Tag Archives: Ayumu Ishikawa

Kotatsu League: Dec. 3

Sugano takes the next step

Although Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano has been cleared for takeoff to the majors via the posting system, there was no word yet whether he will go ahead and test the waters in MLB’s petri dish next season until Thursday night in Japan. At that point, Kyodo News‘ Japanese side reported that the right-hander had indeed asked his team to file the paperwork to post him.

The story suggested that Sugano will see what the market its like but is not 100-percent sold on moving to MLB this winter.

The Sugano posting so far has been an inversion of the regular process. Prior to 2019, there were two posting patterns, one for 10 teams and another for the SoftBank Hawks and the Giants

Teams other than SoftBank and Yomiuri

  1. Player speaks to media after meeting with team officials in December to discuss next year’s contract.
  2. Player tells the media that he’s told the team he wants to be posted.
  3. Team says it will be considered.
  4. The following year, the team posts the player.

SoftBank Hawks posting

  1. Player tells the media he wishes to be posted.
  2. Team tells the player to forget about it and focus on baseball

Yomiuri Giants posting

  1. Team denies any players will ever be posted.
  2. Sugano tells everyone he’ll go when he can but never says he asks to be posted.
  3. Team calls report that Shun Yamaguchi will be posted “untrue.”
  4. Team posts Shun Yamaguchi.
  5. One team official said policy toward posting players has not changed and that there are no exceptions — except Yamaguchi.
  6. Another team official said policy toward posting players has not changed but that Tomoyuki Sugano is an exception.
  7. Team reveals Sugano is free to go if he likes.
  8. Sugano at some point reveals whether he will go or not.

Nishikawa joins Arihara in posting que

The Nippon Ham Fighters revealed Thursday that they have posted center fielder and leadoff man Haruki Nishikawa, who now joins ace pitcher Kohei Arihara in pursuit of major league work.

This past week, Hirokazu Sawamura filed for free agency, saying he would be open to offers from all 30 MLB clubs and all 12 in Japan. His teammate, Ayumu Ishikawa was allowed to go but decided against it this winter, citing the coronavirus situation in the States as one reason to stay put.

NPB 2020 Nov. 16

Ishikawa backs off on majors

Right-handed starting pitcher Ayumu Ishikawa of the Lotte Marines has backtracked on his plan to move to the major leagues via the posting system, the Nikkan Sports reported Monday.

The report suggested that the uncertain situation with the coronavirus is among the reasons that have dissuaded the 32-year-old from going this winter.

Striking his name from the list leaves two players who have declared they want to go: the Nippon Ham Fighters’ outfielder Haruki Nishikawa and ace pitcher Kohei Arihara. The club has said it would discuss those possible moves with them, but no such decision has been announced.

Lopez, Patton out of Yokohama picture

The Central League’s DeNA BayStars announced Monday they will not extend contracts to first baseman Jose Lopez and relief pitcher Spencer Patton.

Lopez is only the third player after Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui with 1,000 hits in both NPB and MLB, and has played eight seasons in Japan, the first two with the CL’s Yomiuri Giants. Patton has pitched in 219 games over four seasons in Yokohama. He’s 12-9 with 101 holds and seven saves.

Fighters extend Rodriguez, VerHagen

The Nippon Ham Fighters said Monday they will extend the contracts of pitchers Bryan Rodriguez and first-year import Drew VerHagen.

The 29-year-old Rodriguez has pitched three years in Japan, but suffered injury issues in 2018 and 2020. He’s pitched in 50 games with a 9-9 record and a 3.74 ERA.

The 30-year-old VerHagen, pitching for his first pro team other than the Detroit Tigers, went 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 111-2/3 innings.

Carp agree with Kron, Neverauskas

The Hiroshima Carp have come to terms with and 27-year-old first baseman Kevin Kron and 27-yaer-old Lithuanian pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas.

NPB 2020 Nov. 3

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Spangenberg, Kuriyama power Lions

Corey Spangenberg and veteran Takumi Kuriyama powered the Seibu Lions as they from behind to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 5-4 at MetLife Dome on a holiday Tuesday afternoon game to pull into a tie for second-place in the Pacific League with the Lotte Marines.

Spangenberg’s fourth-inning solo homer put the Lions up 3-2, and his sac fly tied it 4-4 in the sixth. Shuta Tonosaki plated Fumikazu Kimura in the seventh with the go-ahead run as the Seibu bullpen locked it down after a rough outing by Kona Takahashi.

The right-hander had trouble from the start but managed a 1-2-3 first thanks to a good play from two-time Golden Glove winning shortstop Sosuke Genda to retire the leadoff man. Takahashi needed all the help he could get as he allowed four runs on four walks and six hits over 4-1/3 innings. He left after Taishi Ota’s lucky RBI single tied it 3-3, but rookie Tetsu Miyagawa’s two walks forced in a run to give the Fighters the lead again.

Kuriyama homered to tie it in the third and led off the sixth and scored on Spangenberg’s sac fly.

Ryosuke Moriwaki (7-1), the Lions’ fourth pitcher, worked around two hits and a walk in a scoreless seventh to earn the win after Kaima Taira and closer Tatsushi Masuda each retired three straight hitters.

Hawks come back to sink Marines

Nobuhiro Matsuda’s two-out RBI single broke a 3-3 sixth-inning tie and capped a four-run rally as the SoftBank Hawks came from behind to beat the Lotte Marines 4-3 at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium. The win was the Hawks sixth straight against Lotte after starting the season 4-11-1 against them.

The Marines took a 3-0 lead against Rick van den Hurk (2-2) on Ikuhiro Kiyota’s two-run first-inning homer and Yudai Fujioka’s fourth-inning solo homer.

Ayumu Ishikawa (7-6) took a 3-0 lead into the sixth, when Akira Nakamura had the Hawks’ third one-out single of the game. Yuki Yanagita followed with another. With one out, Yurisbel Gracial beat a throw to first to avoid a double play before Kenji Akashi drilled a two-run double to the gap. Ryoya Kurihara’s smash single tied it. Takuya Kai worked a walk off new pitcher Yuki Karakawa and Matsuda singled in the go-ahead run.

Five Hawks relievers finished the job with Yuito Mori getting his 31st save.

The game was held up for 14 minutes in the bottom of the fifth when brilliant sunshine over the stadium rim blinded those at home plate.

Moya crushes Eagles’ hopes

Steven Moya homered twice scored three runs and drove in four to power the Orix Buffaloes to a 6-3 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome over the Rakuten Eagles, who fell 2-1/2 games out of second place with four games to play.

Moya closed the book on Eagles ace Takahiro Norimoto (5-7) with his second homer of the game, a two-run seventh-inning shot. D.J. Johnson and J.T. Chargois retired three batters apiece in a solid rear-guard effort for Rakuten.

Kyoda, Kinoshita boost Dragons past ‘Stars

Yota Kyoda snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-run fifth-inning triple in the Chunichi Dragons’ 7-5 win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome. Chunichi catcher Takumi Kinoshita had three hits for the hosts. He singled to lead off the fifth, homered in the sixth and singled in an eighth-inning insurance run.

 Kikuchi rescues Carp, spoils Togo shutout

Ryosuke Kikuchi homered with two outs and a man on in the bottom of the ninth to break up rookie Shosei Togo‘s shutout and take Hiroshima Carp starter Allen Kuri off the hook in a 10-inning 2-2 tie with the Yomiuri Giants at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Swallows come back

Taishi Hirooka hit a seventh-inning, game-tying homer and Naomichi Nishiura’s three-run 10th-inning shot off Yuta Iwasada (6-3) decided it as the Yakult Swallows came back to beat the Hanshin Tigers 4-1 at Koshien Stadium.

Hirooka tied it off Hanshin’s second pitcher, Suguru Iwazaki, but Jon Edwards and Robert Suarez each worked a scoreless inning, while the Swallows bullpen put up four scoreless innings to force extra innings. Nishimura homered in the 10th and Taichi Ishiyama recorded his 18th save.

Jones ends 1st season in Japan

The Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes announced that first-year import Adam Jones returned to the United States on Tuesday.

Jones played in 87 games with a .331 on-base percentage with a .417 slugging average with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs. He had been deactivated due to “lack of fitness.”

In Japanese language comments released by the team, Jones called it an amazing year despite the difficulties imposed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He said he had learned to alter his approach having learned about Japanese baseball and Japanese culture, and that he was looking forward to come back fit and compete next year for the entire season.

Active roster moves 11/3/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/13

Central League

Activated

GiantsP17Kan Otake
GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
TigersOF25Taiga Egoshi
DragonsP50Tatsuya Shimizu
DragonsC68Iori Katsura
DragonsIF7Akira Neo

Dectivated

BayStarsP15Shoichi Ino
TigersP29Haruto Takahashi
DragonsP36Yuichiro Okano
DragonsC44Yuya Gunji

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP19Hiromasa Saito
HawksP44Rick van den Hurk
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi
BuffaloesP14Kazumasa Yoshida
BuffaloesP30Kohei Suzuki
BuffaloesIF24Kotaro Kurebayashi
BuffaloesIF42Aderlin Rodriguez
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo
BuffaloesOF00Hayato Nishiura

Dectivated

LionsP30Daiki Enokida
FightersP13Tsubasa Nabatame

Starting pitchers for Nov. 4, 2020

Pacific League

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

Zach Neal (5-8, 5.21) vs Kosei Yoshida (0-1, 5.40)

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

Chen Wei-Yin (0-2, 2.25) vs Kodai Senga (10-6, 2.31)

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

Daichi Takeyasu (1-0, 0.00) vs Hideaki Wakui (11-4, 3.31)

Central League

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (4-5, 3.65) vs Yuya Sakamoto (4-1, 5.31)

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

Shintaro Fujinami (1-6, 4.68) vs Masanori Ishikawa (2-8, 4.73)

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

Atsushi Endo (4-6, 4.13) vs Yuki Takahashi (1-2, 5.74)

NPB 2020 Oct. 6

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Marines plagued by Yamamoto

The Lotte Marines had enough trouble on Tuesday without having to face Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who allowed two hits and two walks over eight innings to improve to 8-3 in the Orix Buffaloes’ 3-0 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The Marines played the game after the local health authorities told them it would not be necessary to call it off despite the club having become an official coronavirus cluster with two positive tests on Sunday and 11 more on Tuesday – when the test results were announced a day later than expected.

Yamamoto struck out nine, and closer Brandon Dickson picked up the pace with two strikeouts in the ninth to secure his 12th save in a game played like no one wanted to stick around the ballpark any longer than they had to. The game wrapped up in 2 hours 27 minutes.

Ayumu Ishikawa, the Marines’ Opening Day starter, allowed all three runs over seven innings to fall to 7-4.

Takahashi outduels Senga

Reliever Kaima Taira got Lions starter Kona Takahashi (6-8) out of a seventh-inning jam with a double play as the Seibu Lions got past SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga in a 3-1 win at MetLife Dome.

Senga (7-6) walked a career-high seven batters but still kept it close, allowing just one run over six innings in a 142-pitch effort.

Takahashi struck out eight, hit a batter and walked one while allowing two hits over 6-1/3 innings.

Tomoya Mori drove in all three Lions runs with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly and a two-run eighth-inning triple. Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda allowed a run in the ninth but notched his 24th save.

Fighters pluck win from Norimoto

Taishi Ota’s 11th home run of the year brought the Nippon Ham Fighters from behind against Rakuten Eagles’ ace Takahiro Norimoto (5-5) in a 5-3 win at Sapporo Dome.

Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-4) allowed three runs, one earned, over 6-1/3 innings to earn the win.

Sugano earns 100th career win

Tomoyuki Sugano improved to 13-0 thanks to some solid run support to earn his 100th career victory in the Yomiuri Giants’ 6-4 win over the DeNA BayStars at Tokyo Dome.

Yoshihiro Maru broke a 1-1 tie with a third-inning home run off rookie Yuya Sakamoto (3-1) who took his first career loss. Sugano had a fourth-inning hiccup when some poor pitches led to a two-run Jose Lopez homer. Zelous Wheeler canceled that out in the fifth with a two-run shot off former BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki. Tyler Austin went deep off lefty Kota Nakagawa in the eighth for his 14th home run.

The Giants ace allowed three runs over seven innings on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth for his 15th save.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Katsuno pitches Dragons past Swallows

Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-4) worked 7-2/3 innings against a depleted Yakult Swallows lineup squad and their scheduled starting pitcher in the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-0 win at Nagoya Dome.

Announced Swallows starter Yasuhiro Ogawa was scratched after developing a fever. Out of concern of a possible coronavirus infection, the Swallows also kept star second baseman Tetsuto Yamada, shortstop Naomichi Nishiura and closer Taichi Ishiyama off the game roster. Ogawa tested negative, and the other three players are expected to play from Wednesday.

In Ogawa’s absence, the Swallows turned to rookie Takuma Kubo (0-1), who allowed all four runs in the second inning to earn his first career loss in his first career start. Katsuno allowed five hits, a walk, and hit a batter while striking out six.

Tigers, Carp draw

Hanshin Tigers closer Robert Suarez allowed the tying run to score in the bottom of the 10th but got out of the inning with the potential winning run on base in a 4-4 10-inning tie with the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Marines getting presidential

Perhaps the Lotte Marines’ home park should be known as the White House, where Wednesday’s game against the Orix Buffaloes went ahead after the local health authorities — perhaps following Donald Trump’s advice that we shouldn’t fear the virus– said there was no reason to cancel.

After over a day of waiting for test results that should have been known Monday after a game that shouldn’t have been played Sunday, the Lotte Marines announced Tuesday afternoon that seven players and four members of the team staff have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officially making the Marines Japan’s first pro sports body in Japan to become an infection cluster.

In addition to them, four others have been determined to have been in close contact with pitcher Daiki Iwashita, who fell ill on Saturday and returned a positive test on Sunday, the same day the team hosted the Seibu Lions. The four were seated near him on the team’s flight on Friday from Chitose Airport to Haneda Airport.

At the same time, the Marines announced that their Eastern League farm game against the DeNA BayStars’ minor leaguers had been called off, ostensibly because much of the farm team will be needed to replace the first team on the active roster. Wednesday’s game has also been scratched.

The infected and those in close contact have made 1,167 plate appearances this season, slightly more than one third of the team’s total and have accounted for 129-1/3 innings pitched of the team’s 811 this season.

On Sunday, the Marines tested everyone connected to the first team, but Monday and came and the club shrugged its shoulders and said, “Sorry. We haven’t heard anything.”

Iwashita fell ill after he returned from the team’s roadtrip to Sapporo, where he allowed two runs over six innings in his start.

One first-team staff member, who was not deemed to have been in close contact with Iwashita, also tested positive on Sunday.

On Sept. 25, the Hanshin Tigers called up nine players from their farm team to replace four who tested positive and five others who had been in close contact with them. The following day, the Tigers were only able to suit up 17 minor leaguers for their Western League farm game.

Who’s sick

  • P Daiki Iwashita
  • OF Takashi Ogino
  • OF Katsuya Kakunaka
  • OF Ikuhiro Kiyota
  • OF Tsuyoshi Sugano
  • IF Takeshi Toritani
  • SS Yutai Fujioka
  • IF Ryo Miki
  • Assistant coach Shota Ishimine
  • Four members of 1st team staff

Who’s been in contact

  • P Yusuke Azuma
  • P Fumiya Ono
  • OF Koshiro Wada
  • P Daiki Yamamoto

Swallows’ Ogawa held back due to fever

The Yakult Swallows pulled scheduled starter Yasuhiro Ogawa from Tuesday’s game against the Chunichi Dragons after the 30-year-old right-hander developed a 37.3 C fever. He was ordered to rest at the team’s hotel in Nagoya.

The Swallows opted to pull infielders Tetsuto Yamada and Naomichi Nishiura and closer Taichi Ishiyama from the game roster for Tuesday’s game game pending the result of a test on Ogawa.

Ramirez rumors starting again: Sponichi

Sports Nippon Annex reported Tuesday that the DeNA BayStars are considering replacing manager Alex Ramirez with minor league manager and former ace pitcher Daisuke Miura.

There appears nothing more concrete to this story than there was six weeks ago when some pundits picked apart Ramirez’s work and pointing out his unorthodox decisions, in an effort to promote the candidacy of someone else–hopefully someone who could then gift them coaching jobs with the team.

The team’s owner, Tomoko Namba, has indicated the team’s mission is to win, and a former DeNA international employee has said the pressure within the organization to do so–despite a limited talent base–is extreme and has turned the BayStars’ front office into a pressure cooker.

Active roster moves 10/6/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/16

Central League

Activated

GiantsP26Yuki Takahashi
GiantsP40Yuri Furukawa
GiantsIF52Takumi Kitamura
CarpP58Reira Fujii
CarpOF38Koki Ugusa
SwallowsP69Ryuta Konno

Dectivated

GiantsP58Ryosuke Miyaguni
GiantsP95Hayato Horioka
GiantsIF98Estamy Urena

Pacific League

Activated

LionsOF58Masato Kumashiro
EaglesP43Sung Chia-hao
EaglesC44Yuichi Adachi
MarinesP11Chihaya Sasaki
MarinesP41Kakeru Narita
MarinesP86Jose Flores
MarinesC45Yuito Munetsugu
MarinesIF40Koki Fukuda
MarinesIF50Shin Matsuda
MarinesIF59Kei Hosoya
MarinesIF67Kenta Chatani
MarinesIF68Kenji Nishimaki
MarinesOF2Kyota Fujiwara
MarinesOF38Akito Takabe
FightersC60Takuya Kori

Dectivated

MarinesP24Yusuke Azuma
MarinesP27Daiki Yamamoto
MarinesP37Fumiya Ono
MarinesIF00Takashi Toritani
MarinesIF4Yudai Fujioka
MarinesIF23Ryo Miki
MarinesOF0Takashi Ogino
MarinesOF1Ikuhiro Kiyota
MarinesOF3Katsuya Kakunaka
MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano
MarinesOF63Koshiro Wada

Starting pitchers for Oct. 6, 2020

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (6-5, 3.95) vs Hideaki Wakui (10-3, 3.06)

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

Shota Hamaya (2-1, 5.68) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (2-3, 3.26)

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

Kazuya Ojima (6-6, 3.50) vs Andrew Albers (3-6, 3.80)

Central League

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

Kazuto Taguchi (5-4, 4.42) vs Shingo Hirata (0-0, 3.19)

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

Yudai Ono (7-5, 2.18) vs Masanori Ishikawa (1-5, 4.65)

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

Atsushi Endo (2-4, 4.34) vs Minoru Iwata (1-0, 2.31)

NPB 2020 7-10 games and news

Hail, hail the gang’s all here

For the first time since Feb. 24, fans in Japan were able to see games between teams from Nippon Professional Baseball’s two top leagues as clubs from the Central and Pacific leagues were allowed to admit u to 5,000 fans to their games starting Friday.

One of the games, between the CL’s Yomiuri Giants and Yakult Swallows at Hotto Motto Field Kobe, was rained out, and the game at nearby Koshien Stadium was called after five innings.

The opening takes place as COVID-19 cases surge around Japan and in particularly in Tokyo. Tokyo set a record for new infections on Friday.

Japanese ball to an American-style beat

To prevent the spread of the virus, fans have been asked not to participate in organized cheering, chanting and singing, while musical instruments have been banned. But when you take the organized cheering away from Asian baseball you get a much more subdued atmosphere.

Instead of every at-bat being accompanied by its background music and rhythm section, the reduced crowds created a buzz that ebbed and flowed more in tune with action on the field.

Kuriyama brings Lions back

Veteran left-handed hitter Takumi Kuriyama belted a two-run, game-tying home run in the eighth and drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning that pushed the Seibu Lions to 7-6 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Kuriyama’s second home run of the season, off reliever Taiki Tojo, took Lions starter Zach Neal off the hook for the loss and preserving his streak of 12-straight winning decisions.

“One can’t be happier than this,” said the 36-year-old Kuriyama. “How the fans see us, their critical eye as well as their sympathy and understanding is essential.”

“I felt like all eyes were on me, and I felt the tension conveyed by everyone in the stands, it helped me buckle down.”

Tojo tried to go away with a first-pitch slider, but it drifted over the inner half of the plate and Kuriyama golfed it into the right field stands.

“I went up focused on hitting my pitch and not wasting the at-bat,” Kuriyama said.

Marines starter Ayumu Ishikawa seemed to struggle in the whipping wind in the first. A leadoff single by rookie Shohei Suzuki and a one-out walk set the table for Hotaka Yamakawa, who hammered a high fastball away and just got it over the fence in right for a three-run home run.

Neal got five groundballs in Lotte’s two-run first. The first two found holes, while the third resulted in a run scoring on a botched rundown. Brandon Laird became the first Marine to elevate the ball, with a sacrifice fly to the wall in left. Two more grounders ended the inning.

The Marines took the lead in the third when Martin walked and Laird reached on yet another groundball single. With one out, Neal tried to go inside to Seiya Inoue with a two-seam fastball but it hung up over the outside half of the plate and he reached the seats.

Yamakawa drew a leadoff walk in the fourth, and a nice stop by shortstop Yudai Fujioka allowed the Marines to get a force on Mori, who then stole second with one out. Kuriyama walked and a hit batsman loaded the bases. Rookie Seiji Kawagoe struck out on a borderline 3-2 pitch, but rookie Kakeru Kawanobe made amends for a bad throw that allowed the Marines’ first run to score by rifling a single to right.

With their lead cut to a run, Tatsuhiro Tamura opened the Marines fourth by working an eight-pitch walk. The Marines catcher advanced on a groundout and beat a good relay on Ogino’s single to left to make it a 6-4 game.

Right-hander Tetsu Miyagawa, Seibu’s top draft pick last autumn, worked around two walks in a scoreless seventh. New import Reed Garrett (2-0) struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth to earn the win, and Tatsushi Masuda worked a perfect ninth to collect his sixth save.

Ishikawa allowed four runs on three hits, three walks and two hit batsmen, while Neal surrendered six runs on four walks and six hits over six innings. Marines closer Naoya Masuda (0-1) walked two, hit a batter and gave up a single in the ninth and was tagged with the loss.

Rodriguez’s farewell bomb KO’s Fighters

Aderlin Rodriguez capped a two-out, ninth-inning rally with his fourth home run, a three-run shot that lifted the Orix Buffaloes to a 4-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

The walk-off “sayonara” home run was one of three on Friday. Fighters closer Ryo Akiyoshi retired the first two batters in the ninth before walking Adam Jones on seven pitches and rejuvenated left-handed slugger Takahiro Okada on eight.

After taking a slider for Ball 1, Rodriguez fouled off two low changeups from the side-armer but drilled the third on a line over the left field wall.

Christian Villanueva’s first home run as a Fighter, a two-run shot off right-hander Tsubasa Sakakibara, made it a 3-0 in the sixth.

Rodriguez, who saved a first-inning running with a leaping catch at first base, singled and scored in the eighth on a smash Villanueva was unable to handle at third. Lefty Naoki Miyanishi might have given the game away then, but for a diving catch in left by Kensuke Kondo, who started an inning-ending double play.

The bullpen wasted the best start of the season from Fighters ace Kohei Arihara, who surrendered two singles while striking out seven and walking one over seven scoreless innings.

‘Gita blast lifts Hawks past Eagles

Yuki Yanagita’s fourth home run in four games settled a tight pitchers’ duel when he led off the 10th inning by homering off new import J. T. Chargois (0-1) in the SoftBank Hawks’ 2-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Eagles starter Takahiro Norimoto had his splitter working to perfection and struck out nine. He and Hawks starter Nao Higashihama, who was able to pin-point his fastball, each allowed a run over seven innings. Other than an eighth-inning scrape that Rakuten’s Alan Busenitz barely escaped, neither bullpen looked in danger of giving up a run. That was until Yanagita crushed Chargois’ fourth pitch for his seventh home run of the season.

Submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi (2-0), who has started the season out of the bullpen after winning 12 games in the rotation as the 2019 PL rookie of the year, earned the win in relief.

Viciedo sayonara blast sinks Carp

Dayan Viciedo won it in the 10th inning with a walk-off home run to lift the Chunichi Dragons to a 3-2 home victory at Nagoya Dome over the Hiroshima Carp.

The two team’s Opening Day starters, Daichi Osera for the Carp and Yudai Ono for the Dragons, kept this game close through seven. The Carp opened the scoring on third-inning singles by Alejandro Mejia and Jose Pirela.

Journeyman Dragons outfielder Masataka Iryo drew a leadoff walk and scored the tying run in the fifth only for Carp infielder Ryosuke Kikuchi to take Ono deep in the sixth. Iryo, however, singled to open the eighth off journeyman reliever Yasunori Kikuchi and scored an unearned run to tie it on a Yohei Oshima sac fly.

The Dragons bullpen produced three-straight 1-2-3 innings, with Raidel Martinez working the 10th and earning the win when Viciedo homered off Geronimo Franzua to end it.

Tigers outlast BayStars in rain

Koji Chikamoto homered to open the Hanshin Tigers’ first and tie the game 1-1 and start a three-run inning in a 3-2 win over the DeNA BayStars in a game that was called after the top of the fourth due to rain.

Takayuki Kajitani homered to open the game, had three of DeNA’s four hits and scored both runs, but the Tigers offense in the first was enough to decide it at Koshien Stadium.

Kento Itohara followed with a triple and scored on a groundout before cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama homered. Justin Bour walked and Jerry Sands singled off DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki (1-0). Onuki got out of the inning after one of manager Alex Ramirez’s beloved intentional walks brought Koyo Aoyagi (2-1) up to bat and the Tigers pitcher struck out.

As usual, the cast on Pro Yakyu News found fault with Ramirez’s managing because of his employing a shift against Bour, who singled through the open left side of the infield to lead off the third.

NPB 2020 7-10 Pitchers

Announced starting pitchers in Japanese pro baseball for Friday, July, 10, 2020.

Pacific League

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

Ayumu Ishikawa (0-1, 3.50) vs Zach Neal (1-0, 2.95)

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

Tsubasa Sakakibara (0-0, 1.80) vs Kohei Arihara (0-3, 4.95)

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

Nao Higashihama (1-0, 2.25) vs Takahiro Norimoto (3-0, 0.87)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shosei Togo (2-0, 2.77) vs Masanori Ishikawa (0-1, 5.65)

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

Yudai Ono (0-2, 5.82) vs Daichi Osera (2-1, 2.86)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (1-1, 0.75) vs Shinichi Onuki (0-1, 4.50)