working with a wide strike zone, and we just kept going along. We need to learn to do better.”

Leonys Martin doubled, walked twice, scored both of Lotte’s runs and was on base when the game ended.

Daiki Iwashita (5-7) took the loss after allowing two runs over six innings.

Yamakawa homer slays feisty Buffaloes

Hotaka Yamakawa broke a 5-5 tie with a two-run eighth-inning home run, his 23rd, off Tyler Higgins (2-3) as the Seibu Lions avoided a three-game sweep at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome with a 7-6 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Trailing by a run with the Buffaloes’ first-year setup man on the mound, Ernesto Mejia doubled and Takeya Nakamura singled in the tying run.

The turnaround earned rookie Tetsu Miyagawa (1-1) his first career win after he pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the seventh. Sosuke Genda and Corey Spangenberg opened the scoring with back-to-back homers in the third.

The Buffaloes, however, ran the Lions ragged in a four-run fifth. Trailing by two in the ninth, Takahiro Okada homered off closer Tatsushi Masuda, who earned his 23rd save after getting pinch-hitter Adam Jones to fly out to deep center for the final out.

Saiuchi ends 5-year winless drought

Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-1) plucked this summer from the independent Olive Guyners threw seven scoreless innings to earn his first win in 5 years, 2 days, in the Yakult Swallows’ 2-0 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium.

Saiuchi, the second pick of the Hanshin Tigers in 2011, was released last season. The right-hander challenged hitters in the zone with his breaking pitches, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out four.

“I am really happy to produce for the team after they found me lying around and gave me a chance,” Saiuchi said.

Swallows closer Taichi Ishiyama provided more chills and suspense in the ninth, when he allowed the tying runs on with two outs.

Yasuaki Yamasaki, who lost his closer’s job this summer, was hit on the right leg with a batted ball.

Fujinami shines in setup role

Shintaro Fujinami, whose career has been fraught with disappointment these past four years, and who has struggled in his return to the starting rotation this season, hit close to 100 mph in helping secured the Hanshin Tigers’ 2-0 win over the Chunichi Dragons with a perfect eighth inning.

Lefty Minoru Iwata (1-0) allowed five hits and no walks while striking out five over 6-2/3 innings. Jon Edwards struck out the only batter he faced in the seventh and Fujinami took care of business in the eighth. Closer Robert Suarez got a big play from shortstop Ryuhei Kobata to complete a 1-2-3 ninth and earn his 18th save.

Dragons rookie Yariel Rodriguez (2-3) allowed a run over six innings. The 23-year-old Cuban right-hander allowed two hits and two walks while striking out 10. The Tigers’ first run scored on a wild pitch.

Giants knock Scott

The Yomiuri Giants scored four runs in four innings off Tayler Scott (0-3) in a 5-3 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Yoshihiro Maru singled in a run in the first, and Hayato Sakamoto doubled in another in the third before Naoki Yoshikawa’s two-run single made it 4-0 in the fourth.

Despite their poor start, the Carp defense put on a fielding clinic, starting with some solid play from seven-time Golden Glove-winning second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi and four gems in left from Jose Pirela in the final innings.

Angel Sanchez (6-3) allowed three runs, two earned, over seven innings, while Rubby De La Rosa earned his 14th save.

Active roster moves 10/1/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/11

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP47Yoshiki Sunada
BayStarsP58Yuta Muto
TigersP21Minoru Iwata
CarpP70Tayler Scott
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez

Dectivated

BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
TigersP27Yuya Onaka
CarpC32Yuta Shirahama

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP11Tatsuya Imai
HawksP29Shuta Ishikawa
EaglesP11Takayuki Kishi
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
BuffaloesP35Motoki Higa

Dectivated

HawksP18Shota Takeda
HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
EaglesP41Kouji Aoyama
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui
BuffaloesP66Ryo Yoshida

Starting pitchers for Oct. 2, 2020

Pacific League

Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kota Futaki (5-2, 4.07) vs Zach Neal (3-6, 5.29)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Taisuke Yamaoka (2-3, 3.00) vs Takahiro Shiomi (4-6, 4.66)

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

Matt Moore (3-2, 2.61) vs Kenta Uehara (1-1, 1.11)

Central League

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-4, 4.61) vs Hiroki Tokoda (2-6, 5.83)

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

Shoichi Ino (6-5, 3.38) vs Tatsuya Shimizu (0-0, 0.00)

Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuki Nishi (7-4, 2.33) vs Nobutaka Imamura (3-1, 3.71)

NPB 2020 SEPT. 10

Enter the Sands man

Jerry Sands’ 17th home run of the season overturned a one-run seventh-inning deficit and Robert Suarez recorded a four-out save as the Hanshin Tigers beat the DeNA BayStars 8-7 at Yokohama Stadium on Thursday.

Sands, who lead South Korea’s KBO in RBIs last season, had three for the game, with one out and a man on in the seventh, he drove the first pitch he saw from big right-hander Yuki Kuniyoshi (3-3) for his third home run in six games.

The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third against Michael Peoples, who surrendered a leadoff single to Tigers starting pitcher Yukiya Saito. Tigers captain Kento Itohara’s infield single brought one run in, and Sands’ sac fly made it 2-0.

The BayStars tied it in the home half when they loaded the bases with no outs following a leadoff single by the No. 9 hitter, catcher Yasutaka Tobashira. Saito struck out Neftali Soto, the two-time defending Central League home run king, with no outs and the bags juiced, but a flare single and a sac fly tied it.

Saito was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the third, and Naomasa Yokawa delivered a three-run homer, only for the hosts to get two back on solo homers in the home half. Tobashira, who homered in the fourth, singled with a man on in the sixth to set the table for a three-run outburst against Joe Gunkel (1-2).

Soto’s two-run single put the BayStars up for the first time, but Gunkel earned the win after Sands turned things around in the seventh.

With one on and two out in the eighth, Suarez was called in to face Soto, and retired all four batters he faced to earn his 14th save.

Morishita earns 6th win

Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (6-2) allowed a run over seven innings and Ryosuke Kikuchi broke up a tie game with an RBI double in the Hiroshima Carp’s 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Mazda Stadium.

Morishita allowed five hits and a walk while walking one and striking out seven. The Swallows’ run came on Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s game-tying leadoff homer in the sixth.

“He has a good variety of pitchers, allowing him to navigate through the opposing batting order,” Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu said. “It’s great for a first-year pitcher to see so many batters, because I got the sense he was reading swings as he pitched.”

Seiya Suzuki doubled and scored on a Hisayoshi Chono single against Swallows lefty Keiji Takahashi in the fourth. Kikuchi broke the tie against Scott McGough (3-1) after Minoru Omori opened the inning with a leadoff pinch-hit double.

Geronimo Franzua worked the ninth to record his eighth save.

Dragons tie Giants, put Hara on hold

Naoki Yoshikawa tripled in two runs to eighth-inning runs for the Yomiuri Giants, and reliever Kota Nakagawa surrendered just one run after the Chunichi Dragons loaded the bases with one out in the eighth in their 2-2 10-inning tie at Nagoya Dome.

The tie prevented Giants manager Tatsunori Hara from earning his 1,067th career win that would move him out of a tie for the most in franchise history with Tetsuharu Kawakami, who managed the Giants to nine-straight Japan Series titles from 1965 to 1973.

Hara had praise for the left-hander who issued two one-out walks to load the bases, but allowed only one run to score on a ground out.

“It was amazing he kept them from doing more, considering he walked two and must have been questioning his command. Holding them to one run was really something,” Hara said.

First-year Giants import Angel Sanchez allowed a run over seven innings. Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth, while Yuhei Takanashi shut the Dragons down in the 10th, when the game was called a tie.

NOTE: The story originally said Hara was second in managing wins with the Giants. Former Giants manager Shigeru Mizuhara had nearly 500 more wins in his career, but only 881 of those came with the Giants.

Yanagita pours it on Eagles

Yuki Yanagita brought the SoftBank Hawks from behind with a three-run third-inning home run, and added another for good measure in a 4-2 win over the Rakuten Eagles that was twice delayed by rain at Sendai’s Raktuen Seimei Park Miyagi.

Trailing 2-0 to lefty Yuki Matsui in the third inning, a walk by Keizo Kawashima and an Akira Nakamura single brought Yanagita to the plate with one out and runners on the corners. Matsui missed in the heart of the zone with a decent 1-0 fastball and Yangita drove it out to left for an opposite field home run, his 21st of the season.

The game, which started 37 minutes late, was suspended again for 55 minutes with one out and two on in the bottom of the seventh.

Rookie Masami Iwami, who had opened the scoring with his first career home run faced lefty Livan Moinelo and grounded into a double play. The 26-year-old Iwami, the Eagles’ second pick in the 2017 draft, took SoftBank starter Nao Higashihama deep to lead off the second.

With two outs in the inning, rookie shortstop Hiroto Kobukata doubled and scored on a Daichi Suzuki single. Higashihama, who allowed four runners to reach in the first but no runs, left after five, having allowed six hits and four walks.

Former San Diego Padres right-hander Kazuhisa Makita took the mound for the Eagles in the eighth, and with two outs, surrendered Yanagita’s second home run.

Jones hits’ Japan’s magic milestone

Although he’s only played a few months here, the Orix Buffaloes happily celebrated Adam Jones’ reaching Japan’s iconic 2,000-hit milestone in their 12-4 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.

Jones entered the game with 1,939 career major league hits and 59 in the Pacific League for the Buffaloes. His second hit of the game, an RBI double was his 2,000th, which is in Japan — with it’s shorter seasons — what 3,000 is in the majors.

Only one imported player has ever had 2,000 hits in Japan, DeNA BayStars manager Alex Ramirez. Second on that list is Tuffy Rhodes with 1,792.

Two nights after they were one-hit, the Buffaloes cranked out 16 hits in the one-sided win. Corey Spangenberg hit his 10th home run for the Lions. The first-year import also hit his Japan-best 21st double. Spangenberg also leads both leagues with six triples.

Nakata hits 250th HR in Fighters’ win

Sho Nakata became the 64th player to reach 250 home runs in Japan when he capped a three-run first inning with his 24th of the season in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 5-3 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Marines right-hander Daiki Iwashita (4-5) allowed four runs over six innings to take the loss. He gave up five hits and a walk while striking out eight.

Former Cleveland Indians farmhand Toru Murata (1-1) struck out two over two perfect innings of relief to earn his first win in two years. Nick Martinez struck out three and walked two in a scoreless ninth to earn his first save in Japan. His only other save came with the Single-A Hickory Crawdads in 2012.

Active roster moves 9/10/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/20

Central League

Activated

TigersP48Yukiya Saito
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma
SwallowsC32Naoki Matsumoto

Dectivated

TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
CarpIF45Tatsuki Kuwahara
SwallowsP68Hirofumi Yamanaka
SwallowsC52Yuhei Nakamura

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP16Nao Higashihama
HawksP49Yuto Furuya
MarinesC53Naoya Emura
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu

Dectivated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksP48Yuta Watanabe
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura

Starting pitchers for Sept. 11, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ryota Ishibashi (1-3, 7.71) vs Kosei Yoshida (-)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Toshiya Nakamura (1-2, 4.50) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2, 4.15)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Matt Moore (1-1, 2.61) vs Zach Neal (3-4, 4.76)

Central League

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

Shosei Togo (7-3, 2.50) vs Albert Suarez (2-0, 0.53)

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

Shoichi Ino (5-3, 3.08) vs Yuya Yanagi (2-4, 3.30)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuki Nishi (5-3, 2.57) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-4, 6.04)