Tanaka ‘comes home’, wins 100th in Japan
Eagles 2, Lions 1
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Masahiro Tanaka (1-1) earned his 100th victory in Japan in his first game back at Rakuten’s home park since saving Game 7 of the 2013 Japan Series. He allowed a run on a walk and three hits while striking out four over six innings.
His postgame hero interview began with the announcer welcoming him back to Sendai, to which he answered, “I’m home.”
A day after homering in his Japan debut, Brandon Dixon drove in the first of two Eagles first-inning runs with a two-out bad-hop infield single, and looked like a Golden Glove winner at first base after a quick-thinking unassisted double play after he dropped a scorching second-inning liner.
That play and a good catch in center to open the game ensured Tanaka would only allow one run. Cory Spangenberg was hit by a pitch in the third, stole second and scored when Wu Nien-Ting did a good job singling on a low splitter. Tanaka allowed another single in the inning, but with the game in the balance, retired the last 10 batters he faced.
Sung Chia-hao, HIromoto Sakai and Yuki Matsui closed it out for the Eagles with one scoreless inning each.
Keisuke Honda (0-1) allowed two runs over 3-2/3 innings in his season debut for Seibu. Reed Garrett contributed a scoreless eighth for the Lions.
Fighters 5, Buffaloes 3
At Sapporo Dome, the Nippon Ham Fighters pounded out five runs against Orix lefty Sachiya Yamasaki (0-3), capped by Haruki Nishikawa’s second homer, a two-run shot.
Naoyuki Uwasawa (2-2) allowed two runs over seven innings.
Masataka Yoshida belted his fifth homer for the Buffaloes to lead off the fifth and came within a hair of making it a 5-4 game in the sixth. With two on and two outs, Yoshida drove one to deep to left field that Nishikawa raced back and made a leaping grab on.
The win was the Fighters’ first of the season at Sapporo Dome.
Marines 11, Hawks 9
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, four walks derailed Carter Stewart Jr.’s second outing for the SoftBank Hawks, as he allowed two of the Lotte Marines last six runs when he retired just two of the seven batters he faced in the fifth inning.
Hawks starter Rei Takahashi allowed five runs over 3-1/3 innings, but the Hawks retook the lead in the top of the fifth and sent Stewart out to pitch with a 6-5 lead. He allowed a leadoff double and left after issuing back-to-back bases-loaded two-out walks. SoftBank re-tied it in the top of the sixth, only for Katsuya Kakunaka to put the hosts ahead for good in the home half with an RBI single.
Frank Herrman put a stop to the Hawks’ comeback in the seventh, and Leonys Martin, who singled and scored in Lotte’s three-run third, helped put the game away in the home half with his eighth home run, a two-run shot.
Yurisbel Gracial had four hits and a walk, scored a run and drove one in for SoftBank, while Marines rookie Akito Takabe hit a two-run homer in the fourth to give the Marines a 5-4 lead and pushed across the tying run in the fifth.
Marines starter Manabu Mima got shelled for six runs over 4-1/3 innings. Closer Naoya Masuda entered with the tying runners on with no outs in the ninth and worked around a walk to earn his fourth save.
Carp 6, Giants 3
At Tokyo Dome, Seiya Suzuki’s fifth homer and his second in two nights put Hiroshima in front for good against Yomiuri’s Shosei Togo (2-2), who allowed four runs in four-plus innings.
Rookie Carp lefty Koya Takahashi (1-0) gave up three runs, two earned in 4-1/3, and matched Togo’s RBI from a second-inning squeeze by singling in a run with two outs in the fourth.
Hiroshima’s bullpen, which has made great strides this year with the inclusion of two rookies, middle man Haruki Omichi and closer Ryoji Kuribayashi, looked fragile on Saturday, allowing four walks and two hits over the last 3-2/3 innings but stranded six runners. Kuribayashi worked around two ninth-inning walks to record his seventh save.
Swallows 4, Dragons 3
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Jose Osuna followed his two-hit Japan debut on Friday with two more on Saturday, including a two-out line single into the gap in right off Chunichi closer Raidel Martinez (0-1) to clinch a walk-off win.
Tetsuto Yamada put Yakult in front with his seventh home run and third in two nights, a two-run, third-inning shot into the first row in left field off Yuya Yanagi, who worked six innings. Yakult’s Hirotoshi Takanashi surrendered Takuya Kinoshita’s second home run that made it 2-1 in the fifth, and left with the game tied in the sixth with two on and none out.
Hiroki Kondo, signed after being released last winter by the Rakuten Eagles, prevented either runner from scoring. Noboru Shimizu worked a 1-2-3 seventh before Yota Kyoda hammered Scott McGough’s fifth pitch in the eighth for his first homer of the season. The right-hander, however, retired the three toughest outs in Chunichi’s lineup.
Rookie lefty Koshiro Sakamoto (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Swallows and earned his first pro win. Yamada and Munetaka Murakami set the table in the ninth with no-out walks, before Osuna ended it.
Tigers 13, BayStars 1
At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin rookie lefty Masashi Ito (2-0) allowed a run on a walk and five hits over the distance, preventing the DeNA BayStars from posting their second winning streak of the season and contributed with one of the Tigers’ seven first-inning hits off Taiga Kamichatani (0-3).
Koji Chikamoto doubled to open Hanshin’s first inning and scored from third when Jefry Marte chopped one threw the drawn-in infield for al one-out single. Three straight hits followed with rookie Teruaki Sato singling in two. After a fielder’s choice, Seiya Kinami cleared the bags with a three-run double.
Sato singled in two more runs in the second, while Jerry Sands, who singled in the first and second, had an RBI double in Hanshin’s three-run fourth. Right-hander Kevin Shackelford, who joined DeNA on a non-roster developmental contract in December and was added to the 70-man roster on Friday, was called up Saturday and struck out one batter in a 1-2-3 seventh.
Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT
Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Active roster moves 4/24/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/4