Tag Archives: C.C. Mercedes

NPB wrap 9-11-21

Saturday saw no lead changes in Japan, although the Pacific League’s last-place Nippon Ham Fighters did lay an epic beating on the SoftBank Hawks, leading the manager of the run-starved Fighters to say, “If we score runs like that, we absolutely have to win.”

We had a couple of complete-game wins in the PL, with Seibu’s Tatsuya Imai throwing 142 pitches to get out of a ninth-inning bases-loaded jam to secure his second career shutout, while Lotte lefty Kazuya Ojima needed just 109 pitches to finish his first complete-game win.

Tigers 4, Carp 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hanshin’s Takumi Akiyama (10-5, 2.81) made the most of his 85 mph fastball to retire 19 of the first 20 batters he faced, Jerry Sands reached base three times, Jefry Marte hit a three-run home run, his 17th, Mel Rojas Jr. had a pinch-hit RBI single and Robert Suarez saved his CL-leading 31st game.

Akiyama struck out three and hit a batter while allowing one hit, Ryoma Nishikawa’s 10th home run, over seven innings. Hiroshima starter Koya Takahashi (3-5, 5.26) allowed three runs in five-plus innings seven hits and two walks.

Dragons 5, Giants 4

At Tokyo Dome, leadoff man Yota Kyoda primed Chunichi’s pump, again. A day after homering twice, he reached base three times and scored on Nobumasa Fukuda’s first-inning RBI double and minor league reserve Masaru Watanabe’s three-run second-inning homer off C.C. Mercedes (7-2, 3.02), who lasted three innings. 

Yuya Yanagi (9-5, 2.12) worked 5-1/3 innings. He left one batter after Seiya Matsubara’s two-run homer, his ninth. The Giants got two runners on with no outs in the seventh, on a single and Hayato Sakamoto walk on a 3-2 pitch in the zone. With two outs, Hiroyuki Nakajima and Matsubara singled.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Raidel Martinez worked around Hayato Sakamoto’s leadoff double and a two-out hit batsman (Nakajima) in the ninth to earn his 17th save. Nakajima appeared to want a word with Martinez after getting hit, but when the pitcher approached the baseline and the ump got between them, they bumped fists and went their separate ways.

Swallows 9, BayStars 2

At Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Domingo Santana and Jose Osuna each homered and drove in three runs, while Cy Sneed (3-2, 4.34) allowed two runs on five hits and no walks over 5-2/3 innings to collect the win. 

DeNA’s Masaya Kyoyama (2-5, 5.08) surrendered four runs in the first. With two on and one out, Munetaka Murakami and Osuna each singled in a run, and Santana capped the rally with a two-run double. Santana made it 5-0 in the third with his 11th homer. With Yakult leading 7-2 in the eighth, Osuna polished off the BayStars with a two-run homer, his 10th.

Fighters 17, Hawks 5

At Sapporo Dome, Nippon Ham left a mark on SoftBank’s Shuta Ishikawa (5-9, 3.36), who threw 54 pitches but didn’t make it out of an 11-run first inning, allowing 10 runs, three earned. One of the two errors was pretty harsh, when a tougher-than-routine catch was dropped to put the leadoff man on. Ishikawa, however, should have gotten out of the inning trailing 4-0 but a double play ball was dropped, and the scoring continued until Wang Po-Jung’s second two-run double.

The Fighters batted around again in a five-run second, causing Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama to say, “With this many runs, it was a game we absolutely had to win.”

Fighters starter Takayuki Kato (4-6, 4.04) allowed five runs over seven innings to earn the win. The Hawks had two solo home runs. Wang and Haruki Nishikawa, who had a three-run first-inning triple, each drove in five runs for the Fighters.

Richard Sunagawa, who made the error that really blew up the first inning, hit his third, and Nobuhiro Matsuda his 12th.

Lions 7, Buffaloes 0

At MetLife Dome, Seibu’s Tatsuya Imai (7-5, 3.44) struck out 13 in a 142-pitch three-hit shutout in which he walked four.

Orix’s Cesar Vargas (1-0, 11.00), making his first start, surrendered six runs in 4-1/3 innings. The Mexico international worked out of a first-inning bases-loaded jam and didn’t allow a run until Shuta Tonosaki singled with one out in the fourth and scored on Hotaka Yamakawa’s two-out double. Cory Spangenberg made it 3-0 against his former Padres teammate with his sixth home run.

Vargas left with an injury in the fifth after Takeya Nakamura singled in Sosuke Genda with one out. Kohei “K” Suzuki took over and surrendered back-to-back doubles to Tonosaki and Takumi Kuriyama.

Marines 4, Eagles 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Lotte’s Kazuya Ojima (7-3, 4.57) allowed a run on four hits over the distance while striking out eight in his first career complete game as Lotte moved a full game ahead of second-place Lotte.

Rakuten veteran Takayuki Kishi (7-8, 3.62) surrendered a first-inning run on Takashi Ogino’s leadoff triple and a sacrifice fly. Kishi retired 10 straight before Shogo Nakamura and Leonys Martin doubled with one out in the fourth to make it 2-0. After eight straight outs, Kishi surrendered no-out seventh-inning doubles to Martin and Brandon Laird with Lotte’s fourth run scoring on a sacrifice fly.

Hiroaki Shimauchi’s 17th home run accounted for Rakuten’s eighth-inning run.

Sunday’s starting pitchers

Fighters vs Hawks: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kazuaki Tateno (1-1, 4.12) vs Tsuyoshi Wada (5-5, 4.32)

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Yutaro Watanabe (2-3, 4.44) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (5-8, 3.83)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 4 pm, 3 am EDT

Tokito Kawamura (1-0, 4.95) vs Ryota Ishibashi (0-0, 1.80)

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Shota Imanaga (3-4, 3.16) vs Joe Gunkel (7-1, 2.52)

Dragons vs Swallows: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yariel Rodriguez (0-2, 3.90) vs Juri Hara (1-1, 1.98)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (3-2, 3.19) vs Tomoyuki Sugano (3-6, 3.97)

Active roster moves 9/11/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/21

Central League


GiantsOF28Scott Heineman
BayStarsP53Sota Ikeya


GiantsIF10Sho Nakata

Pacific League




HawksP16Nao Higashihama
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki

NPB wrap 8-24-21

Japan’s baseball week started on Tuesday, but when the dust cleared, and there was a lot of late-game dust, the only difference in the standings was that the gap between the Central League’s fourth-place club, the Chunichi Dragons, and the third-place team, the Yakult Swallows, had increased to 12 games.

In the Pacific League, the day’s big matchup between the first-place Orix Buffaloes and the second-place Rakuten Eagles was rained out but the other four teams did their best to make up for the action as both turned in the ninth inning, one on the final play.

Live chat with former NPB star Leon Lee

Monday, Aug. 30, 11 am Japan; Sunday, Aug. 29, 7 pm Pacific Daylight Time.

Lee, who played 1,255 games over 10 years in Japan from 1978 to 1987 for the Lotte Orions, the Taiyo Whales, and Yakult Swallows. In addition to his accomplishments, Lee is a keen observer with a knack for explaining complicated things simply. 

Bring your questions and enjoy.

Exclusive for jballallen.com and newsletter subscribers.

Lions 4, Hawks 4

At MetLife Dome, SoftBank’s ninth-inning relief woes continued as Yugo Bando blew a two-run lead, only for the Lions to prove that the Hawks had no monopoly on ninth-inning ineptitude.

Wu Nien-ting drew a one-out walk and Seibu closed to within a run on a double by rookie Junichiro Kishi and a Seiji Kawagoe infield single. The Hawks failed to nail the tying run at the plate on a tough grounder to third by Shuta Tonosaki. With one out and the bases loaded, Tomoya Mori hit a fly about 100 feet past second base. Kawagoe gambled that Taisei Makihara couldn’t make a good throw, but the one-hopper from the Hawks center fielder beat him by five feet to end the game.

Trailing 2-0 from the first inning, Akira Nakamura put the Hawks on the board in the sixth, when he singled in Ryoya Kurihara off Lions starter Kona Takahashi. Kurihara bunted his way on to open the Hawks’ three-run eighth against Reed Garrett. An Alfredo Despaigne single and a Nakamura double made it 2-2 with the go-ahead run scoring on a fumbled ball in the outfield. Dariel Alvarez tacked on an insurance run with his third hit of the game.

The Lions scored twice in the first against Nao Higashihama (3-2, 3.14) on two singles, a sacrifice, a wild pitch and a passed ball. Shuta Tonosaki singled and Sosuke Genda settled for a sacrifice after trying to bunt his way on. Tomoya Mori singled, and went to third on a run and hit as Tonosaki scored on a wild pitch, and then came home on a passed ball two pitches later.

Fighters 3, Marines 3

At Sapporo Dome, Lotte remained in late-inning comeback scoring three ninth-inning runs for the third time in four games to salvage a tie with Nippon Ham after Naoya Masuda worked a 1-2-3 ninth for nothing.

Fighters starter Drew VerHagen got his second straight quick hook. Nine days after allowing a hit over three innings in a start against the Hawks, he allowed two hits while striking out six batters over four against the Marines without walking a batter in either game and lowering his ERA to 5.33. With VerHagen gone, things got dicey for the home crowd, as three relievers combined to allow seven runners over three scoreless innings.

Bryan Rodriguez steadied the ship with a 1-2-3 eighth to turn it over to closer Toshihiro Sugiura, who gave up a run on two hits before striking out two. Takashi Ogino, who had been instrumental in the Marines’ comebacks against the Hawks lined a fat 2-1 fastball into the gap to make it a 3-2 game. A walk and an 0-1 fastball to Shogo Nakamura and it was tied. The good news for the Fighters was a good catch in foul territory by first baseman Yuto Takahama to end the carnage with the bases loaded and Nippon Ham not trailing.

The Fighters scored in the first against Daiki Iwashita (8-5, 3.98) on Yuki James Nomura’s two-run home run, his fourth, while no-out singles by Takahama and Ronny Rodriguez set up another run in the second. Iwashita lasted six without allowing another run, thanks to catcher Takuma Kato picking Haruki Nishikawa off second in the fifth.

Lotte lefty Toshiya Nakamura worked two scoreless innings despite having a runner on third with one out in each inning to keep the Marines within striking distance.

Eagles vs Buffaloes

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, rained out

Giants 3, Carp 1

At Tokyo Dome, Takumi Oshiro had three hits, including a pair of solo homers, his 10th and 11th, while Hayato Sakamoto hit his third, and the Cristopher Mercedes (7-1, 2.11) allowed a run in seven innings to Masato Morishita (6-6, 2.42).

Sakamoto hit his 12th home run of the season in the third off his Olympic teammate Morishita, before the Carp loaded the bases with one out in the fourth – on a sacrifice – and scored when Sakamoto stumbled at the bag and was unable to complete what should have been an inning-ending double play.

Mercedes, who pitched against Japan in the Olympic opener, allowed three hits and issued three walks while striking out seven. Morishita struck out eight without issuing a walk, but surrendered six hits.

Rubby De La Rosa worked the eighth for the Giants, who completed the three-pitcher import relay with Thyago Vieira. The Brazilian walked the first two batters before retiring the next three.

Giants-Carp highlights

Swallows 2, Dragons 1

At Shizuoka’s Kusanagi Stadium, Yakult went ahead in the seventh when Yuhei Nakamura doubled and scored on a fluke Shingo Kawabata single on a pitch well out of the zone that bounced near home plate and over third baseman Shuhei Takahashi.

Scott McGough stranded a pair in the ninth by striking out Dayan Viciedo with runners on the corners to end it and record his 18th save.

Koji Fukutani (5-10, 4.26) went eight innings, allowing seven hits but no walks while striking out six.

Yakult starter Keiji Takahashi allowed five hits and a walk over the first three innings but only one run, leaving the bases loaded in the third after Viciedo plated Yota Kyoda with a sacrifice fly. Ryuta Konno (7-0) relieved Takahashi with two out and two on in the seventh and retired Viciedo.

Fukutani, who three seven scoreless innings a week earlier, and retired the last nine Carp batters in that start, followed that by retiring the first nine Swallows hitters before Yasutaka Shiomi muscled a pitch in on the hands into center for a fourth-inning leadoff single. The Swallows tied it when Fukutani hung a 1-1 two-seamer up in the zone and Tetsuto Yamada drove it off the top of the wall for a double.

Tigers 8, BayStars 2

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Hanshin took a 1-0 lead in the second on a two-out Mel Rojas Jr. singled and a Seiya Kinami double. Tigers leadoff man Koji Chikamoto opened the second with his eighth home run, and the hosts added another on a Takumu Nakano single, a walk a groundout and a wild pitch.

Koyo Aoyagi (10-2, 1.91) kept the BayStars off the board through six before he surrendered two runs in his final inning on a Kazuki Kamizato RBI single. Haruhiro Hamaguchi (5-7, 3.74) gave up six runs on two walks and seven hits while striking out five over four-plus innings. The lefty surrendered back-to-back singles to open the fifth before Jerry Sands chased him with a two-run double.

Yusuke Oyama hit the second pitch from reliever Shuto Sakurai for his 14th home run to stick a fork in the game.

Wednesday’s starting pitchers

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

Ryusei Kawano (2-2, 1.85) vs Kazuya Ojima (6-3, 4.57)

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

Takahisa Hayakawa (7-4, 3.47) vs Daiki Tajima (5-6, 3.65)

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

Zach Neal (1-4, 4.37) vs Kodai Senga (2-1, 6.28)

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

Daisuke Naoe (0-1, 2.79) vs Shogo Tamamura (2-4, 3.40)

Swallows vs Dragons: Kusanagi Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masanori Ishikawa (3-2, 2.63) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-2, 4.02)

Tigers vs BayStars: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masashi Ito (6-5, 2.66) vs Shinichi Onuki (3-5, 5.29)

Active roster moves 8/24/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/3

Central League


BayStarsIF5Toshihiko Kuramoto
BayStarsOF8Kazuki Kamizato
BayStarsOF61Tatsuo Ebina


SwallowsOF31Kotaro Yamasaki

Pacific League


HawksIF36Taisei Makihara
FightersOF45Fumikazu Kimura
BuffaloesC33Masato Matsui
BuffaloesIF67Keita Nakagawa


HawksOF64Yusuke Masago