Tag Archives: Dayan Viciedo

NPB wrap 5-3-21

1-strike pitch to Yuma

Buffaloes 6, Lions 3

At MetLife Dome, Orix performed two different versions of the Elmore Leonard western “3:10 to Yuma.” Instead of an impoverished rancher getting a villain onto a train bound for Yuma Arizona, the NPB versions involved downtrodden Buffaloes getting the surviving dangerous Lions –on two fastballs: a 2-1 pitch to Yuma Tongu and a 1-1 heater to Yuma Mune.

Tongu’s fourth home run, a three-run sixth-inning homer, opened the scoring. Mune’s, a low liner to center against a drawn-in Lions outfield, iced the game in the eighth. Mune’s was his third of the season and his second in two games.

Keita Sano and Adam Jones co-starred in both versions, opening the sixth and eighth inning with singles off Tetsu Miyagawa (0-1) in the sixth and Ryosuke Moriwaki in the eighth, and then before the Lions knew it, or “あっという間” (attoiuma) as they say in Japanese, it was Yuma time.

The Lions got two back in the seventh against 19-year-old Buffaloes’ lefty Hiroya Miyagi, who had faced one batter over the minimum to that point. A leadoff walk and a single set up one-out Takumi Kuriyama and Cory Spangenberg RBI singles.

The Lions came within a hair of tying it when Wu Nien Ting lined a pitch down the left field line that was ruled to have gone foul by smidgen – or a 10th of a smidge. Wu struck out and Miyagi was charged with two runs over 6-2/3 innings on two walks, a hit batsman and four hits. The rookie struck out five.

By the way, I went to two games at Tigers Stadium in 1999, to see Masao Kida, who earned his only major league game the first night, the same game that Elmore Leonard kicked off by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

The Seibu Lions wasted five scoreless innings from Matt Dermody, whose biggest difficulty in his Japan debut was navigating umpire Shinichiro Hara’s strike zone. Dermody struck out three, walked three and allowed five hits.

Eagles 7, Hawks 4

Eagles 7, Hawks 4

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Hideto Asamura scored three runs and drove in two as the Rakuten Eagles overcame an early three-run deficit. Ryota Takinaka (2-2) struggled with his control in the first inning, when two of SoftBank’s three runs were unearned, but settled in to go five innings.

SoftBank starter Akira Niho (0-1) cruised through four innings but allowed an unearned run in the fourth and was lit up in the fifth. Asamura, who singled and scored in the fourth, tied it with a two-out, two-run double and scored on a Hiroaki Shimauchi single.

With two outs and first base open in the seventh, the Hawks elected to walk Asamura intentionally, but he scored on a two-run Shimauchi double.

Yuki Matsui earned his eighth save, but the Hawks made him work for it with some gritty at-bats in a 23-pitch inning.

BayStars 2, Dragons 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, DeNA starting pitcher Michael Peoples (1-0) couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time for the Central League’s last-place BayStars. The second-year right-hander struck out six while allowing four hits and walking none over six scoreless innings to win a pitchers’ duel with another 2021 debutant, Chunichi’s Kodai Umetsu (0-1).

Umetsu allowed two runs, one earned, over five innings on two hits, two walks and a hit batsman. The BayStars took the lead thanks to a leadoff error that allowed Peoples to reach and score on a walk, a sacrifice and a groundout. Keita Sano made it 2-0 in the sixth, when he hammered a hanging slider from Keisuke Tanimoto for his third home run.

After a scoreless seventh by Edwin Escobar, right fielder Tyler Austin just barely misjudged a ball, turning a double into a leadoff triple, and allowing Akira Neo to score from third on a ground out against Yasuaki Yamasaki. But that was it for Chunichi’s offense as Kazuki Mishima struck out Mike Gerber and Dayan Viciedo en route to a 1-2-3 ninth and his fifth save.

Giants  3, Carp 2

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Zelous Wheeler hit the Yomiuri Giants’ third home run, a seventh-inning tie-breaking shot off Masato Morishita (3-3), and Yohei Kagiya  (1-0) retired all four batters he faced, including Kevin Cron after he inherited a two-out bases-loaded jam to earn the win.

Hayato Sakamoto fifth homer opened the scoring for the Giants, and Yoshihiro Maru’s second tied it in the sixth. Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki hit a two-run shot in the third. The Giants used four pitchers to get through the ninth. Thyago Vieira entered with one out and surrendered two hits. Yuhei Takanashi entered with two outs and the bases loaded and retired pinch-hitter Kosuke Tanaka to earn his first save.

I leave you with 8-time Golden Glove winner Ryosuke Kikuchi’s 5th inning robbery.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Towa Uema (1-1, 5.02) vs Daichi Takeyasu (1-0, 3.21)

Hawks vs Eagles: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shunsuke Kasaya (1-2, 4.30) vs Takayuki Kishi (2-2, 3.34)

Central League

Swallows vs Tigers: Jingu Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kazuto Taguchi (1-2, 4.26) vs Yuki Nishi (3-2, 2.38)

Dragons vs BayStars: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yudai Ono (1-2, 2.50) vs Shinichi Onuki (1-2, 5.27)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Hiroki Tokoda (1-2, 4.56) vs Yuki Takahashi (5-0, 1.80)

Active roster moves 5/3/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/13

Central League

Activated

DragonsP18Kodai Umetsu
BayStarsP13Hiromu Ise
BayStarsP45Michael Peoples
CarpOF59Minoru Omori

Dectivated

BayStarsP12Kosuke Sakaguchi
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura
SwallowsP29Yasuhiro Ogawa

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP13Akira Niho
HawksOF51Seiji Uebayashi
LionsP28Ryosuke Moriwaki
LionsP98Matt Dermody
EaglesP57Ryota Takinaka
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi

Dectivated

HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

NPB wrap 5-1-21

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Fighters-Lions called off due to virus

The Nippon Ham Fighters announced four new positive tests on Saturday, a day after three other players’ positive coronavirus results were announced. Three staff members, including a coach, combined to make the team an official coronavirus cluster, and causing Sunday’s game against the Seibu Lions to be postponed.

It is the first postponement since last summer when a game in Fukuoka between the Hawks and Lions was called off over an abundance of caution after a veteran working out with the farm team was infected.

Tanaka battles through to 2nd win

Eagles 3, Marines 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten’s Masahiro Tanaka (2-1) and his manager and pitching coach all said his fastball had more life on it, and it was good, even if he had trouble locating it and did get away with one stinker, and perhaps they were accounting for the fact that Lotte hitters did very little with the pitches he left in the heart of the zone.

Tanaka’s 3rd start and postgame interview

In any case, Tanaka worked six innings. He walked one, hit one, and allowed five hits while striking out six. Hideto Asamura drove in a run with Rakuten’s third third-inning single and Takero Okajima, who drove in a run in Tanaka’s 2-1 win the previous Saturday, hit his second home run of the season, a two-out blast in the fourth off the Marines’ Opening Day starter, Kota Futaki (1-2).

Rakuten’s Sung Chia-hao, Hiromoto Sakai and Yuki Matsui finished up with Matsui getting his seventh save.

Hawks 9, Buffaloes 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the SoftBank Hawks offense gave new right-hander and former Nippon Ham Fighter Nick Martinez (1-0) a hearty welcome. The nine runs while he was the pitcher of record was the most in his 29 games in Japan. Martinez struck out four, walked one and allowed five hits over six innings.

Buffaloes starter Hirotoshi Masui (1-3) allowed eight runs, six earned, over five innings. 

Fighters 5, Lions 4

At Sapporo Dome, Seibu closer Tatsushi Masuda (0-2) blew a three-run save, surrendering a two-run homer to Sho Nakata – back in the three hole, a Taishi Ota RBI double high off the wall before leaving with two on so Tetsu Miyagawa could walk two batters as Nippon Ham literally walked off.

Nippon Ham’s Opening Day starter, Naoyuki Uwasawa allowed two runs over seven innings, while striking out six, but Cory Spangenberg blasted his first homer in the eighth and Wu Nien-ting doubled and scored another insurance run in the ninth.

Seibu starter Keisuke Honda allowed a run over five innings, and four relievers held the Fighters in check with Reed Garrett working the seventh and Kaima Taira striking out the side in the eighth. Taira recorded a team record of getting a “hold point”–a hold or a win in relief–in 13 straight games.

Dragons 9, Giants 6

At Tokyo Dome, four of Chunichi’s runs scored on ordinary flies that found holes, a pair of RBI flares, and a ninth-inning two-run triple off Thyago Vieira on a routine fly that iced the game and wasn’t caught because Yomiuri played the game by Japan’s book.

The Japanese book says bring the outfield in with two outs and a runner on second to keep him from scoring on a single. Trailing 7-6 in the ninth with two outs and runners on second and third, the Giants’ outfield came in and Yohei Oshima’s poke landed just beyond left fielder Zelous Wheeler’s glove.

With Chunichi’s bullpen, the difference between one and three runs really didn’t matter much. Right-handed side-armer Katsuki Matayoshi has stepped seamlessly into the spot vacated by Daisuke Sobue, who’s now on the farm, while Raidel Martinez was pumped. The right-hander’s roar when he struck out Justin Smoak to end it could be heard over Tokyo’s afternoon thunder.

New Dragon Mike Gerber went 2-for-5 with three strikeouts a single and a booming RBI double in Chunichi’s three-run sixth. Dayan Viciedo homered in the fifth, his fourth of the season and his third in four games.

Smoak and Wheeler helped power the Giants’ comeback from a 7-0 deficit, and a beauty of a swing by Wheeler propelled a seventh-inning curve on the outside corner out to the opposite field to close the gap to a run.

Giants lefty Nobutaka Imamura (2-1) allowed four runs in 4-2/3 innings. Dragons lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (2-2) struck out seven in five-plus innings, while allowing three runs and singling in a run.

Giants-Dragons highlights

BayStars 10, Swallows 2

At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA’s Tyler Austin homered off the scoreboard, singled twice walked and scored three runs to help power the BayStars. The home run was his fourth and his third in four days. Neftali Soto doubled in a run in DeNA’s six-run seventh.

Southpaw Edwin Escobar (1-0) struck out two in a 1-2-3 sixth to earn the win and Kevin Shackelford worked a perfect eighth for the BayStars, while Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-1) allowed four runs, one earned, over five-plus innings and took the loss.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Takahisa Hayakawa (3-2, 2.56) vs Shota Suzuki (1-1, 2.45)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (0-3, 4.56) vs Yuki Matsumoto (1-1, 5.40)

Central League

BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kousuke Sakaguchi (1-1, 2.79) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (2-1, 4.23)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Joe Gunkel (4-0, 1.78) vs Yusuke Nomura (0-2, 4.42)

Active roster moves 5/1/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/11players marked with an asterisk are coronavirus deactivations and can be activated as soon as they are cleared to play.

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP37Nick Martinez
MarinesP18Kota Futaki
FightersOF66Chusei Mannami

Dectivated

MarinesP48Toshiya Nakamura
EaglesC44Yuichi Adachi
FightersOF61Yuma Imagawa*

NPB wrap 4-30-21

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Dickson on the outside

Orix Buffaloes right-hander Brandon Dickson may be unable to come to Japan this season due to difficulties obtaining visas for his family during the current state of emergency, Nikkan Sports reported Friday.

The 36-year-old in his ninth season with Orix, spent the entire 2020 season away from his family due to the coronavirus pandemic but had expected them to come with him this year. Dickson, a starter for his first six seasons before spending time as the Buffaloes – and Team USA closer – from 2019, was expected to return to Orix’s starting rotation this season.

3 Fighters KO’d by virus

Three Nippon Ham Fighters, outfielder Haruki Nishikawa, shortstop Takuya Nakashima and catcher Yushi Shimizu were all sidelined Friday by positive coronavirus tests, and they were joined by outfielder Daiki Asama, who is quarantining as a potential close contact.

The Coronavirus Kid returns

The Lotte Marines on Friday lifted the indefinite suspension on Ikuhiro Kiyota, who was held responsible for the Lotte Marines’ 2020 coronavirus outbreak that sidelined 14 players. The outbreak was discovered after the club returned from a road trip to Sapporo, although no players were known to have violated protocols. Kioyota, however, was suspended after photos of him eating out with a female companion while in Sapporo were later published.

Yanagi outduels Sugano

Dragons 3, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, Chunichi’s Yuya Yanagi (2-1) threw an artistic seven innings, locating his fastball and mixing it with a dynamite curve and changeup to strike out nine while allowing two runs in his seventh and final inning of work.

The right-hander gave up four hits, two in the seventh, and walked three. The walks forced him to escape a two-out bases-loaded jam in the second by retiring Sugano. Yanagi dominated for the next four innings before hard-hit balls by Justin Smoak and Zelous Wheeler set the table for the Yomiuri fightback.

Tomoyuki Sugano (2-2) lacked his customary razor-sharp command, and threw hittable strikes when he got behind in counts and allowed six hits but no walks. Sugano was burned in the second when Dayan Viciedo turned on an inside fastball and lined it into the left-field stands at the ballpark – emptied of fans due to the coronavirus state of emergency in effect that also forced the games at Koshien and Kyocera Dome to be held behind closed doors. The home run was Viciedo’s third.

With two on and one out in the inning, Akira Neo grounded to first but Smoak failed to stop it for a run-scoring error. After Yanagi hit the ball hard for the second out, Sugano hit a batter to load the bases. However, the ace passed his biggest test of the night by striking out Yota Kyoda on four pitches.

Akira Neo doubled and scored in the fourth on a single by rookie Wataru Takamatsu, who drove in the first run of his career.

Katsuki Matayoshi worked a scoreless eighth instead of regular setup man Daisuke Sobue, and Raidel Martinez carved up the heart of the Giants order in the ninth for his third save.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Swallows 4, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, Yakult rookie Yuto Kanakubo (1-1) struck out six over six innings, while DeNA lefty Yuya Sakamoto took a direct hit on his pitching shoulder from a Munekata Murakami line drive to open the second and left the game.

Tetsuto Yamada doubled in two runs in the third inning, and the visitors added two more in the sixth, when Jose Osuna doubled with two outs and scored on Domingo Santana’s second home run off fellow first-year import Kevin Shackelford.

Tigers 4, Carp 2

At Koshien Stadium, Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri (3-3) did well to only allow four runs over five innings after walking four over the first two. He walked six and allowed eight hits, while Hanshin’s Takumi Akiyama (3-2) gave up two runs over 7-1/3 innings.

Jerry Sands broke the ice in the first with a two-out RBI single, and walked and scored in the Tigers’ two-run fifth. Kevin Cron broke up the Tigers’ bid for a shutout in the eighth with a pinch-hit leadoff homer, his third. Hanshin closer Robert Suarez pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.

Rookie Takumu Nakano reached base twice and scored the Tigers second run while putting on a fielding clinic at shortstop.

Eagles 8, Marines 1

At Rakuten Seimei Park, Rauten’s  Hideaki Wakui (4-0) walked four, including three straight in the second inning to give Lotte the lead, only for the Marines to return the favor with back-to-back two-out errors and two unearned runs in the home half.

Brandon Dixon and Japanese baseball culture

Marines starter Toshiya Nakamura (0-1) allowed five runs, three earned over five innings. Brandon Dixon tripled in two runs in the third as the Eagles cruised.

Lions 5, Fighters 1

At Sapporo Dome, Seibu’s Kona Takahashi (4-0) allowed a run over six innings, followed by scoreless innings from Reed Garrett and Kaima Taira before the Lions opened the game up in the ninth on Sosuke Genda’s two-run triple. Tomoya Mori doubled and tripled and scored two of Seibu’s first three runs.

Drew VerHagen (0-2) allowed three runs, two earned, over 5-1/3 innings to take the loss.

Buffaloes 5, Hawks 4

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix victimized SoftBank’s normally reliable bullpen to overturn the visitors’ late 4-2 lead, scoring a run off setup man Livan Moinelo and two off Sho Iwasaki (1-1), who worked the ninth in place of right-handed closer Yuito Mori, who was deactivated to have inflammation in his left elbow treated.

Shuta Ishikawa allowed two runs, one earned, over seven innings but came up empty.

Masataka Yoshida opened Orix’s eighth with his sixth home run on an off night for Moinelo, who walked two batters. The lefty got a double play and escaped the inning with the tying run at the plate when pinch-runner Yuya Ota was out trying to take second on a bounced pitch.

Yuma Tongu and Kotaro Kurebayashi singled to open the ninth. After a failed two-strike bunt, Yuma Mune doubled them both home over the drawn-in outfield to win it.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Naoyuki Uwasawa (2-2, 4.31) vs Keisuke Honda (0-1, 4.91)

Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 3.27) vs Kota Futaki (1-1, 2.42)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Hirotoshi Masui (1-2, 2.82) vs Nick Martinez (-)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Nobutaka Imamura (2-0, 1.62) vs Shinnosuke Ogasawara (1-2, 2.45)

BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ko Nakagawa (0-0, 0.00) vs Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-0, 3.43)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Masashi Ito (2-0, 1.71) vs Koya Takahashi (1-0, 1.74)

Active roster moves 4/30/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/10

Central League

Activated

TigersOF53Kairi Shimada
BayStarsP35Tomoya Mikami

Dectivated

TigersOF97Dan Onodera
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesIF55Adeiny Hechavarria
LionsOF72Seiji Kawagoe
EaglesP40Takuma Uchima
FightersP49Katsuhiko Kumon
FightersC22Shinya Tsuruoka
FightersC30Shingo Usami
FightersIF2Kenshi Sugiya
FightersIF45Shota Hiranuma

Dectivated

HawksP18Shota Takeda
HawksP38Yuito Mori
MarinesIF23Ryo Miki
LionsOF51Manaya Nishikawa
FightersC10Yushi Shimizu
FightersIF9Takuya Nakashima
FightersOF7Haruki Nishikawa
FightersOF26Daiki Asama

NPB wrap 4-28-21

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Fighters rookie Ito gets 1st win

Fighters 4, Hawks 3

At Fukuoka’s PayPay DomeHiromi Ito (1-2), Nippon Ham’s top signing from last year’s draft, scattered five walks and four hits over six scoreless innings to get the better of 40-year-old SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada (2-2).

There were some tense moments at the end, however, as closer Toshihiro Sugiura gave up ninth-inning solo homers to Kenta Imamiya, his second, and Yuki Yanagita, his fifth. Wada allowed four runs on eight hits but no walks over five-plus innings while striking out six.

Kensuke Kondo delivered the big blow for the Fighters with a two-run sixth-inning homer, his fifth.

Lions 3, Marines 2

At MetLife Dome, Seibu’s Takumi Kuriyama snapped a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning leadoff homer, his first, off Lotte reliever Yuki Karakawa (1-1). Seibu middle reliever Kaima Taira (1-0), the Pacific League’s 2020 rookie of the year, worked around a leadoff double in the eighth to earn the win, while Tatsushi Masuda pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save.

Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima allowed two runs over six. He took a 2-1 lead into the home half of the sixth after Leonys Martin homered to open the top of the inning with his ninth home run of the season. After Kuriyama lined out to lead off the Lions’ sixth, Aito Takeda tied it with his fourth homer. Lotte’s Frank Herrmann pitched out of a two-on two-out jam in the seventh.

The Marines hit into two double plays in the first inning, thanks to a dropped throw by Seibu starter Tatsuya Imai on an attempted 3-6-1 double play and the scoring convention of giving a fielder an assist on outs that aren’t made because of a dropped throw. Imai allowed two runs on two hits and six walks while striking out six over seven innings.

He got out the Marines’ one-run first by an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play. According to Daily Sports, it was the sixth time a team has literally turned two, and the first since July 16, 2011, when the Hiroshima Carp mismanaged the feat.

Buffaloes0,Eagles 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Rakuten veteran Takahiro Norimoto duked it out for eight innings, when Eagles closer Yuki Matsui took over. The lefty overcame a pair of two-out four-pitch walks by striking out Takahiro Okada after falling behind 2-0 to end it as the clubs tied for the second straight night.

Yamamoto struck out five and walked one while allowing three hits in his 96-pitch outing. Norimoto threw 98 pitches, striking out six and walking one while allowing a pair of two-out hits.

Giants 7, Swallows3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yomiuri lefty Yuki Takahashi (5-0) became Japan’s first five-game winner by allowing three runs over six innings as Yoshihiro Maru and Kazuma Okamoto each homered and combined for five RBIs. Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 in his second game with a solo homer and a double.

Albert Suarez (1-2) served up 12 hits and issued a walk, allowing six runs over four innings. Tetsuto Yamada tied Swallows teammate for the Japan home run lead with his 10th home run, his fifth in five games.

Zelous Wheeler hit three doubles for the Giants, while new Swallows import Jose Osuna doubled and walked in four trips to the plate.

BayStars 13, Carp2, 8 innings, rain

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, catcher Hiroki Minei put DeNA up 2-1 in the second with a two-out, two-run double, Tyler Austin put the Carp in a hole with two-run third-inning home run, his second, and reliever Shingo Hirata ended a two-run fifth-inning Carp rally by getting a double play in relief of starter Masaya Kyoyama.

Carp lefty Hiroki Tokoda (1-2) gave up five runs, four earned over four innings. He retired the first five BayStars before Toshiro Miyzaki singled in the second and Neftali Soto doubled to set the table for Minei.

Austin went 3-for-4, while Soto went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in DeNA’s four-run seventh. Rookie Shugo Maki drove in four late runs with RBI doubles. New import Kevin Shackelford and lefty Edwin Escobar each worked a scoreless inning for the BayStars.

Dragons 6,Tigers 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Dragons right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-1) struck out seven over 5-1/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed five hits and a walk. Takuya Kinoshita put Chunichi on the board against right-handed side-armer Koyo Aoyagi (2-2) with a two-out second-inning RBI double and scored on an Akira Neo single.

The Dragons put the game away in the eighth on Nobumasa’s one-out solo homer, his first, and a Dayan Viciedo three-run shot, his first home run since Opening Day.

New Dragons Mike Gerber went 1-for-4 in his Japan debut. Jefry Marte singled and plated the Tigers’ only run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Jerry Sands doubled in the second, when the visitors’ rally was cut short on a good play by Dragons shortstop Yota Kyoda.

Aoyagi allowed two runs on a walk and three hits while striking out seven over six innings to take the tough loss.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Lions vs Marines: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Sho Ito (0-0, 1.26) vs Daiki Iwashita (2-2, 2.45)

Hawks vs Fighters: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Shota Takeda (1-1, 3.24) vs Takahide Ikeda (2-2, 3.42)

Center League

Dragons vs Tigers: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Koji Fukutani (1-1, 3.68) vs Chen Wei-Yin (-)

Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shogo Tamamura (-) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-3, 4.15)

Active roster moves 4/28/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/8

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF98Estamy Urena
DragonsOF99Mike Gerber
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama

Dectivated

GiantsOF44Eric Thames
DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesC53Naoya Emura
EaglesOF25Kazuki Tanaka
BuffaloesP45Shota Abe

Dectivated

HawksOF24Yuya Hasegawa
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura
BuffaloesP29Daiki Tajima

NPB Wrap 4-27-21

Today’s Orix

“Rakuten didn’t catch up, Orix gave the game away. It’s like a weekly occurence, or ‘Today’s Orix.'”

–Former Rakuten Eagles manager Dave Okubo on Pro Yakyu News

Buffaloes 5, Eagles 5

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix third baseman Tatsuya Yamaashi’s defensive miss-steps—one miss-throw and one miss-step to be precise—contributed to three Buffaloes relievers allowing three ninth-inning runs to tie it

Eagles veteran Takayuki Kishi had his second straight mediocre start, allowing three runs over six innings, easily outpitched by Daiki Tajima, who gave up a run over seven while striking out seven and walking one.

Steven Moya went 3-for-4 with a double and a sixth-inning home run for Orix, while teammate Yutaro Sugimoto’s two-run eighth-inning homer made it a 5-2 game.

After a leadoff walk, Yamaashi’s wide throw on a potential double play ball pulled his teammate off the bag at second, bringing the tying run to the plate. After a walk loaded the bases, Yamaashi let another double play opportunity slip. He went to step on the bag for the force before throwing home for the tag. Unfortunately, Yamaashi neglected to step on the bag, and only managed to get the first out of the inning at home.

Daichi Suzuki followed with an RBI single and Hiroaki Shimauchi delivered a two-run double. Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui threw a scoreless ninth to lock down the tie.

Fighters 7, Hawks 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Nippon Ham’s Takayuki Kato (2-0) held SoftBank to two runs over seven innings, while Mizuki Hori and Bryan Rodriguez mopped up for the last-place Fighters.

Carter Stewart Jr. entered in long relief with the Hawks losing 3-0 in the fourth and got a lot of work, allowing four runs over 2-2/3 innings in which he allowed five hits, walked two and struck out two.

The Pro Yakyu News crew was fairly annoyed by Fighters skipper Hideki Kuriyama using Sho Nakata in the No. 2 spot, but stopped short of calling it an insult the way Alex Ramirez’s similar use of Yoshitomo Tsutsugo two years ago was treated.

Nakata walked three times doubled and scored two runs. So there.

Lions 3, Marines 1

At MetLife Dome, Towa Uema (1-1) held Japan’s best offense to a run over five innings and Seibu’s bullpen pitched four innings of shutout ball to beat Ayumu Ishikawa (1-1) and Lotte. Ishikawa allowed five hits and a walk and threw 101 pitches in the eight-inning complete-game loss.

Cory Spangenberg was moved up to the No. 2 spot, from where he reached base twice and scored. Reed Garrett, the first of four Lions relievers, worked around a one-out single in a scoreless fifth.

Spangenberg was run out on the bases in the first, but he and leadoff man Sosuke Genda set up the Lions decisive runs in the fourth. After they reached on singles, Genda took second on a fly to the track with Spangenberg taking second, allowing both to score on a Takeya Nakamura single.

Giants 14, Swallows 11

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, with the wind blowing out, there were seven home runs, including four in a ninth inning that started 8-8 and which both teams combined to score nine runs. Yomiuri’s Zelous Wheeler, who entered as a substitute after Eric Thames’ debut was cut short by a ruptured right Achilles tendon rupture, homered to lead off the ninth against Yakult closer Taichi Ishiyama (0-1).

The win lifted the Giants back into second place and snapped Yakult’s first five-game win streak in three years.

Wheeler entered in the bottom of the third and went 4-for-4, tacking on a single in his second at-bat in the ninth inning.

Scott McGough pitched a scoreless eighth for Yakult, but Giants lefty Kota Nakagawa (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth to earn the win, while Ryoma Nogami stopped the bleeding with three solid innings of middle relief.

Thames and Justin Smoak both made their long-awaited debuts. Smoak went 2-for-4 with a single in his first at-bat and another in Yomiuri’s two-run inning against tough middle reliever Noboru Shimizu. Thames struck out twice before injuring his right calf landing on the outfield turf on a Jose Osuna single.

It was one of two high bounces that helped keep the Swallows offense ticking along. The Swallows offense was powered mostly two homers, a single and a walk from slugger Munetaka Murakami, while Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto singled, doubled, walked, had a sacrifice fly and hit a two-run ninth-inning homer.

On Pro Yakyu News, Yutaka Takagi attributed the Swallows’ loss in the wild slug fest to a missed two-strike sacrifice in the eighth inning.

Dragons 2, Tigers 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi’s Sawamura Award winner Yudai Ono (1-2) allowed a run over eight innings to outduel Yuki Nishi (3-1). Hanshin rookie Teruaki Sato hit a massive bomb for his seventh home run, and the Tigers’ only score, in the second.

Dayan Viciedo and Akira Neo each had two hits for the Dragons to help set up their runs. Closer Raidel Martinez struck out three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to earn his second save.

“I earned my first win this season in my fifth game, that’s a whole lot better than last year when I didn’t win until my seventh, so I’m pretty pleased,” said Ono, who earned won his seventh straight decision against Hanshin in Nagoya.

Carp 10, BayStars 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Masato Morishita (3-2) went 2-for-3 with a an RBI single in the Carp’s seven-run third when Shinichi Onuki (1-2) was sent packing after 2-1/3 innings.

Rookie Ryutaro Hatsuki opened the big inning with an infield single and capped the rally with a three-run triple. Morishita struck out seven, hit a batter, and allowed three hits.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Tatsuya Imai (1-2, 2.74) vs Kazuya Ojima (0-1, 4.30)

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

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-2, 1.73) vs Takahiro Norimoto (2-1, 2.81)

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

Tsuyoshi Wada (2-1, 2.55) vs Hiromi Ito (0-2, 2.77)

Central League

Swallows vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (1-1, 2.05) vs Yuki Takahashi (4-0, 1.29)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (2-1, 4.19) vs Koyo Aoyagi (2-1, 2.08)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (1-1, 3.74) vs Masaya Kyoyama (0-2, 9.00)

Active roster moves 4/27/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/7

Central League

Activated

GiantsP23Ryoma Nogami
GiantsIF10Justin Smoak
GiantsOF44Eric Thames

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

HawksOF30Naoki Sato
FightersP58Masaki Tanigawa
FightersOF3Wan Po-jung 
BuffaloesP63Soichiro Yamazaki

Dectivated

HawksP28Rei Takahashi
BuffaloesP52Tyler Higgins

NPB wrap 4-25-21

Sands decides wild Tigers win

Tigers 7, BayStars 5

At Koshien Stadium, there was plenty of weirdness in the air in a see-saw game decided when Hanshin’s Jerry Sands hammered a ball out to center for a two-run, tie-breaking seventh-inning homer in Central League-leading Hanshin’s win over last-place DeNA.

Rookie Teruaki Sato gave the Tigers a jump start by plating Sands with a two-run second-inning homer, but the visitors tied it in the fourth with one lucky hit and three hits on good swings from the top of the order against starter Joe Gunkel. The right-hander allowed another run from the same crew in the fifth.

Gunkel, however, opened the Tigers’ fifth with a booming double and scored from third on a wild pitch, with BayStars starter Kosuke Sakaguchi hurting his non-pitching wrist when he and Gunkel collided at home. A double, a walk and and an uncaught pop fly near the mound put the Tigers back in front 4-3.

With Gunkel gone after 5-2/3 innings, the weirdness shifted to right field. After a leadoff walk to Tomo Otosaka, who scored three of the DeNA runs, rookie Sato, a novice outfielder, took a bad route to a sinking liner in right and came up empty. Tyler Austin, who had singled and walked so far, then got some revenge on Koshien Stadium.

A year ago, Austin was hurt running into the padded outfield wall in right, and on Sunday he launched a drive to the same spot that Sato couldn’t catch off the screen for an RBI double and a 4-4 tie. Keita Sano, who had two RBI singles so far, hit a foul sacrifice fly to put DeNA up a run.

The Tigers then clinched it in the seventh. A single, a wild pitch, a walk and a sacrifice put two in scoring position. Koji Chikamoto challenged Otosaka’s arm in center on a medium-deep fly and scored on the wide throw.

Tigers captain Kento Itohara took third when BayStars catcher Shuto Takajo turned his back on the infield. The Pro Yakyu News guys attributed what happened next to Itohara’s base running, that it so unnerved the DeNA battery that they threw a 1-0 fastball down the pipe. It was just above the knees, but it ran onto the barrel and Sands didn’t miss.

Tigers lefty Suguru Iwazaki pitched out of a two-on one-out pickle in the eighth, and Robert Suarez surrendered singles to Austin and Sano before getting his sixth save with three straight outs.

Swallows 4, Dragons 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, where balls were really flying, Yakult out-homered Chunichi 4-2 and held on to give Opening Day starter Yasuhiro Ogawa (2-1) the win after he gave up three runs on eight hits but no walks over seven innings.  

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (1-2) allowed solo homers to Yuhei Nakamura in the first and to Munetaka Murakami and newcomers Domingo Santana and Jose Osuna in the fourth, and Chunichi was unable to catch up against the Swallows’ steady bullpen. Noboru Shimizu, who led the CL with 30 holds last season, recorded his CL-best 11th, and Taichi Ishiyama tied Kuribayashi for the CL lead with his eighth save.

Dayan Viciedo doubled to drive in the Dragons’ third run, the only one not to score on a ball over the wall.

Carp 9, Giants 8

At Tokyo Dome, Hiroshima’s new cleanup hitter, the relatively powerless (at least for a No. 4 hitter) Ryoma Nishikawa with one home run in every 40 at-bats over his career, had four singles and a walk, scored a run and drove in three. Kevin Cron belted a two-run homer, his second in Japan, for the Carp, who led 8-2 before the Yomiuri Giants tested their young bullpen.

And they are young, with their three top draft picks from last autumn all contributing. ON Sunday, they sent Robert Corniel (25), 22-year-old lefty Daisuke Moriura (No. 2), 22-year-old Haruki Omichi (No. 3), 24-year-old lefty Atsuya Horie, and 24-year-old top draft pick Ryoji Kuribayashi to the mound.

Corniel worked two scoreless innings, but Moriura, Omichi and Horie allowed six between them. Another rookie, 21-year-old Shohei Nakamura, Hiroshima’s top pick in 2017 out of high school, doubled off Giants lefty Kota Nakagawa (1-1) to open the ninth, and leadoff man Ryosuke Kikuchi, who had three hits and scored twice delivered the sac fly. Horie (1-1), who allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning, got the win, and Kuribayashi struck out the meat of the Giants order in the ninth to get his eighth save.

Yusuke Nomura, who extended his Japan record for consecutive starts without a relief appearance to 189 after spending a week on the farm because No. 188 on April 11 was such a dud, allowed two runs over five innings and was out of the game in the sixth with Hiroshima leading by six.

Yomiuri lefty Nobutaka Imamura, who entered the game with a 0.92 ERA, allowed three runs over four-plus innings, but things got worse after he left the mound.

Giants-Carp highlights

Marines 8, Hawks 5

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Lotte rookie Shota Suzuki (1-1) finally got the gift of run support. Pitching for a team that had scored 4.96 runs a game through their first 26, the Marines had scored 1.96 per nine this season when Suzuki was the pitcher of record. The rookie hazing stopped on Sunday, when Lotte staked him to an eight-run lead through six.

Suzuki allowed two runs over 6-1/3 innings, both in the seventh, and looked poised with runners on base. Yuki Matsumoto (1-1) kept the game scoreless through four innings, only to get lit up after two were out. With one on, Leonys Martin singled, Shogo Nakamura doubled in both runners and scored on Hisanori Yasuda’s fifth homer. The Hawks tormented Lotte’s bullpen but the game was out of reach.

Fighters 4, Buffaloes 4

At Sapporo Dome, Nippon Ham’s Chihiro Kaneko turned in a solid effort against his former club, allowing a run on seven hits and a walk over five innings, but middle relief ace Naoki Miyanishi blew a 3-1 Fighters lead in the eighth.

The lefty allowed four hits to the six batters he faced. Adam Jones tied it with a flare pinch-hit single, and Takahiro Okada’s second sac fly of the game plated Kodai Kurebayashi with the go-ahead run.

The Fighters scored three, two earned, off Daichi Takeyasu in the first inning, but then stalled. After a second-inning leadoff single, 16 straight batters were retired before Ronny Rodriguez walked with one out in the seventh. Five straight outs followed before Kensuke tied it in the ninth. Kondo led off and put a quality swing on a low Tyler Higgins fastball and drove it out to left for his fourth home run.

Steven Moya doubled and scored in the second on Okada’s first sac fly, and Orix twice wasted scoring opportunities, once when Ryo Ota was picked off second after Ryo Adachi whiffed on an attempted bunt. Adachi struck out and Masataka Yoshida, back in a more conventional role as the No. 3 hitter after Orix manager had put the light-hitting Adachi there for a few games, singled over third baseman Takuya Kori, who was playing in shallow right.

Shifting on Yoshida

The Fighters have tried numerous different shifts against Masataka Yoshida the past three seasons, but gave up three hits to the left-handed-hitting pocket battleship on Sunday, when Kori would return to third after two strikes.

In the first inning, Yoshida’s launched a two-strike pitch off the right-field wall for a single. In the third he hit it over Kori’s head into shallow left with two strikes. In the fifth that Yoshida lined a 1-0 changeup through the shift. I’m guessing from the way both Kaneko and Yoshida were smiling and laughing after his hit, neither of them are fans of the shift.

Yoshida didn’t get another crack at the shift after hurting his knee in left field making a good catch in the bottom of the sixth. He went back out in the sixth inning but eventually left to have it iced.

Fighters lefty Mizuki Hori and right-hander Bryan Rodriguez worked a 1-2-3 inning in relief before that lead evaporated in the eighth.

Eagles 8, Lions 4

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Seibu’s Katsunori Hirai (3-1) suffered his first setback in his move from bullpen workhorse to rotation starter, surrendering seven runs over 5-1/3 innings as the Lions lost their sixth straight decision.

Rakuten rookie Takahisa Hayakawa (3-2) gave up three runs over six innings on six hits and a walk while striking out seven. The bottom two hitters in the Eagles’ lineup reached base five times and scored five runs, while No. 2 hitter Hiroto Kobukata and No. 3 hitter Hiroaki Shimauchi combined to drive in six.

Cory Spangenberg had a hit and a walk for the Lions as he provides a much needed bat at second base with Shuta Tonosaki out hurt. Wu Nien-ting continued to play big with a single and a homer

Active roster moves 4/25/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/5

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP92Yuki Kuniyoshi
BayStarsP93Ko Nakagawa
BayStarsC36Shuto Takajo
BayStarsOF33Tomo Otosaka
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura

Dectivated

GiantsP20Shosei Togo
BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
BayStarsP41Shuto Sakurai
BayStarsP64Ren Kazahari
BayStarsC50Yuudai Yamamoto
BayStarsOF63Taiki Sekine

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesIF44Seiya Inoue

Dectivated

MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano