Fit to be tied
Hawks 5, Eagles 5
At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui blew a one-run save opportunity, but struck out Yuki Yanagita to end the game with the winning run on third, forcing the game to end in a tie and causing both teams to celebrate not losing at the same time, which is something I’d never seen before.
Softbank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada deserved to lose this one after allowing five runs over five innings, but Seiji Uebayashi homered and doubled to drive in the Hawks’ first three runs and singled in the tying run in the ninth on a 1-2, two-out pitch from Matsui.
Taichi Suzuki delivered the big blow for the Eagles with a two-out three-run second-inning double in support of Takahiro Norimoto, who allowed four runs over six innings.
Lions 6, Buffaloes 2
At MetLife Dome, Seibu lit up Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-3), who allowed five runs, four earned, in 6-1/3 innings on a career-worst 10 hits. Lions right-hander Tatsuya Imai (2-2), whose biggest issue is walks, issued four, but non until there were two outs in the sixth and he was leading 3-0.
Sosuke Genda powered the Lions offense with a single, double and triple, three runs and an RBI. Imai allowed two runs, but left with two on and two outs in the eighth. Without closer Tatsushi Masuda on the farm due to poor results and Reed Garrett sidelined by a drive off his knee on Tuesday, 2020 PL rookie of the year Kaima Taira struck out Steven Moya to end the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his first save.
Swallows 2, Tigers 2
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Norichika Aoki ended what had been a futile 0-for-3 day at the plate by sliding under Hanshin first baseman Jefry Marte’s tag to drive in the tying run with an eighth-inning RBI infield single. After that, Swallows closer Taichi Ishiyama and Tigers closer Robert Suarez ensured the game ended in a tie, the first for the Central League-leading Tigers.
Marte drove in both Tigers’ runs, with a two-out, third-inning bases-loaded single off rookie Yasunobu Okugawa, and made a big blay in the field, throwing out the lead runner on a good bunt by the Swallows pitcher with runners on first and second and no outs in the fifth. The play prevented Kotaro Yamasaki’s two-outs single from scoring two and tying the game.
Tigers side-armer Koyo Aoyagi allowed a run over six innings. Yakult center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi was sidelined with an “injured tooth” from a medicine ball striking him in the face during pregame practice, Nikkan Sports reported.
Dragons 4, BayStars 0
At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, DeNA Opening Day starter Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-3) allowed three singles and a walk over six innings while striking out eight.
Keita Sano and rookie Shugo Maki reached to set the table in the seventh, and Masayuki Kuwahara delivered two-run pinch-hit single to chase Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-2). Koki Yamashita followed with another two-run pinch-hit single off Keisuke Tanimoto.
Edwin Escobar, Yasuaki Yamasaki and Kazuki Mishima followed Hamaguchi out of the DeNA bullpen for an inning each with Yamasaki providing all the drama and having to strike out Mike Gerber with the bases-loaded to preserve the shutout.
Giants 4, Carp 0
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yomiuri’s Angel Sanchez (2-2) scattered six hits over seven innings, and four relievers completed the seven-hit, no-walk shutout. Rookie Hiroshima lefty Koya Takahashi (1-1) allowed a run over six innings on four hits and a walk, while striking out six in the tough loss.
A Hayato Sakamoto single and a Zelous Wheeler double to open the fourth set up the first run, with Sakamoto coming home on a Hiroyuki Nakajima sac fly. Pinch-hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei doubled in two runs in the ninth to ice it.
Lions’ Neal tunes up on farm
Active roster moves 5/5/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/15