In his season reboot, Kodai Senga, who was named to Japan’s Olympic team on Monday, got whacked in his first start in exactly three months, while one Olympic teammate, reliever Kaima Taira, saw a record streak snapped. Two other Olympic pitchers had solid efforts, lefty Yudai Ono and side-arm right-hander Koyo Aoyagi.
Let’s not leave out Team USA, whose Tyler Austin smashed his 18th homer to contribute to his club’s win.
All that and the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes hitting a pot hole while they appeared to be in high gear.
Marines 11, Hawks 3
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, the season reboot of SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (1-1) did not go as planned. The right-hander threw hard but location and feel came and went, and when it went it left for good in a nine-run third inning in which he issued two bases-loaded walks. Senga, who was coming off a three-month layoff, walked three, struck out none and surrendered nine hits, facing 20 batters over 2-2/3 innings.
Lotte’s Kota Futaki (4-4) held the Hawks to two runs over seven innings. Kyota Fujiwara tripled and scored the opening run in the first and had a pair of RBI doubles in the third. Adeiny Hechavarria hit his third home run, and his second in two days for the Marines.
Fighters 4, Lions 3
At Asahikawa Starffin Stadium, Nippon Ham’s Yushi Shimizu and Wang Po-jung homered in a three-run third inning, and Yuto Takahama broke up the tie in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI double. The run was charged to Japan Olympian Kaima Taira (1-1), snapping his record streak of 39 games without being charged with a run.
Eagles 7, Buffaloes 2
At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Rakuten’s Takahiro Norimoto (7-3) allowed two runs over eight innings and his teammates opened a can of whoop-ass on Orix closer Yoshihisa Hirano (1-1) in the ninth, starting with Brandon Dixon’s fourth home run way up into the nose bleed seats.
Although he only struck out four, Norimoto was tough, but Orix rookie Hitomi Honda allowed two runs over five solid innings, and three relievers, including Tyler Higgins in the eighth, were lights out.
Dragons 3, Giants 2
At Maebashi Shikishima Stadium, Dayan Viciedo reached base four times, and his third single, put Chunichi ahead in the ninth after Yohei Oshima tied it with an RBI single. Raidel Martinez earned his seventh save, and his first since May 23 – just prior to his departure to compete with Cuba in Olympic qualifying.
Giants starter Angel Sanchez allowed a run over seven innings, while Dragons lefty Yudai Ono, one of two Olympic team pitchers who had solid nights, but a pitcher who has often struggled in outdoor parks over his career. He gave up two runs, one earned, while striking out eight and walking none over six innings.
Tigers 5, Swallows 1
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Hanshin Olympic team member Koyo Aoyagi (8-2) delivered yet another solid performance, working eight scoreless innings, while Yusuke Oyama gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third with his ninth home run, before his teammates piled on against lefty Kazuto Taguchi (4-6) with three runs in the fourth.
I expect Aoyagi will be named CL pitcher of the month for June on Wednesday, but he’s already won, by my count.
The Swallows loaded the bases in the ninth with one out against Kosuke Baba, forcing closer Robert Suarez into the game to get two outs and record his 24th save.
The Swallows had a bit of a spaz when Tigers leadoff man Koji Chikamoto appeared to be signaling the batter from second base about how Yakult’s catcher was setting up, which no one really minds if it’s subtle because it’s expected, but he wasn’t subtle and the game was already out of hand by the time it happened, so no harm, no foul.
BayStars 4, Carp 2
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Keita Sano broke a 2-2 eighth-inning tie with a two-run home run, his seventh, off Geronimo Franzua (0-1) after USA Olympic team member Tyler Austin tied it 2-2 in the fourth when he homered with a man on, his 18th, off Daichi Osera. The Carp ace worked seven innings, but allowed only two base runners through six, a two-out Sano single and Austin’s home run.
Kevin Shackelford (1-0) worked a scoreless seventh to earn the win, before Edwin Escobar and Kazuki Mishima finished up. Mishima earned his 15th save.
Fighters vs Lions: Asahikawa Starffin Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Swallows vs Tigers: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT
Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 7/6/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/16