First-year pitcher Colin Rea joined the exodus of import players leaving Japan so they can be with their families, the SoftBank Hawks announced Sunday.
The 31-year-old right-hander was 3-1 in six games with a 2.03 ERA for the defending Pacific League champions, who will resume their season after the Olympic break on Friday.
In a comment in Japanese released by the club, Rea thanked the team but said the premature birth of his child created a situation from which he was unable to return after what was to be a temporary visit to his homeland.
In addition to Rea, Ernesto Mejia of the Lions, Stefen Romero of the Orix Buffaloes and Dustin Smoak of the Yomiuri Giants have all abandoned their contracts to see to their families.
On this week’s podcast, John E. Gibson speaks to Zach Neal of the Lions, who gives an update on his situation. Give it a listen when it is released on Monday.
Colin Rea threw his first Japan shutout on Monday, as the fourth-place SoftBank Hawks beat the third-place Rakuten Eagles to move a half game behind them and three back of the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes.
In the Central League, the Hanshin Tigers rallied for four runs in the ninth to scrape out a walk-off win that moved them two games clear of the second-place Yomiuri Giants, who were idle.
Hawks 8, Eagles 0
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, SoftBank’s Colin Rea (3-1) struck out eight over the distance. The right-hander, who held Rakuten hitless through 7-2/3, allowed two hits, issued three walks and hit a batter.
The Hawks loaded the bases with one out in the first off Takahiro Norimoto (7-3, 2.94) and Yuya Hasegawa brought home all three with a double. Ryoya Kurihara singled off the top of the fence in right to bring in the first of three third-inning runs and the last to be charged to Norimoto in his three-inning start.
Tigers 4, BayStars 3
At Koshien Stadium, Yusuke Oyama completed a four-run ninth-inning comeback against closer Kazuki Mishima, smashing the last of a series of fat pitches in a six-single barrage.
Hanshin starter Koyo Aoyagi issued four walks and allowed four hits and four runs, one earned, over seven innings. The BayStars scratched out a run in the third on a single, an error, a walk and a groundout, and for the second straight day appeared headed for a 1-0 loss until Aoyagi walked a pair of hitters and rookie Kaito Mori’s double was misplayed in left by Jerry Sands, allowing a second run to score on the play.
DeNA’s Shinichi Onuki struck out six over six scoreless innings. Edwin Escobar and Yasuyuki Yamasaki each worked a scoreless inning before closer Kazuki Mishima ran into a rough patch. With two outs and a man on, three straight Tigers hitters hit line-drive singles to make it a one-run game and bring Jefry Marte to the plate with the tying run on third and the winning run on first.
Mishima appeared to have ended the game on an 0-2 outside pitch to Marte that umpire Hidetomo Ashihara called a ball, causing catcher Hikaru Ito to collapse back on his butt in disbelief. Mishima followed with a 154-kph fastball down the pipe that Marte lined into center to tie it. The next pitch, a 144-kph slider up and in the heart of the zone did the trick for the Tigers.
Carp 6, Dragons 2
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Seiya Suzuki doubled in three first-inning runs off Yudai Ono (3-7), who surrendered another run in the first before settling down and being pulled for a pinch-hitter after four.
Daichi Osera (3-3) gave up a run after Yota Kyoda’s first-inning leadoff triple. He held the Dragons to a run in the fourth after back-to-back singles and worked a scoreless seventh after Chunichi again opened with two singles.
Fighters vs Buffaloes: Kushiro Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT