Tag Archives: Hayato Sakamoto

NPB 2020 SEPT. 9

Wednesday could have been old timers day with both Tsuyoshi Wada (39) and Tetsuya Utsumi (38) going in the Pacific League, but Utsumi, who was only able to go five innings in his first PL win last week, was yanked after four in the Seibu Lions’ one-sided win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Wada pitches Hawks past Eagles

Wada (5-1), whose fastball touched 138 kph (85.7 mph) had too much of everything but speed for the Rakuten Eagles, going 6-2/3 scoreless innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 8-1 win at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

By working the corners with a lively fastball the Eagles were consistently swinging under, and staying low in the zone with his changeup and slider, Wada challenged hitters in the zone and gave up hits on good swings, but rarely looked challenged.

He allowed six hits and a walk while striking out six. He would have had seven had umpire Naoto Shikita noticed that catcher Hiroaki Takaya had caught a two-strike foul tip. Wada got Hiroaki Shimauchi to fly out on the next pitch, his 101st, before exiting stage right.

Wakui (8-2) got off to a solid start, retiring the first four batters, including Akira Nakamura. Perhaps the hardest player in Japan to strike out, Nakamura who rarely misses, Nakamura went down swinging at a changeup.

Alfredo Despaigne, who got a late start to the season due to his being in Cuba when travel restrictions were imposed, opened the scoring with a one-out solo homer off Wakui in the second. Nakamura went after Wakui’s first pitch in the third to single home Taisei Makihara, and Despaigne cracked a three-run homer in SoftBank’s six-run fifth.

Spangenberg lowers boom on Buffaloes

Corey Spangenberg homered, tripled, double and drove in six runs as the Seibu Lions crushed the Orix Buffaloes 13-5 at MetLife Dome despite starter Tetsuya Utsumi failed to go five innings.

Ernesto Mejia doubled in two runs in the bottom of the first off Daiki Tajima (1-4) and Spangenberg followed with his NPB-best sixth triple to make it 4-1. Shuta Tonosaki led off the Lions’ second with a homer and Spangenberg went deep with his ninth homer to finish the four-run frame.

Utsumi held it together until the fourth, when he surrendered three runs on four-straight one-out hits. A fifth, off his right thigh forced him off the field for treatment but he got out of the inning before calling it a night.

Ojima outduels Kaneko

Lotte Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima (5-5) out-pitched former Sawamura Award winner Chihiro Kaneko (1-3) to boost the Marines to 2-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Ojima got double plays in the third and fourth, one started by the slick-fielding southpaw, before escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. Kaneko also worked out of trouble in the third and fourth, but left after hitting Marines catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura on the hand while he trie to sacrifice.

With two on and one out, Yudai Fujioka drove a low pitch to the wall for a two-run double.

Fighters catcher Yushi Shimizu doubled home Taishi Ota in the seventh before Ojima left. Frank Herrmann and Naoya Masuda each pitched in with a scoreless inning to close it out.

3-HR Sakamoto blasts Dragons

Hayato Sakamoto belted three home runs from the leadoff spot and drove in four runs for the Yomiuri Giants in their 5-4 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Nagoya Dome.

The Giants’ Takumi Oshiro homered to lead off the top of the seventh and Sakamoto completed his hat-trick with two outs.

Swallows erase 7-run gap to tie Carp

Yasutaka Shiomi capped a three-run eighth-inning rally as the Yakult Swallows erased a seven-run deficit in their 10-inning, 7-7 with the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Swallows starting pitcher Hirofumi Yamanaka doubled in the game’s first run in the second, when the visitors took a 3-0 lead, but the submarine right-hander allowed seven runs in 2-1/3 innings.

Carp starter Yusuke Nomura left with no outs in the seventh after back-to-back home runs from Tetsuto Yamada and Munetaka Murakami made it a 10-7 game.

Sano, Kamichatani bag Tigers

DeNA BayStars cleanup hitter Keita Sano celebrated being named the CL’s player of the month for August earlier in the day by doubling twice and driving in three runs in a 6-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Yokohama Stadium.

The BayStars overturned an early 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first. A Takayuki Kajitani single and back-to-back doubles by Neftali Soto and Sano made it 2-1.

Kamichatani (1-1) allowed five hits and a walk while striking out three over seven innings. Kenta Ishida and Spencer Patton finished up. Tigers starter Koyo Aoyagi (6-4) allowed four runs over five innings to take the loss.

Sugano monthly MVP for 8th time

Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano set a team record for monthly honors on Wednesday, with his eighth pitcher of the month award, surpassing the seven monthly awards earned by Hall of Fame slugger Hideki Matsui. Sugano’s August award comes on the heels of his honor for June and July.

Sugano went 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA, which was second to Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono (3-0, who struck out 27 batters, one per inning over three complete games.

The CL hitter of the month award went to 25-year-old DeNA BayStars left fielder Keita Sano. Promoted to captain and dropped into the cleanup spot after less than 400 first-team plate appearances, the ninth-round draft led the Central League with 22 RBIs.

Sano’s .405 on-base percentage was second in the league to the .457 posted by the Yakult Swallows’ Munetaka Murakami, who won for June and July. Sano was also second to Murakami in slugging average by a smaller margin .598 to .576. It was Sano’s first monthly award.

The Pacific League winners were right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa of the Lotte Marines (4-0, 3.38 ERA) and Orix Buffaloes corner outfielder Masataka Yoshida.

Ishikawa won his second award over the Rakuten Eagles’ Hideaki Wakui (3-1, 1.47), whose only loss came in a 2-0 shutout and who won for June and July.

Yoshida, who won for the third time, led the PL with a .510 on-base percentage and was second in OPS to Yuki Yanagita of the SoftBank Hawks.

Active roster moves 9/9/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/19

Central League

Activated

DragonsP36Yuichiro Okano
DragonsIF32Masami Ishigaki

Dectivated

DragonsIF55Nobumasa Fukuda

Pacific League

Activated

FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko

Dectivated

MarinesP64Yuta Omine

Starting pitchers for Sept. 4, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuki Matsui (1-2, 3.93) vs Nao Higashihama (2-1, 2.96)

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Katsunori Hirai (5-3, 4.37) vs Daichi Takeyasu (-)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Iwashita (4-4, 4.86) vs Kenta Uehara (0-0, 0.00)

Central League

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Michael Peoples (2-1, 3.99) vs Yukiya Saito (-)

Dragons vs Giants: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Koji Fukutani (3-2, 2.89) vs Angel Sanchez (4-2, 2.45)

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

Masato Morishita (5-2, 2.51) vs Keiji Takahashi (1-3, 4.15)

NPB 2020 Sept. 8

No cigar, but Takahashi smokes Buffaloes

Kona Takahashi (5-6) got three quick outs after losing his no-hit bid in the top of the ninth to throw a one-hit shutout Tuesday in the Seibu Lions’ 2-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes and their ace, Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

On a night when he rarely missed catcher Masatoshi Okada’s glove, the 23-year-old right-hander painted with his fastball and got swinging strikes with his splitter en route to seven strikeouts. Takahashi walked one and allowed one hit, although he needed a couple of good plays from first baseman Ernesto Mejia and shortstop Sosuke Genda to hold the Buffaloes hitless through eight.

Yamamoto (4-3) struck out nine and walked two while allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings. Corey Spangenberg singled and scored the first run in the fifth after a Mejia walk, a sacrifice and a ground ball off the bat of reserve Lions catcher Masatoshi Okada.

“Against one of the best pitchers in Japan, I thought I’d need to keep them from scoring first. I’m grateful to Okada for his quality hitting,” Takahashi said of his catcher, who moments earlier had said he was just happy to get the bat on the ball since his batting average was “on the verge of disappearing.”

Genda, who back-handed a ball in the hole at shortstop to rob Orix catcher Torai Fushimi of a two-out single and end the sixth, singled with one out in the home half, stole second and scored on a Hotaka Yamakawa single.

In his previous start, Takahashi threw seven scoreless innings against the Lotte Marines.

“At that time, I knew I had to make my next outing a good one,” he said. “I was able to establish a good rhythm today.”

Acting Buffaloes manager Satoshi Nakajima said Takahashi proved too hard for his hitters to solve.

“We came into the game with plans in mind, but his quality tonight did not allow us to execute them,” Nakajima said. “I think it shows that we still have a way to go in making adjustments.”

When Buffaloes pinch-hitter Masahiro Nishino lashed a high fastball up the middle for a ninth-inning leadoff single, Lions pitching coach Fumiya Nishiguchi rushed to the mound to check on the right-hander.

Nishiguchi, who knows as much about losing no-hitters as anyone, having lost one perfect game with two outs in the ninth and another with two outs in the 10th, and whose No. 13 Takahashi inherited, must have said the right thing, because Takahashi went back to work and took out the next three hitters with little fanfare, ending the game on an easy comebacker.

Before Takahashi took the mound in the ninth, Nishiguchi had some encouragement.

“I said, ‘Pitch the same way I did until I had two outs,'” Nishiguchi said.

Yamamoto’s loss was the 22-year-old’s first against the Lions.

“Because my opponent pitched so well, I was the one who gave up the first run,” said Yamamoto, Japan’s hardest-throwing starting pitcher. “I have to take hard look in the mirror.”

Senga goes 8 as Hawks shut out Eagles

Softbank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (6-3) struck out 13 over eight innings and Yurisbel Gracial hit his seventh home run and his fifth in six games in a 2-0 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Veteran Eagles lefty Wataru Karashima (2-1) made his second-straight start after beginning the season in the bullpen. He allowed both runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three.

Senga allowed three hits and three walks in a 108-pitch outing, and closer Yuito Mori allowed one hit in the ninth before recording his 19th save.

Martin,Sawamura star against Fighters

Leonys Martin hit another massive bomb, off the façade high above the right-field stands at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium and singled in two runs in the fifth inning to lift the Lotte Marines to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Martin opened the scoring in the first with his 20th home run, off right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa (5-3), although he had to share the spotlight with reliever Hirokazu Sawamura. Acquired in a trade from the Yomiuri Giants the same day, Sawamura went to the mound in the sixth and struck out all three batters he faced in his Pacific League debut.

Fumiya Ono (2-2) earned the win for a scoreless fifth in relief of Yuta Omine. Yuki Karakawa, Frank Herrmann and Naoya Masuda each worked one scoreless inning to preserve the slim lead with Masuda earning his 21st save.

Giants ace Sugano runs win streak to 10

In the Central League’s marquee matchup, Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano (10-0) failed to match his previous results against the Chunichi Dragons, but still managed to best lefty Yudai Ono (5-4) in a 2-0 win at Nagoya Dome.

Ironically, this was Sugano’s worst result of the season against the Dragons, his first two starts having produced complete-game shutouts. Sugano allowed five hits and a walk, and hit a batter while striking out six.

Ono, who entered having won five-straight complete games, including two against the Giants, went the distance again, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out five. His six complete games matches his career high.

The Giants opened the scoring in the third. With one out, Naoki Yoshikawa lined a high 2-0 fastball to center, was sacrificed to second and scored on a Hayato Sakamoto double. Ono hung a 2-0 splitter up and over the outside corner and Sakamoto put a great swing on it, missing a home run by a few feet, but easily bringing Yoshikawa home from second.

Yoshikawa doubled to lead off the eighth with his third hit. A pinch-hitter sacrificed in place of Sugano, and Yoshikawa scored on a Yoshiyuki Kamei’s sacrifice fly.

Giants lefty Kota Nakagawa worked a 1-2-3 eighth, while Rubby De La Rosa pitched the ninth to earn his 10th save.

BayStars ambush Tigers in 7-7 tie

Yusuke Oyama hit a grand slam and a two-run home run, and Jerry Sands added a solo shot to give the Hanshin Tigers a seven-run lead before the DeNA BayStars came back to earn a 10-inning 7-7 tie at Yokohama Stadium.

Tigers starter Onelki Garcia took a 7-0 lead into the sixth inning, but couldn’t limit the damage after Keita Sano’s three-run homer made it 7-4. The southpaw left with no outs and two runners on. Veteran lefty Atsushi Nomi allowed both to score and allowed one run of his own.

Kuri stops Swallows

Allen Kuri (3-4) walked five over six innings but allowed no runs in the Hiroshima Carp’s 5-1 victory over the Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Veteran Swallows lefty Masanori Ishikawa (0-3) allowed four runs, two earned, to take the loss.

Active roster moves 9/8/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/18

Central League

Activated

GiantsP33Ryu Ota
BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto
BayStarsOF61Tatsuo Ebina
DragonsP54Kento Fujishima
SwallowsP38Yugo Umeno

Dectivated

GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe

Pacific League

Activated

HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
EaglesOF38Masaki Iwami
MarinesP57Hirokazu Sawamura

Dectivated

MarinesP24Yusuke Azuma

Starting pitchers for Sept. 4, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hideaki Wakui (8-1, 2.43) vs Tsuyoshi Wada (4-1, 3.13)

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tetsuya Utsumi (1-1, 2.45) vs Daiki Tajima (1-3, 3.10)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuya Ojima (4-5, 3.76) vs Chihiro Kaneko (1-2, 7.27)

Central League

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Taiga Kamichatani (0-1, 4.85) vs Koyo Aoyagi (6-3, 3.23)

Dragons vs Giants: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuichiro Okano (2-1, 4.82) vs Kazuto Taguchi (3-3, 4.40)

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

Yusuke Nomura (4-1, 2.86) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1, 3.13)