Tag Archives: Drew VerHagen

NPB 2020 8-9 games and news

Former Tiger VerHagen wins 3rd straight

Drew VerHagen struck out 10 over seven innings to win his third-straight start after Sho Nakata broke a 1-1 tie with a third-inning RBI single in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 2-1 victory over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome on Sunday.

With Ryo Watanabe on second after a leadoff double, Nakata singled on the second pitch he saw from Lions right-hander Keisuke Honda (0-4). It was the second run of the game for Watanabe, who singled with one out in the bottom of the first and scored the tying run after singles by Kensuke Kondo and Taishi Ota.

Shuta Tonosaki put the Lions in front in the first with a two-out solo homer in the first. The right-handed hitter barreled up a two-seamer on the inside edge and pulled it down the line for his second homer of the year.

After the Fighters tied it in the bottom of the first, center fielder Haruki Nishikawa helped ensure it stayed tied by robbing No. 9 hitter Shohei Suzuki of a leadoff double in the top of the third.

VerHagen (4-1) allowed five hits but did not issue a walk. Left-handed bullpen workhorse Naoki Miyanishi pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and side-arm right-hander Ryo Akiyoshi did the same in the ninth to earn his 10th save.

Honda allowed two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out one. Lions cleanup hitter Hotaka Yamakawa, hurt his right ankle when he stumbled out of an awkward swinging third strike to end the first inning. He was helped off the field and received treatment. He appeared to run without trouble in the field, but struck out in his next two at-bats and was pinch-hit for in the ninth.

Nakamura 3 relievers blank sluggish Buffaloes

Rookie lefty Toshiya Nakamura worked six scoreless innings to outduel Andrew Albers, who surrendered Leonys Martin’s third home run in three games in the Lotte Marines’ 4-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

With Adam Jones out of the lineup for the first time this season due to discomfort in his right heal, Torai Fushimi took over the DH duties and went 0-4, ending three innings with one or more runners on.

Nakamura (1-0), the Marines’ fifth draft pick in 2018 scattered four walks and a hit, and faced only one serious challenge, when he got Fushimi to ground out to end the sixth with two men on.

Albers (2-4) looked sharp from the outset, but in the fourth inning, Martin launched a lazy 2-2 slider that missed over the plate and hit it over the center field wall for his 11th home run.

Yuki Karakawa worked a 1-2-3 seventh for the Marines, but Frank Herrmann tempted disaster in the eighth.

Kenya Wakatsuki put a perfect swing on a low first-pitch knuckle curve, looped it over short toward the gap in left and legged out a leadoff double. After failing to get a bunt down, Shuhei Fukuda avoided being rung out on a fastball that missed the outside edge by quite a bit – a location that has been a called strike on lots of batters this year – and walked on eight pitches.

Manager Norifumi Nishimura’s predictable sacrifice followed, but Lotte manager Tadahito Iguchi opted to fill the bases with one out by walking slugger Masataka Yoshida. It should have backfired, but third baseman Hisanori Yasuda made a good play to retire Takahiro Okada on a foul fly after he overran the ball. Herrmann fell behind 3-1 to Fushimi, who swung at two fastballs at the letters that umpire Tetsuya Shimada had been calling balls all day.

The Buffaloes tried the same intentional walk trick in the top of the ninth, walking Martin to load the bases with one out, but Yasuda, the Marines cleanup hitter, delivered a two-run double, and Ikuhiro Kiyota “singled” in another run on a pop fly over second that put the “blooper” in blooper reel.

Hawks bullpen finally holds off Eagles

A bullpen day is nothing to cheer for against the SoftBank Hawks, as the Rakuten Eagles found out in a 5-0 loss at Sendai’s Raktuen Seimei Park Miyagi as four pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout that left the two teams tied for the Pacific League lead.

Lefty Shunsuke Kasaya started and went three innings, while Yugo Bando (2-1) worked four innings to earn the win. Setup man Livan Moinelo and closer Yuito Mori finished up.

Eagles starter Yuya Fukui (0-1), the No. 1 draft pick of the Hiroshima Carp in 2010, took the tough loss after allowing a run on two hits and a walk over 5-2/3 innings while striking out six.

Hawks catcher Takuya Kai doubled in the in the sixth and scored on a wild pitch. Yuki Yanagita hit a fat pitch nearly as far as one can in the eighth to drive in an insurance run, and Kai hit a three-run home run in the ninth.

Giants comeback to salvage tie

On the back foot against first-team debutant Yariel Rodriguez and some good defensive plays by the Chunichi Dragons, the Yomiuri Giants tied it in a two-run seventh in their 2-2 10-inning tie at Nagoya Dome.

Toshiki Abe homered with one out and one on in the first off right-hander Ryosuke MIyaguni, who was making the start on a bullpen day. The Giants relievers, however, shut down the hosts for the rest of the game, allowing the hitters to finally score off Rodriguez.

Making good use of a good fastball and slider, the 23-year-old Cuban allowed three runs to reach through the first six innings, all on walks. He didn’t allow a hit until back-to-back one-out doubles by Takumi Oshiro and Zelous Wheeler. Lefty Toshiya Okada walked the only batter he faced.

Setup man Daisuke Sobue allowed Wheeler to score after a single loaded the bases and veteran left-handed hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei delivered a sacrifice fly on a pitch headed for the dirt.

Rodriguez allowed two hits and three walks while striking out eight over 6-1/3 innings.

The tie ended a run of three-straight losses by the Giants.

Kuramoto slam powers DeNA shutout

Toshihiko Kuramoto hit a first-inning grand slam, his first home run in two years, and Kentaro Taira (3-2) worked seven innings as the DeNA BayStars beat the Yakult Swallows 4-0 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Kuramoto capped a first-inning rally off submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka (0-1), who lasted four innings.

Taira allowed four hits and a walk while striking out six. Spencer Patton and Edwin Escobar each supplied one perfect inning of relief to close it out.

Oyama, Akiyama lead Tigers over Carp

Cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama doubled, tripled, homered, scored two runs and drove in two, while Takumi Aoyama (4-1) allowed a run over six innings in the Hanshin Tigers’ 5-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Oyama broke the ice in the second, when he doubled to open the inning against 21-year-old right-hander Atsushi Endo (2-2) and scored on a bases-loaded groundout.

After the Carp tied it, the Tigers took the lead for good in the third. Seiya Kinami doubled and Oyama tripled him home. Oyama homered in the eighth to make it 3-1.

Endo allowed two runs over five innings on three hits and four walks, while Akiyama gave up one hit and walked three.

The Carp loaded the bases in the ninth with one out against closer Robert Suarez, but could not score.

Buffs’ Jones out of lineup for 1st time

Adam Jones sat out the Orix Buffaloes’ game against the Lotte Marines on Sunday, marking the first time this season was not in the lineup. According to the Nikkan Sports, Jones came out of Saturday’s game after the fifth inning due to discomfort in his right heel.

He was not examined at a hospital and is expected to play against the Hawks in Fukuoka from Tuesday.

Active roster moves 8/9/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/19

Central League

Activated

TigersP46Takumi Akiyama
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez
SwallowsP13Hikaru Nakao
SwallowsP69Ryuta Konno

Dectivated

SwallowsP61Takuma Kubo

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesP22Ryota Muranishi
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Dectivated

FightersP27Nick Martinez
BuffaloesP30Kohei ”K” Suzuki

Starting pitchers for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

Central League

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuta Muto (0-0, 6.75) vs Yuta Iwasada (2-1, 3.41)

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

Allen Kuri (1-2, 4.91) vs Shinnosuke Ogasawara (-)

NPB 2020 8-1 GAMES AND NEWS

Ishikawa mows down Lions

Shuta Ishikawa struck out a career-high 13 in a one-hit shutout, and Ryoya Kurihara hit a three-run home run in the first inning as the SoftBank Hawks ran over the Seibu Lions 4-0 on Saturday at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Ishikawa (3-0) had some trouble locating but stayed around the strike zone with a live fastball that sat at 90.7 mph, a good slider, curve and split. The right-hander struck out five of the first seven batters he faced, and was fortunate that most of his mistakes were either miss-hit or slammed straight to one of his fielders.

Keizo Kawashima, batting in the Hawks’ second spot, sparked a three-run first inning with a one-out double when he pulled a hanging 1-0 slider form Keisuke Honda down the line in left.

Yuki Yanagita just missed a hanging first-pitch curve, driving it to the warning track in dead center, and Akira Nakamura worked a seven-pitch walk thanks to a favorable call on a close 2-2 fastball that might have ended the inning.

Honda got ahead of Kurihara 0-2 but his 1-2 fastball missed up and over the plate. The left-handed-hitting Kurihara got it off the end of the bat but still got enough of it to drive it into the “home run terrace” in left for his seventh home run.

Kawashima led off the third with a double. One pitch after he thought he had drawn a walk, he drilled a low 3-2 fastball to the wall in left center. He scored when Yanagita grounded a low strike up the middle for a single.

VerHagen outduels Tajima in Fighters’ win

Drew VerHagen (3-1) threw seven scoreless innings to outduel tough Orix Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima in a 3-1 win for the Nippon Ham Fighters at their Sapporo Dome home.

VerHagen allowed four hits and a walk, while striking out four. The only leadoff runner he allowed, Adam Jones on a single in the second, was followed by a double play.

Buffaloes slugger Masataka Yoshida was trouble, squaring VerHagen up twice and walking. But one drive was caught at the warning track, the fourth-inning leadoff walk was followed by back-to-back strikeouts of Adam Jones and Steven Moya. VerHagen followed Yoshida’s two-out sixth-inning double by striking out Jones on a slider away.

Tajima (1-2) allowed two runs on five hits, three walks and a hit batsman over six innings. He struck out four. The lefty cruised through five innings but his third trip through the Fighters lineup proved fatal.

Yuji Takahama’s soft liner over the infield got the Fighters a one-out runner, and Buffaloes center fielder Hayato Nishiura’s attempt to make a shoestring catch resulted in an error on Kensuke Kondo’s single.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Tajima hoped for a low strike with a fastball, but Ryo Watanabe stroked it into left for an RBI single. The lefty then hit Toshitake Yoko to make it 2-0.

VerHagen worked a 1-2-3 seventh. Lefty Naoki Miyanishi allowed a run in the eighth before closer Ryo Akiyoshi nailed down his eighth save in the ninth.

Uchida, Shiomi haze Marines

Lefty Takahiro Shiomi (2-3) worked seven innings, and Yasuhito Uchida hit his second grand slam of the season for the Rakuten Eagles who put the Lotte Marines through an 8-0 recruit hazing of at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Marines starter Atsuki Taneichi (3-2) had been effective this season, but a week after his first career shutout, couldn’t locate his pitches. He missed up and in the zone a lot and the Eagles hit enough of them to run away with it in a five-run first.

Former Marines captain Daichi Suzuki pulled a first-pitch fastball that missed in the heart of the plate into the right field corner for a one-out double. Eigoro Mogi smashed the second hanging splitter he saw for a ground single.

Taneichi survived a mistake to Hideto Asamura, who flied out, but then missed up in the heart of the zone with a 1-1 fastball, and Hiroaki Shimauchi lashed a hard single to center. Trailing now by a run, the right-hander brushed Stefen Romero with his first pitch to load them up with two outs.

After a good first-pitch slider, Taneichi missed up with another and Uchida launched it over the fence in center.

Asamura put the game completely out of reach in the seventh with a three-run double.

Shiomi allowed three hits and four walks, but the Marines obliged him by hitting into three double plays. Taneichi surrendered all eight runs on 12 hits, three walks and a hit batsman over 5-2/3 innings.

Oshima makes winner of Katsuno

Rookie right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno won a pitchers’ duel with Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa after Yohei Oshima delivered a tie-breaking two-run eighth-inning single in a 3-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Nagoya Dome.

Katsuno (1-2), the Dragons third pick in the 2018 draft, allowed a run on four hits and no walks while striking out six over eight innings. He was coming off six scoreless innings in his previous start.

Singles by Masataka Iryo and Oshima set the table for a run to score on a two-out throwing error. Ogawa, however, only allowed two more runners to reach through seven innings.

The Swallows got even in the fifth on a pair of good swings. Takeshi Miyamoto doubled with one out and scored on Munetaka Murakami’s two-out single.

Katsuno didn’t allow a leadoff man to reach in the entire game thanks to some sparkling defense from second baseman Toshiki Abe in the seventh and shortstop Yota Kyoda in the eighth.

Miyamoto doubled with one out in the sixth, but with two outs struck out Murakami swinging at a high fastball and retired the next six batters to keep it 1-1 going into the bottom of the eighth.

Nobumasa Fukuda smoked a first-pitch forkball low in the zone for a Dragons leadoff double. Ogawa fumbled the ensuing sacrifice bunt, putting runners at the corners with no outs, and then walked Iryo to load the bases for Oshima.

Ogawa made an 0-2 pitch on the inside edge, but Oshima turned on it and drove it right for a two-run single. Iryo was thrown out trying to go to third, and surprising Swallows lefty Hiroki Hasegawa got out of the inning.

Raidel Martinez closed it out in a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save.

Ogawa (4-1) was charged with one earned run on five hits and two walks over 7-1/3 innings. He struck out six.

BayStars reach for the seats to back Imanaga

Lefty Shota Imanaga (4-2) allowed two runs over seven innings and the DeNA BayStars hit five home runs in a 7-3 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium.

The BayStars built a 2-0 lead against Yuki Nishi on solo homers by Neftali Soto in the first and former Tiger Yamato Maeda in the fourth only for Tigers catcher Ryutaro Umeno to cancel them out with a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth.

Koji Chikamoto opened with his second hit of the night against Imanaga. With one out, the lefty walked both Yusuke Oyama and Justin Bour to load them for Umeno, who had cracked a three-run homer in Friday’s 3-3 tie.

A one-out hit batsman in the fifth and cleanup hitter Keita Sano’s fifth home run made it 4-2. Toshiro Miyazaki homered to lead off the sixth, and Takayuki Kajitani did the same in the seventh.

Nishi (2-3) gave up five runs on seven hits. He struck out six and hit two.

Giants clobber Carp

Yomiuri Giants lefty Kazuto Taguchi, pitching on the first team for the first time in nearly a month, allowed two runs over seven innings in an 11-3 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo Dome.

Taguchi (2-0) surrendered the lead on back-to-back two-out first-inning doubles by former Giants Hisayoshi Chono and Seiya Suzuki, but was able to pitch out of the little trouble he faced until Jose Pirela’s pinch-hit leadoff homer in the seventh.

Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto doubled to lead off the second against lefty Hiroki Tokoda (1-4) and scored the tying run on Zelous Wheeler’s single.

Yoshiyuki Kamei doubled and scored on first baseman Ryuhei Matsuyama’s throwing error when former Carp Yoshihiro Maru bunted for a base hit with two on and no outs.

With one out and runners on second and third, Wheeler delivered a sacrifice fly, and Hiroyuki Nakajima followed with an RBI double.

Wheeler finished with two runs, two RBIs and three hits, while Okamaoto blew the game open with his Central League-leading 14th home run, a sixth-inning grand slam.


Active roster moves 8/1/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/11

Central League

Activated

GiantsP28Kazuto Taguchi

Dectivated

GiantsOF36Shingo Ishikawa
SwallowsP38Yugo Umeno

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Aug. 2

Pacific League

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Toshiya Nakamura (0-0, 4.97) vs Yuya Fukui (-)

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

Akira Niho (3-2, 4.91) vs Kona Takahashi (2-3, 5.34)

Central League

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

Toshiki Sakurai (2-1, 3.73) vs Atsushi Endo (1-1, 5.48)

Dragons vs Swallows: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kodai Umetsu (2-3, 4.86) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (-)

Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuta Iwasada (2-1, 3.66) vs Kentaro Taira (2-1, 1.88)

NPB 2020 7-16 games and news

Fukudome, Sands power Tigers’ comeback

Former major leaguers Jerry Sands and Kosuke Fukudome hit late home runs to lift the Hanshin Tigers to a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the Yakult Swallows in the Central League on Thursday at Koshien Stadium.

After five scoreless innings from Swallows southpaw Keiji Takahashi, the Tigers broke through to tie it in the sixth. Yusuke Oyama “tripled” on a ball to the wall that center fielder Kotaro Yamasaki failed to gather in. Right fielder Yuhei Takai retrieved it but dropped it twice before getting it back to the infield.

Oyama scored on a groundout by Justin Bour. Takahashi walked Sands, and his replacement Kazuki Kondo walked Ryutaro Umeno to bring up Fukudome, who then doubled to the warning track in right.

Instead of regular setup man Scott McGough or closer Taishi Ishiyama, Swallows skipper Shingo Takatsu opted for 23-year-old rookie right-hander Noboru Shimizu, the Swallows’ top draft pick from 2018.

Shimizu, who had allowed seven hits and a walk over 12-1/3 innings of relief this season while striking out 11, retired Bour to open the eighth before Sands pulled him down the line for his second home run. Umeno singled, and the 43-year-old Fukudome reached the seats in right.

Robert Suarez issued a leadoff walk in the ninth but ended the game with a double play to earn his third save.

Munetaka Murakami had three hits for the Swallows, including a double and scored twice, but was pulled for a pinch runner in the fifth with stiffness in his right leg.

Giants take advantage of Carp bullpen

The Yomiuri Giants behind Cristopher Mercedes (1-2) beat the Hiroshima Carp on a bullpen day 9-4 at Mazda Stadium.

Right-hander Kazuki Yabuta opened for the Carp and did his best to aim for the edges of the zone and miss outside it. Yoshiyuki Kamei doubled on the first pitch. After a groundout on the second pitch, Yabuta stayed out of the zone and walked the next batter. He nearly got away with avoiding the zone when Kazuma Okamoto chased Ball 4 and nearly grounded into a double play.

Okamoto beat the throw to first, allowing Kamei to score and bringing Takumi Oshiro to the plate. The Giants catcher got ahead 2-1, and when Yabuta missed up high with a fastball, Oshiro drove it high up into the stands in right center.

Although Shota Dobayashi hit a two-run fourth-inning home run off Mercedes, the Giants never trailed. No. 8 hitter Naoki Yoshikawa homered in the sixth and Okamoto hit his eighth home run in the seventh.

Abe leads Dragons rout of BayStars

Another bullpen day, this time by the visiting DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome, started well but turned into a rout and an 8-0 loss at the hands of the Chunichi Dragons.

Toshiki Abe went back into the starting lineup for the first time in four days and responded with three hits and four RBIs, while starting pitcher Yuichiro Okano (2-1) worked five scoreless innings thanks to three double plays.

The game stayed close for six innings until Kazuki Mishima took the mound in the seventh and surrendered three runs to let the game get away. In the end, it didn’t matter that one of the runs who scored was walked intentionally.

That was the second of the game and the Japan-high 12th for BayStars skipper Alex Ramirez, who leads Japan in intentional walks issued every year.

Ariel Martinez came off the bench and delivered a two-run pinch-hit single in the Dragons’ three-run eighth.

Eagles scrape past Lions without starter

Rakuten scored two early runs off Seibu Lions starter Kona Takahashi (2-2) and the Eagles held on to win 7-4 at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi despite losing their starting pitcher to an injury in the fourth inning.

Big lefty Hayato Yuge had scraped through three scoreless innings until a batted ball struck him above the right ankle. He stayed in the game to surrender a run before being pulled.

The Eagles led 2-1 in the fifth before former Lion Hideto Asamura drove in his second run of the game with a single. Jabari Blash, who doubled and scored in the second, walked in the sixth and scored on Ryosuke Tatsumi’s home run off Takahashi.

Marines Fighters

Leonys Martin tied it with a two-run single and Tsuyoshi Sugano singled in the go-ahead run as the Lotte Marines came from two runs down to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 4-3 at Sapporo Dome.

Christian Villanueva, who appears to be settling in with the Fighters in a way he was unable to do last year with the Yomiuri Giants, opened the scoring in the first with a two-run single.

Marines starter Daiki Iwashita (3-0) allowed just those two runs over five innings, leaving the game with a 3-2 lead after he struck out Villanueva swinging on a big breaking ball with the bases loaded.

As he did during last week’s series in Osaka, Villanueva also turned heads with his defense at third base until his throwing error in the sixth allowed 39-year-old pinch-runner Takashi Toritani to score from first.

Drew VerHagen (1-1) gave up four runs, three earned, over 5-1/3 innings. He led 2-0 with none on and two outs in the fifth after a double play but two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Martin and the Marines.

Naoya Masuda worked the ninth for Lotte to earn his seventh save.

Buffaloes come back to beat Hawks

The Orix Buffaloes came from a run down in the third on home runs by Ryo Ota and Adam Jones and Sachiya Yamasaki (1-0) allowed two runs over five innings to earn the win in a 4-3 victory over the SoftBank Hawks at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Ota, the Buffaloes’ top draft pick in 2018 out of high school, had much of his first year wiped out when he was hit by a pitch. He went 0-for-13 last year, but homered off Rick van den Hurk (1-2) who allowed four runs in 2-2/3 innings.

Two walks and a Masataka Yoshida RBI double set the stage for Jones’ fourth home run, which reached the third deck in left center.

Yamasaki, Orix’s first draft pick in 2014 shared the hero podium with Ota, whose father is a former pro ballplayer who currently works as a batting practice pitcher for the Buffaloes.

New import Tyler Higgins worked a scoreless eighth and Brandon Dickson allowed a run in the ninth as he secured his fourth save.

Carp deactivate Johnson

The Hiroshima Carp deactivated left-handed starting pitcher Kris Johnson on Thursday. The 35-year-old allowed five runs over five innings and walked four in Wednesday’s loss to the Yomiuri Giants. The winner of the Sawamura Award as Japan’s most impressive starting pitcher in 2016, Johnson is 0-3 this season with a 5.73 ERA.

The Rakuten Eagles have activated Shun Ikeda, the 27-year-old left-handed pitcher they acquired last month from the Yomiuri Giants in the Zelous Wheeler trade.

Active roster moves 7/16/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/26

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP93Ko Nakagawa
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga

Dectivated

BayStarsP13Hiromu Ise
CarpP42Kris Johnson
SwallowsC32Naoki Matsumoto

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP72Shun Ikeda
BuffaloesP15Yudai Aranishi
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota
BuffaloesOF00Hayato Nishiura

Dectivated

EaglesP52Taisei Tsurusaki
BuffaloesP26Daiki Tomei
BuffaloesIF64Shinya Hirosawa
BuffaloesOF8Shunta Goto

NPB 2020 7-9 games and News

Bour opens Koshien account with home run

Justin Bour may have been typecast as the second coming of Randy Bass because of his left-handed power to left and center, but on Thursday, he looked the part in his first regular-season game at Koshien Stadium.

Bour ruined what had been a terrific start by Yomiuri Giants lefty Cristopher Mercedes (0-2) by blasting a high 1-0 slider well past the center field fence with a man on. Bour’s third home run made it 2-0, and the Hanshin Tigers went on to win their home opener 2-1.

Tigers starter Onelki Garcia dodged his share of bullets after walking six over six scoreless innings, but it was Mercedes, who struck out eight while allowing five hits and a walk over 6-2/3 innings who was left holding the bag.

Suguru Iwazaki (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief, a feat duplicated by Robert Suarez in the eighth. Kyuji Fujikawa, who has been shaky this season after a remarkable 2019 campaign, allowed a run on a walk and two, two-out singles to cut it close before securing his second save.

Here’s Bour’s hero interview:

Intentional walk costs Dragons again

For the second time in three games, a late-inning intentional walk came back to bite Chunichi Dragons manager Tsuyoshi Yoda in the butt in an 8-6 loss to the Yakult Swallows at Nagoya Dome.

Leading 5-4 after the Dragons scored twice against right-hander Scott McGough in the eighth, Dragons lefty Toshiya Okada surrendered a one-out double to Norichika Aoki and issued a walk to Swallows’ on-base machine Tomotaka Sakaguchi. A 1-2 wild pitch to superstar Tetsuto Yamada opened first base, and Yoda ordered the free pass.

Okada, who walked in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss after an intentional walk had loaded the bases, fell behind 2-0 to Kotaro Yamasaki, who has led a charmed existence this season, where seemingly every ball coming off his bat finds a hole.

He put a good swing on a high pitch for a two-run single, and slugger Munetaka Murakami piled on with a two-run double through the drawn-in outfield.

Swallows closer Taishi Ishiyama surrendered a run in the ninth but earned his third save.

Swallows lefty Keishi Takahashi allowed two runs through five innings, and was barely recognizable, without his transformer-like leg-kick, arm-raise, leg-lower, leg-raise delivery. He looked like an ordinary lefty with a longer-than-usual leg lift. Takahashi located a fastball that had a lot of spin on it and combined that with a slider he kept at the bottom of the zone.

Martinez unstoppable

Cuban catcher Ariel Martinez came off the bench as a pinch-hitter and tied the game with an RBI single. He lined out to second to end the game, keeping his average at .500.

BayStars’ Austin, Ino fillet Carp

Tyler Austin singled to with one out to help set the table in a two-run first inning, doubled and homered in the eighth to put the game out of reach in the DeNA BayStars’ 5-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Shoichi Ino (2-0) allowed a run in six innings as he scattered four hits and two walks while striking out four. The BayStars bullpen was solid, allowing four hits over the final three innings.

Rookie Carp right-hander Masato Morishita struggled with hanging breaking balls and straight fastballs in the heart of the zone, but never lost his composure in driving rain and allowed just two runs on four walks and eight hits over five innings.

Sharp Shiomi slices up Hawks

Right-hander Takahiro Shiomi (1-2) survived a first-inning scrape with just a run scored and cruised through the next six innings for the Rakuten Eagles in a 9-1 hammering of the SoftBank Hawks at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Shiomi was able to command his slider and splitter and locate his fastball as he struck out seven, walked one while allowing four hits.

Hawks starter Rick van den Hurk (1-1) allowed a run through four innings but his stuff deserted him in the fifth. Straight fastballs, floating changeups and hanging sliders set the visitors up for a four-run inning. The Eagles scored four more in the sixth after Yuya Ogo reached on a two-out bunt single.

Jabari Blash delivered a first-inning sacrifice fly and had a two-run fifth-inning single and drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.

Fighters blow late lead in tie with Buffaloes

Nippon Ham Fighters cleanup hitter Sho Nakata did his utmost to give his team the lead, but the bullpen and defense gave it away under pressure from pinch-runner Kodai Sano in a 4-4, 10-inning tie with the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Takahiro Okada, who has been hitting the ball hard a lot this year, homered with Masataka Yoshida on in the fourth off Fighters’ starter Drew VerHagen to put Orix in front in the fourth inning.

Buffaloes lefty Sachiya Yamasaki was on thin ice through five innings with five walks but no runs allowed. He was yanked after a leadoff walk and two singles in the sixth and right-handed slugger Sho Nakata coming up.

Nakata was rewarded for a great at-bat against righty Keisuke Sawada with a three-run homer. After missing high with a 1-2 splitter on his seventh pitch, Sawada tried again with another splitter but left it in the zone. Nakata saw it coming and launched it well back into the second deck at Kyocera Dome.

Hijinks ensued in the eighth when veteran Fighters lefty Naoki “I got an MVP vote in 2016” Miyanishi issued two two-out walks. Sano, running for Okada, stole second and then third. Aderlin Rodriguez walked, and tried to draw a throw on a delayed steal. Fighters catcher Yushi Shimizu wasn’t fooled and tried to throw behind Sano at third. His throw, however, sailed into left field, and the game was tied.

Two scoreless innings from Hirotoshi Masui and one each from Brandon Dickson and Tyler Higgins kept the Fighters quiet and paved the way for the Buffaloes comeback.

Jackson leaves Lotte

Right-handed reliever Jay Jackson will be released by the Lotte Marines, with the team saying Thursday it received a request from the pitcher to be let out of his contract the day before.

The team has declined to explain the situation at the current time. The 32-year-old pitched with the Hiroshima Carp from 2016 to 2018. When he was not offered an extension for 2019, Jackson wound up with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019.

“We can’t elaborate at this time,” the Marines’ director of baseball operations Naoki Matsumoto said according to the Daily Sports.

This season, Jackson has allowed three runs over seven innings. He has struck out 12 of the 29 batters he’s faced.

Swallows’ Suarez, Dragons’ Yanagi dropped

The Yakult Swallows deactivated right-handed starting pitcher Albert Suarez on Thursday, with the team saying he needed to makes adjustments.

The 30-year-old Suarez is 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in three starts, although he walked seven batters in Tuesday’s game against the Chunichi Dragons. The Swallows won the game 2-1 in 10 innings.

The Swallows replaced Suarez on the active roster with Keiji Suzuki, who may have Japan’s funkiest left-handed delivery.

The Dragons starter on Tuesday, Yuya Yanagi, was also deactivated. Yanagi, who struck out 10 but allowed a run in six innings, complained of stiffness in his right obliques during practice on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old right-hander led the Dragons in wins last year, when he posted an 11-7 mark with a 3.53 ERA. This season, he’s allowed four runs in 20 innings, while striking out 25.

As expected, the Yomiuri Giants activated flame-throwing Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira to take the roster spot opened when closer Rubby De La Rosa, who suffered a left oblique strain on Sunday.

Camping World: Feb. 18, 2020

The Hanshin Tigers have named Yuki NIshi as their Opening Day starter the Daily Sports reported Tuesday.

“The deciding factor is his leadership of the pitchers. He’s demonstrating that he wants it,” manager Akihiro Yano said.

Nishi joined the Tigers a year ago from the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes, and went 10-8 with a 2.92 ERA. His English NPB players page is HERE.

Cousin picks walk-up music

Nishi’s distant cousin, Tigers’ first-round draft pick, Junya Nishi, has selected the music to be played for him at Koshien Stadium according to the Daily Sports.

The music for the slugging pitcher who has been working out at the minor league camp in Aki, Kochi Prefecture is going to be Shota Shimizu’s “Kazenifukarete.” While the Tigers have not said anything about the possibility of using Nishi in the lineup, at least we know what music he’ll have if he ever gets to the first team. #TigerPriorities

So far so good for Austin

Tyler Austin continued to rake on Tuesday. After homering twice and singling in his preseason debut on Sunday, the new DeNA BayStars import doubled and walked in a 1-0 practice game loss to the Central League rival Yakult Swallows.

2 solid innings for Fighters’ VerHagen

Drew VerHagen retired six of the seven batters he faced on Tuesday in the first live game action he’s seen with the Nippon Ham Fighters in a 5-0 win over KBO’s Samsung Lions, the Nikkan Sports reported. The 28-year-old threw seven first-pitch strikes, touched 147 kph and mixed in his slider and change, striking out three.

Marte homers in 1st game of spring

Jefry Marté, who is being asked to compete for the third base job following the offseason acquisition of first baseman Justin Bour, homered in the Tigers’ intrasquad game on Tuesday, his first game action of the spring according to the Daily Sports.

The kotatsu league: VerHagen poised to sign with Fighters

The Nippon Ham Fighters announced they have come to terms with Detroit Tigers right-hander Drew VerHagen on Tuesday. In a Japanese language press release, VerHagen was quoted as saying he was eager to be coming to Japan, having heard so much about the country from others.

No contract terms were announced by the Fighters. The following is a translation of manager Hideki Kuriyama’s comments relayed by the club:

“Without a doubt, as we go through the process of regrouping, one of our absolute needs was for a starting pitcher. VerHagen has the quality to be considered in an MLB team’s starting pitching plans for next season. We had a number of options available to us and are very happy to have been able to have him join the Fighters. He’s thrown as hard as 158 kph (98.2 mph) with a good sinker, a power curve, a slider, and a changeup. He’s a very well balanced pitcher. I’ve heard he’s big on preparation and so perhaps he can adjust quickly to Japanese baseball. He has the potential to be a big right-handed rotation anchor for us, and I’m grateful to our U.S. based scouts.”

Kuriyama didn’t mention that FanGraphs has called some of his pitches splitters. A lot of people don’t know this but being able to throw six pitches in competition makes you eligible for Japanese citizenship since you will be indistinguishable from the other pitchers in NPB.

Last season, the Fighters became the first modern Japanese team to use an opener and a “short starter” — a starting pitcher whose job was to go through the order either once or twice, a plan which caused former New York Mets pitcher Masato Yoshii to end his second stint as the club’s pitching coach after yet another policy disagreement with Kuriyama.The

The Detroit News had a nice writeup of this story.

Marines land coveted reserve outfielder Fukuda

The Marines have landed — a free agent outfielder — that is. After failing to land two-time Central League MVP Yoshihiro Maru a year ago, Lotte has succeeded in getting SoftBank Hawks fourth outfielder Shuhei Fukuda, a bench player in Fukuoka largely because of the Hawks deep frontline talent in the outfield.

According to Sports Nippon, the 30-year-old Fukuda selected the Marines because of his relationship with head coach Yusuke Torigoe, who had been with him as a Hawks coach until 2018, saying, “I’ve been able to make it this far, largely because of him.”

The Seibu Lions, Rakuten Eagles, Chunichi Dragons and Yakult Swallows had also been pursuing Fukuda.