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NPB news: Sept. 22, 2022

On Thursday we had three games, two in the Central League, where the two title chasers were in action, and one in the PL, where second-place Orix took on fifth-place Lotte, and ran into a monster.

The Swallows opened play with a magic number of four to clinch and a seven-game CL lead over the BayStars. Munetaka Murakami was looking for home run No. 56 since hitting two on Sept. 13.

Thursday’s games

BayStars 3, Giants 0: At Yokohama Stadium, reliever Hiromu Ise was the man of the hour, retiring all three batters he faced while keeping the bases jammed with Giants in the eighth inning to clean up the mess left by southpaw Edwin Escobar.

“Escobar is always the guy for us, securing wins,” Ise said. “I wanted to be the guy who could back him up tonight.”

Continue reading NPB news: Sept. 22, 2022

NPB news: Sept. 9, 2022

It was Central League Friday, and Munetaka Murakami kicked it off with a home run, his 53rd and afterward paid tribute to the late Hall of Famer Katsuya Nomura, who encouraged him in his first spring training, and who for one year held the Japan single-season record with 52.

This weekend’s big CL series is between the second-place DeNA BayStars and the third-place Hanshin Tigers. The Yomiuri Giants and Hiroshima Carp went into the weekend breathing down the Tigers’ backs.

The Giants hosted the Dragons, with Shosei Togo going against Chunichi ace Yudai Ono, with the Carp visiting the Swallows, where their ace, Daichi Osera went against Yakult rookie Reiji Kozawa.

Murakami pays his respects

Munetaka Murakami’s 53rd home run on Friday moved him past the career season highs of Hall of Famers Katsuya Nomura and Hiromitsu Ochiai, and afterward the 22-year-old remembered Nomura. The former Swallows skipper spoke to Murakami as an 18-year-old at Yakult’s minor league spring training camp.

“We didn’t speak long but we did have a chance to talk. He told me, ‘At the very least, break my record,’” Murakami said.

“At the time, I didn’t think this day would come. Now that it has happened, I would like to report to him that I have surpassed his record.”

BayStars 9, Tigers 2: At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA came back from a 2-0 first-inning deficit after Taiga Kamichatani (3-6) walked the first two Tigers hitters and both scored. Shintaro Fujinami (2-4) retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced, before things began to go awry.

Continue reading NPB news: Sept. 9, 2022