Tag Archives: Hotaka Yamakawa

NPB 2020 Sept. 20

Lions come back to beat Buffaloes

Tomoya Mori snatched the victor’s laurels from Orix Buffaloes center fielder Hayato Nishiura with a three-run eighth-inning double that lifted the Seibu Lions to a 5-4 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Nishiura saved three runs with in the first, robbing Ernesto Mejia of a two-out double at the wall. He went up to get it before it hit the ball and caught it between his arms, cradling it for the out after he crashed to the turf.

Ryo Ota, a former top draft pick whose 2019 debut season was limited by injury, homered off Wataru Matsumoto in the first to put the Buffaloes up 1-0. Another rookie, 2018 fifth-rounder Sho Gibo, doubled in a run with two outs in the third. Steven Moya’s second homer of the year made it 3-0.

Nishiura preserved a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Playing shallow with two outs and a runner on second as Japanese teams do, Nishiura had to race back into the gap in right-center, making an over-the-shoulder basket catch for the final out.

He followed that by leading off the bottom of the fifth with home run into the second deck.

Orix starter Andrew Albers allowed two runs over six innings on seven hits, a walk and a hit batsman.

The Lions finally got to the lefty in the sixth when Sosuke Genda singled and scored on Hotaka Yamakawa’s 22nd home run.

Right-hander Ryo Yoshida, the Buffaloes’ third reliever, took over in the seventh with one on and one out but walked the bases loaded with two outs and gave up Mori’s double.

On the other side, four Lions relievers followed Matsumoto and combined to allow one walk and one hit. Tatsushi Masuda recorded his 20th save.

Eagles survive Hawks comeback

Eagles closer Alan Busenitz came within a hair of blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead, earning the save when a rocket off Ryoya Kurihara’s bat was caught by first baseman Daichi Suzuki for the final out as Rakuten beat the SoftBank Hawks 3-2 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome on Sunday.

Suzuki tied the game 1-1 on the first pitch in the fourth. Shuta Ishikawa (6-3) left a fastball up and Suzuki lined it off the wall behind the right-field home run terrace. Hawks catcher Takuya Kai, who’d homered to open the scoring minutes earlier tried not to shake his head but failed.

Eagles veteran Takayuki Kishi got out of a sixth-inning jam when Akira Nakamura, who swings and misses as infrequently as any hitter in Japan, struck out swinging for the second out. After an intentional walk to Yuki Yanagita, Kishi got out of the inning with an easy groundout.  

Stefen Romero put the Eagles up by one in the seventh, hitting an 0-1 power curve. Ishikawa supplied the curve by hanging it up in the zone and Romero supplied the power, launching it 10 rows back into the permanent seats.

Former San Diego submariner Kazuhisa Makita surrendered a two-out two-strike single to Nakamura. Yanagita came up with a chance to put the hosts in front, but went down swinging. Hiroaki Shimauchi then took out some insurance by taking reliever Yuki Matsumoto’s first pitch out to left for a solo homer to open the ninth.

Takayuki Kishi allowed a run over a season-high six innings in his fifth start of the Eagles.

The Hawks loaded the bases against closer Alan Busenitz with one out in the ninth on two singles and a fielder’s choice. Go Kamamoto singled in one run, but Busenitz got a force out at the plate before Suzuki was impaled by Kurihara’s liner.

Fighters give one away

Shohei Kato scored the tying run from second on a passed ball-throwing error with his team down to their last strike and then tripled in two runs in the 10th to lead the Lotte Marines to a 5-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

Rookie catcher Toshiya Sato’s two-run sixth-inning homer brought Lotte to within a run, after Marines starter Manabu Mima allowed three runs in the first but lasted eight innings.

Kato came on to run after Seiya Inoue singled with one out off Taisho Tamai. A two out walk put runners on first and second.

Tamai got ahead of Tsuyoshi Sugano 0-2, but catcher Yushi Shimizu failed to catch a 1-2 changeup. It popped up off the heel of his glove and by the time caught it Kato was on third, but the runner on first was well of the base. Sensing a chance to end the game, Shimizu gunned a throw to first that glanced off first baseman Kotaro Kiyomiya’s glove, allowing Kato to score.

Marines closer Naoya Masuda (2-2) got into trouble in the bottom of the ninth. Regular cleanup hitter, Sho Nakata, who started the game on the bench, came on to pinch hit flew out to short for the third out.

With two out and two on in the 10th, Kato drilled a pitch from Kenya Suzuki (0-1) to the gap to plate two. Recently acquired reliever Hirokazu Sawamura took over in the bottom of the 10th. He issued three two-out walks before getting a groundout to record his first save of the year.

Hatake plows under BayStars

Right-hander Shusei Hatake (1-3), making an emergency start in place of lefty Cristopher Mercedes, worked six innings and Yoshihiro Maru homered twice and drove in three as the Yomiuri Giants beat the DeNA BayStars 5-0 at Yokohama Stadium. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Giants.

DeNA right-hander Shinichi Onuki (6-4) allowed four runs, three earned, over six innings to take the loss. A single, a stolen base, a throwing error and a Hayato Sakamoto single put the Giants up in the first. Maru hit his 16th homer in the fourth with a man on and went deep again in the sixth.

Dragons light up Nakata in win over Tigers

The Chunichi Dragons scored three runs in two innings off veteran right-hander Kenichi Nakata (0-2) en route to a 4-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.

After a 1-2-3 first against the team for which he won the bulk of his 100 career games, Nakata allowed four straight hits in the second, bringing in two runs, while a third scored on a safety squeeze.

Takahiro Matsuba (3-4) allowed two runs over five innings. The only two runs came when pinch-hitter Kenya Nagasaka homered with a man on after his foul pop was dropped but not ruled an error. Four relievers combined to allow one hit and two walks over the final four innings with Raidel Martinez earning his 13th save.

Swallows survive ninth-inning horror show

The Yakult Swallows opened the home half of the first with three straight home runs before nearly blowing a seven-run ninth-inning lead with starter Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-3) on the mound in an 8-6 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Ogawa worked a 1-2-3 first, and in a sense, so did Carp starter Yuta Nakamura (0-1), who watched three of his first 14 pitches end up as souvenirs for the Carp fans in the left-field bleachers. It was the fifth time a team had homered in its first three plate appearances and the first time since the Dragons did it at Yokohama Stadium in 1995.

The Swallows entered the top of the ninth with an 8-1 lead and kept Ogawa on the mound after he had thrown just 101 pitches. After a double, a single and a double play, things were still looking good for manager Shingo Takatsu’s plan not to use his bullpen with the last three of nine straight games looming.

But five straight hits off straight fastballs and hanging breaking balls, the last off Ogawa’s 123rd pitch, finally forced a change. Closer Taishi Ishiyama allowed the tying run on with a single before getting a strikeout that ended the game and earned him his 11th save.

Active roster moves 9/20/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/30

Central League

Activated

GiantsP31Seishu Hatake
GiantsP58Ryosuke Miyaguni
TigersP20Kenichi Nakata
CarpP67Yuta Nakamura

Dectivated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsIF00Daiki Yoshikawa

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP63Hiroyuki Kawahara
HawksOF60Go Kamamoto
EaglesIF6Kazuya Fujita
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo

Dectivated

HawksOF51Seiji Uebayashi
EaglesIF66Itsuki Murabayashi
MarinesP30Tsuyoshi Ishizaki
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino
BuffaloesOF56Yusuke Matsui

Starting pitchers for Sept. 21, 2020

Central League

Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daisuke Naoe (0-0, 2.35) vs Allen Kuri (4-4, 4.06)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-3, 3.66) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1, 5.33)

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

Minoru Iwata (-) vs Masaya Kyoyama (1-0, 9.00)

NPB 2021 Sept. 1

Yamamoto finally beats Senga

Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto escaped a first-inning jam to work seven innings in a 5-0 win over SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga on Tuesday at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Masataka Yoshida singled in two runs in the sixth for the hosts and double in another in the seventh.

Yamamoto (4-2) walked five batters and struck out seven while allowing two hits. He threw 114 pitches, but 35 of those in the first inning, when he walked the bases loaded and got lucky when Yuki Yanagita just missed a hanging slider with one on and no outs, only managing to drive it to the warning track.

The right-hander brought his bread-and-butter four-seam fastball, but also had good command of his curve and slider, giving those pitches more extensive workouts than he usually does. The win was Yamamoto’s first since the middle of July.

“He (Yamamoto) didn’t pitch the same way he usually does. Whether it was because he went to his breaking pitches more or not, I don’t know, but he pitched really well.”

–SoftBank Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo

“I’ve been going through a long stretch where I’ve not been very good,” Yamamoto said. “I’d already lost twice to him, so I wanted to do what I could to not do that again.”

“Senga pitched really well, and even though I walked all those batters in the first I was able to regroup. Even though I hadn’t been pulling my weight, my teammates never got down on me. I have them to thank for having my back.”

Senga (5-3) allowed four runs on five hits and six walks over 6-2/3 innings while striking out six. The Buffaloes broke the deadlock against him in the sixth, when he issued two walks and Keita Nakagawa bunted for a single to load the bases.

Yoshida got a high-straight 2-1 fastball and didn’t try to do too much with. He rifled it into center for a two-run single. Back-to-back two-out walks pushed across another run, and manger Kimiyasu Kudo stuck with Senga until Yoshida made it 4-0 with a seventh-inning double.

“Nakagawa laid down such a great bunt,” Yoshida said. “Against one of the Pacific League’s marquee pitchers, I was just looking to put a good swing on whatever good pitch I could get.”

Tyler Higgins struck out three batters in the eighth to work around a one-out walk and a single, and closer Brandon Dickson struck out two in a scoreless ninth for the Buffaloes.

Takahashi pulverizes Marines

Kona Takahashi (4-6) worked seven scoreless innings and the Seibu Lions punished Yuta Omine (0-1) in his first game back since Tommy John surgery in a 9-1 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Takahashi allowed one seventh-inning hit thanks to some sparkling team defense, while walking two and striking out three. The Lions tattooed Omine for seven runs over five innings.

Takumi Kuriyama, had three hits and broke the ice with a two-run third-inning single and Hotaka Yamakawa capped the rally with his 19th home run, a three-run shot.

Uwasawa goes distance to beat Eagles

Naoyuki Uwasawa (5-2) threw a five-hitter for the Nippon Ham Fighters in their 8-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sapporo Dome.

The right-hander struck out seven and walked three in a 125-pitch effort. He pitched out of a two-on, no-out pickle in the second inning thanks to two-straight failed squeeze plays before surrendering the game’s first run when Kazuki Tanaka took him deep to lead off the fifth.

The Fighters tied it in the home half when Ryo Watanabe singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Christian Villanueva single. Go Matsumoto’s seventh-inning RBI single off Sung Chih-hao (1-2), and the Fighters piled on in the eighth with four runs off J.T. Chargois.

Carp become Ono’s latest victims

After Yudai Ono threw his first complete game victory of the season on July 31, he was asked what he’d changed after going 0-3 in his first six starts.

He said, “Nothing really, I’ve pitched well enough to win most of the time but was only unable to hang in until we did. I’ve tried to be more economical and pitch tougher so I could stay in games longer.”

Since then, the self-deprecating Chunichi Dragons lefty has reeled off five-straight complete-game victories, tying a franchise record shared by three others, with a 5-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Nagoya Dome.

Ono allowed two hits and a walk in the 116-pitch outing to throw his second-straight shutout. Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri (2-4) allowed all five runs on nine hits and three walks over 7-2/3 innings.

Yota Kyoda broke up a scoreless tie in the fifth inning after reaching on a leadoff triple and scoring when Ono grounded out.

Giants walk it off against ‘Stars

Naoki Yoshikawa bounced a ground ball through the infield to bring home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as the Yomiuri Giants beat the DeNA BayStars 3-2 at Tokyo Dome.

Against Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano, the Dragons erased a two-run deficit. Sugano allowed one run in the fifth when the BayStars loaded the bases with no outs. He issued two walks, both in the ninth to set the table for Keita Sano’s game-tying RBI single off lefty Kota Nakagawa.

Sugano, who was gunning for his 10th victory to start the season, allowed four hits while striking out 10.

Rubby De La Rosa (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Giants to earn the win in relief after the Giants scored off of lefty Edwin Escobar (0-2) to win it.

The Giants opened the scoring against Taiga Kamichatani in the fourth on a walk by Yoshihiro Maru and a two-out Takumi Oshiro homer.

Spencer Patton worked a scoreless seventh and Kenta Ishida did the same in the eighth to keep the BayStars in it until the end.

Sands blast knocks off Swallows

Jerry Sands drove in both runs for the Hanshin Tigers in their 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Koshien Stadium.

The former Dodger and KBO RBI champ doubled in a run in the fourth to break up a scoreless pitchers’ duel between lefties Masanori Ishikawa of the Swallows and Haruto Takahashi of the Tigers. Ishikawa lasted 5-1/3 innings, while Takahashi went seven.

The Swallows tied it on a two-out Munetaka Murakami double and an Alcides Escobar RBI single. But Yuta Iwasad worked a 1-2-3 eighth for the Tigers, and Robert Suarez (1-0) worked around Tetsuto Yamada’s leadoff double in the ninth to keep the game tied.

Instead of closer Taishi Ishiyama, Gabriel Ynoa (0-3) took over in the ninth and Sands hit his sixth pitch for his 13th home run of the season.

Active roster moves 9/1/2020

Central League

Activated

BayStarsIF64Hiroki Momose
TigersOF68Shunsuke Fujikawa
CarpIF96Alejandro Mejia
DragonsP16Katsuki Matayoshi
SwallowsP25Gabriel Ynoa
SwallowsOF8Shota Nakayama
SwallowsOF9Yasutaka Shiomi

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP21Ken Togame
EaglesP58Wataru Karashima
MarinesP64Yuta Omine
FightersP27Nick Martinez
BuffaloesP39Yuya Iida

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Sept. 2, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Eagles: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kenta Uehara (-) vs Hideaki Wakui (8-1, 2.25)

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

Kazuya Ojima (4-4, 4.06) vs Tetsuya Utsumi (0-1, 4.50)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (1-3, 3.02) vs Tsuyoshi Wada (4-1, 3.33)

Central League

Giants vs BayStars: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Angel Sanchez (3-2, 2.67) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-3, 3.86)

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

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (1-2, 5.06) vs Yusuke Nomura (3-1, 2.09)

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

Onelki Garcia (2-5, 3.75) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1, 3.18)

NPB 2020 8-27 Games and news

Starter Matsui overpowers Marines

Former Rakuten Eagles closer Yuki Matsui earned his first win as a starter in nearly two years on Thursday, going seven innings in a 15-0 win over the Lotte Marines at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

The 1.74-meter lefty’s fastball had too much spin for the Marines to square up. His inability to locate it consistently led to him walking four batters and hitting one, but that hardly mattered as he allowed one single and struck out 11.

The win ended the Eagles’ four-game losing streak, and Matsui was asked about whether that weighed on him.

“To be honest, I had bigger things to think about,” he said.

Matsui last worked out of the rotation as a rookie in 2014, when he went 5-12 in 17 starts. He got two starts at the end of the 2018 season and went 1-1, but went back to the bullpen last season when he led the Pacific League in saves. Both of his last two wins, in September 2018 and September 2014, came against the Marines.

The Eagles stranded two runners in each of the first two innings against right-hander Daiki Iwashita (3-4), but with two out and two on in the third, Stefen Romero hit his 16th home run of the season.

Iwashita allowed seven runs over four innings on 10 hits, four walks and one hit batsman.

Yamakawa lifts Lions over Fighters

Hotaka Yamakawa homered to help the Seibu Lions overcome an early deficit and finished the game with a two-run sayonara single in an 8-7 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.

Sho Nakata and Taishi Ota hit two-run home runs, Nakata in the first and Ota in the second to put the Fighters up 4-0. Yamakawa homered in the third off rookie Ryusei Kawano, who allowed five runs, three allowed, over 4-1/3 innings.

The Lions took a 6-4 lead into the eighth, but Reed Garrett uncharacteristically blew it, surrendering three runs on three hits, two hits and a hit batsman.

The Fighters brought in middle reliever Mizuki Hori to get out of the eighth by striking out Tomoya Mori. But the lefty gave up an infield single, and after a sacrifice, Sosuke Genda and Takumi Kuriyama walked to load the bases. The Fighters pulled the infield and outfield in tight, and Yamakawa lined a pitch just past left fielder Kenshi Sugiya to win it.

Kasaya gives Hawks 5 in win over Buffs

Shunsuke Hara (2-2) earned his first win as a starter, striking out seven, while allowing one run over five innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 4-2 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Catcher Takuya Kai hit a two-run homer, while Seiji Uebayashi hit a sacrifice fly and a solo homer. Hawks closer Yuito Mori surrendered three-straight singles to open the ninth, but got Adam Jones to hit into a double play before ending it and earning his 15th save.

Buffaloes Opening Day starter Taisuke Yamaoka (0-1) returned to duty for the first time in two months following an oblique muscle injury in his second start. On a short pitch count, he allowed three runs in three innings.

Yanagita DH with stiff legs and neck

Hawks superstar Yuki Yanagita failed to get a hit in the three-game series with the Buffaloes, was used as a DH on Thursday due to neck and leg stiffness.

“The move (to DH) was because of what the trainer told me,” manager Kimiyasu Kudo said. “I’m not worried about him not getting a hit. I don’t think it’s related. Sometimes hitters don’t hit.”

Ino doubles BayStars past Carp

Right-hander Shoichi Ino (5-3) allowed two runs over 5-1/3 innings and brought the DeNA BayStars from a run down with a fourth-inning double in a 3-2 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Yokohama Stadium.

Kris Johnson (0-5) lacked his best command and fell behind in counts as he surrendered three runs on six hits, three walks and a hit batsman over six innings.

Carp skipper Shinji Sasaoka said of the lefty who in 2016 won the Eiji Sawamura Award as Japan’s most impressive starting pitcher, “One win and he’ll turn things around.”

Ino left with runners on the corners and one out in the sixth, handing off to Spencer Patton, who worked around a two-out walk to escape the inning with the lead intact, and said afterward he was surprised 155 kph (96.3 mph) during his stint.

Edwin Escobar, Yuki Kuniyoshi and acting closer Kazuki Mishima finished up with three scoreless innings. Mishima earned his eighth save.

Cool customer

What you don’t see in the postgame “hero interview” is that Ino and Patton each received a refrigerator from the interview sponsor, Nojima Electric, which set BayStars Twitter abuzz because Patton missed a chunk of last season when he struck the door on the little refrigerator used for drinks on the BayStars bench and broke a bone in his hand.

Sands blasts Dragons with 2 homers

A day after Justin Bour hit two home runs for the Hanshin Tigers, it was teammate Jerry Sands’ turn as he drove in four runs in a 6-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Koshien Stadium.

Koyo Aoyagi (6-3) allowed two runs over seven innings to earn the win, and Robert Suarez struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 10th save for the Tigers. Dayan Viciedo doubled in a run and scored another in the Dragons’ two-run first, only for Aoyagi to face just 18 hitters over his final six innings.

Togo’s Giant juggling act beats Swallows

Rookie Shosei Togo improved to (7-2) with five scoreless innings despite giving up four hits and five walks in the Yomiuri Giants’ 5-2 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

The right-hander was spared a run in the fourth when with two outs and a runner on third, Swallows pitcher Hirotoshi Takanashi hit a bullet to right. Giants right fielder Seiya Matsubara fielded the ball on a hop and fired to first for the 9-3 groundout to right field.

Active roster moves 8/27/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/6

Central League

Activated

SwallowsP24Tomoya Hoshi

Dectivated

GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
SwallowsP15Yuma Ohshita

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP45Keisuke Honda
EaglesC27Takero Okajima
EaglesOF51Yuya Ogo
FightersP28Ryusei Kawano
BuffaloesP19Taisuke Yamaoka

Dectivated

LionsP11Tatsuya Imai
LionsP30Daiki Enokida
EaglesP13Kohei Morihara
EaglesC65Kengo Horiuchi
EaglesOF46Ko Shimozuru
FightersIF32Ryota Yachi
BuffaloesOF00Hayato Nishiura

Central League

Activated

GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa
CarpIF00Kaisei Sone
SwallowsP20Kazuki Kondo

Dectivated

BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
CarpIF63Ryoma Nishikawa
SwallowsP13Hikaru Nakao

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksOF64Yusuke Masago
EaglesP72Shun Ikeda
BuffaloesOF56Yusuke Matsui

Dectivated

HawksP16Nao Higashihama
HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
EaglesP23Hayato Yuge
MarinesP15Manabu Mima
BuffaloesIF42Aderlin Rodriguez

Starting pitchers for Aug. 28, 2020

Pacific League

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

Takahiro Norimoto (4-3, 3.59) vs Zach Neal (2-3, 5.06)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (2-2, 3.97) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (4-2, 4.18)

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

Shota Takeda (-) vs Chihiro Kaneko (1-1, 5.76)

Central League

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

Kazuto Taguchi (2-3, 4.89) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-3, 2.70)

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

Michael Peoples (1-1, 5.75) vs Daiki Yoshida (1-3, 6.04)

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

Masato Morishita (5-2, 2.14) vs Yuki Nishi (4-3, 2.30)

NPB 2020 8-8 GAMES AND NEWS

Dragon Fukuda toasts Giants

Nobumasa Fukuda’s second homer of the season, a three-run, seventh-inning shot off Yomiuri Giants starter Seishu Hatake (0-1) lifted the Chunichi Dragons to a 3-1 win at Nagoya Dome on Saturday.

Hatake got out of a first-inning jam when he loaded the bases with two outs on two walks and a hit batsman. The right-hander made his escape on two pitches against Ariel Martinez, getting the Cuban catcher to chase an 0-1 curve away and hit an easy grounder to third.

The Dragons got a leadoff single in the third only for Hatake to retire the next 13 batters.

Dragons right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno let the Giants score in the fourth on cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto’s 15th home run. Katsuno had allowed two runners through the first three innings, and caught a break to open the fourth, when Yoshihiro Maru hammered a low-inside fastball to first that Dayan Viciedo managed to catch.

After a fastball inside for a strike and two bounced sliders, Katsuno missed in the heart of the zone, and Okamoto put a good swing on it, launching it out to center. The pitcher left after six innings having allowed a run on three hits and two walks while striking out five.

Stocky lefty Hiroto Fuku, pitching for the first time in over a week, missed high with a fastball to Gerardo Parra, who hit it hard up the middle for a single. The lefty lucked out when Naoki Yoshikawa, who had been peppering the left field line with foul balls, hit a sharp grounder that third baseman Shuhei Takahashi dove for and got the force at second.

Fuku missed a 1-2 fastball up that light-hitting catcher Ginjiro Sumitani was able hammer through past first to put runners on the corners. Hatake struck out, and a first-pitch cutter on the hands of right-handed-hitting pinch-hitter Hiroyuki Nakajima got the Dragons out of the inning.

With one out in the seventh, Martinez grounded another low-away curve to third, but beat the throw for an infield single. Masataka Iryo put a good swing on the next pitch, a high changeup and drilled it past first to put runners on the corners for Fukuda, who walked up to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

Hatake missed down the pipe with a slider that Fukuda let go. When Hatake missed with a fastball in the same spot, Fukuda blasted it.

“He’d been throwing really good pitches, but his fastball had been his best, so that’s what I was looking for, nothing else,” Fukuda said, echoing the analyst who said that was probably the case after watching him pass on the first pitch.

The Dragons bullpen recorded six-straight outs, three by setup man Daisuke Sobue and three by closer Raidel Martinez.

Sano sinks Swallows with homer in epic at-bat

DeNA BayStars captain Keita Sano’s two-run, fifth-inning homer broke up a tie game en route to a 5-4 win over the Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium.

Sano, who singled in the tying run in the third after Yakult took the lead on Munetaka Murakami’s two-run first-inning homer, fouled off six 3-2 pitches from Yakult right-hander Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa (4-2). Sano leaned into Ogawa’s 12th pitch, a slider away, and knocked it out to center for his seventh home run and a 4-2 BayStars lead.

Kazuki Kamizato, who singled three times and scored three, came home on a Toshiro Miyazaki single in the seventh to make it 5-2, but then helped give away two runs in the bottom of the eighth. With one out and a runner on first, the BayStars center fielder misplayed Alcides Escobar’s single, and it rolled to the wall. Escobar wound up at third and scored on a groundout.

After back-to-back two out walks put the go-ahead run on, Escobar’s cousin, Edwin, took the mound and ended the inning with a strikeout.

DeNA lefty Shota Imanaga (5-2) allowed two runs on four hits and a walk, while striking out six, and Kazuki Mishima earned his fifth save.

Carp ace Osera bounces back to outlast Tigers

Daichi Osera (4-1) returned from his 10-day stint on the inactive list by allowing a run over seven innings in the Hiroshima Carp’s 2-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

After an exchange of homers between Yusuke Ono of the Tigers and the Carp’s Hisayoshi Chono, the pitching duel between Osera and Nishi went on for six innings. The Tigers loaded the bases in the seventh with one out, but Osera got Kosuke Fukudome to hit into a double play and end it.

In the bottom of the inning, rookie Minoru Omori drew a leadoff walk from Kyuji Fujikawa (1-3) went to second on a wild pickoff throw and scored on Shogo Sakakura’s pinch-hit single.

The best moment of the game came after the game, when Carp closer Geronimo Franzua, who struck out two in the ninth to record his fourth save, tossed the ball from the final out, the “winning ball” into the crowd. This forced Chono to lead a posse of Carp players to the edge of the stands to plead for its return so Osera could keep it as a souvenir.

Afterward the Daily Sports bemoaned the Tigers’ mistakes, the pickoff throw and Jerry Sands getting caught off base in the top of the seventh. With runners on the corners and no outs after singles by Sands and Justin Bour, Ryutaro Umeno grounded back to the pitcher, who threw Sands out, costing the Tigers not an out, but a base, which became moot when Osera walked the next hitter.

It didn’t cost the Tigers an out or a run, and was only significant for writers of articles cataloging teams’ mistakes.

Romero rocks Hawks as Shiomi rolls for Eagles

Stefen Romero hit his 14th home run and his third in two nights while Takahiro Shiomi threw 6-2/3 shutout innings for the Rakuten Eagles in their 4-2 win over the SoftBank Hawks at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Romero also doubled twice and was hit by a pitch in the win that pushed the Eagles out of a tie for first place in the Pacific League with the Hawks. Shiomi (3-2) struck out six while hitting a batter and allowing three singles.

The Hawks might have taken the lead in the first but for this catch by Eagles center fielder Kazuki Tanaka, whose RBI double in the second made it 2-0 Rakuten.

Hawks starter Akira Niho (3-3) allowed three runs over seven innings to take the loss.

Martin leads charging Marines past Buffaloes

Leonys Martin homered and doubled twice, scored three runs and drove in four for the Lotte Marines in a 9-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

The Marines torched Buffaloes starter Kohei “K” Suzuki (0-2) for seven runs in 3-1/3 innings, while the Marines’ Kota Futaki (1-1) gave up two over seven innings to earn the win.

Martin’s home run was his 10th of the year.

Fighters get past Lions guardian Garrett

Reed Garrett has been a pillar of the Seibu Lions’ bullpen but on Saturday, he got carried along by the tide as the third pitcher in a five-run seventh inning that lifted the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 7-6 come-from-behind win at Sapporo Dome.

Katsunori Hirai retired two of the first three batters he faced in the seventh but couldn’t get the fourth. Rookie Tetsu Miyagawa (0-1) allowed four-straight runners to reach before giving way to Garrett. With the Lions’ lead down to a run, and two on, Garrett allowed an infield single that loaded the bases and a two-run single to Ryo Watanabe.

Watanabe hit a two-run home in the second to briefly give the hosts the lead only for Hotaka Yamakawa to hit his 14th homer, a two-run shot in the Lions’ three-run third.

Marte reinjures left calf in rehab game

Hanshin Tigers infielder Jefry Marte, who has been sidelined since injuring his left calf on July 4, reinjured the leg on Saturday during a Western League game.

The 29-year-old, playing in his second season in Japan, was unable to get as far as first base in the Tigers’ minor league game at the Hiroshima Carp’s minor league park in Yuu, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Blash deactivated due to neck pain

The Rakuten Eagles dropped Jabari Blash from the active roster on Saturday for the first time since the outfielder joined the Pacific League club a year ago

Blash, who turned 31 in July, is suffering from neck pain and has exhibited mild whiplash symptoms according to Jiji.com.

Active roster moves 8/8/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/18

Central League

Activated

GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
BayStarsP68Yoshiaki Fujioka
TigersP27Yuya Onaka
CarpP14Daichi Ohsera
CarpC31Yoshiyuki Ishihara

Dectivated

GiantsP92Shohei Numata
BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
TigersP92Kazuo Ito
CarpP46Mikiya Takahashi
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura
SwallowsP44Hiroki Onishi

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP61Masato Okumura
EaglesIF48Yoshiaki Watanabe
MarinesP18Kota Futaki
FightersP63Ryuji Kitaura
BuffaloesP30Kohei ”K” Suzuki

Dectivated

EaglesOF69Jabari Blash
MarinesP49Chen Kuan-yu
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
BuffaloesP61Tsubasa Sakakibara

Starting pitchers for Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Drew VerHagen (3-1, 3.38) vs Keisuke Honda (0-3, 3.92)

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Yuya Fukui (0-0, 1.80) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (1-2, 5.93)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Andrew Albers (2-3, 3.78) vs Toshiya Nakamura (0-0, 4.58)

Central League

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hirofumi Yamanaka (0-0, 0.00) vs Kentaro Taira (2-2, 1.99)

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

Yariel Rodriguez (-) vs Ryosuke Miyaguni (0-0, 2.81)

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

Atsushi Endo (2-1, 4.50) vs Takumi Akiyama (3-1, 4.83)

NPB 2020 7-18 games and news

Lions hold off Eagles in home run derby

Sixth-inning home runs by Hotaka Yamakawa and Takeya Nakamura lifted the Seibu Lions to a 4-3 win over the Rakuten Eagles on Saturday afternoon.

In a matchup between two pitchers who depend on mixing their pitches and changing speeds, Eagles lefty Takahiro Shiomi (1-3) got away with his early location issues in a 1-2-3 first inning, but Lions starter Wataru Matsumoto (1-2) didn’t.

The Lions’ right-hander surrendered two first-inning home runs, and the Lions trailing 3-0 for the first five innings didn’t catch up until too many pitches in the middle of the strike zone caught up with Shiomi.

Eigoro Mogi got the Pacific League leaders off to a solid start at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

The leadoff man reached the seats on a 2-0 fastball in the heart of the zone. With one out, Jabari Blash singled off a 3-2 cutter that missed up. Matsumoto popped up the toughest hitter in the Eagles lineup, Hideto Asamura, but Hiroaki Shimauchi got a mistake and didn’t miss.

Matsumoto’s first-pitch, an 87 mph fastball in the heart of the zone, was running away from Shimauchi, but the left-handed hitter got all of it and drove it into the right field stands for a 3-0 lead.

Matsumoto got away with another bad miss in the middle of the zone to Stefen Romero, who grounded out to end the inning.

Shiomi who looked to have conquered his poor location at the end of the first, went back to making dangerous mistakes in the second but again got away with murder. With one out and Tomoya Mori on second from a double. The lefty hung a 2-0 curve in the heart of the zone that Takumi Kuriyama watched for a strike before having a word with himself for the missed opportunity. Kuriyama walked but Shiomi threw three good pitches to Cory Spangenberg to keep the Lions off the board.

The Eagles got a beachhead on the bases in the third with a gritty leadoff walk from Daichi Suzuki, but Matsumoto got out of the inning when Hideto Asamura grounded a tough pitch up the middle to second baseman Shuta Tonosaki, who started a nifty double play with a flip to shortstop Sosuke Genda.

The double play combo set the table for the Lions in the sixth with back-to-back groundball singles.

Genda opened by smacking a high first-pitch splitter between first and second for a single. Tonosaki, who’d made two outs seeing nothing but the lefty’s splitters, fouled off two good ones and took one in the dirt to run the count 2-2. Shiomi switched to inside fastballs and eventually throw one down the middle. Tonosaki didn’t put a good swing on it but a good bounce got it through the infield.

With no outs and runners on the corners, Yamakawa got all of a first-pitch fastball and just missed hitting the park’s left field merry-go-round on a hop with his eighth home run.

Nakamura, who missed a high splitter en route to a 3-2 count, didn’t miss the second one he saw up in the zone. A six-time PL home run champ, Nakamura broke the 3-3 tie with his third home run of the season.

With the lead in hand, Katsunori Hirai came out of the bullpen in the bottom of the sixth and worked around a two-out single. Rookie Tetsu Miyagawa surrendered a one-out double to Mogi, but retired the persistent Suzuki for the second out.

With Blash and Asamura waiting in the wings, Lions skipper Hatsuhiko Tsuji turned the ball over to new import Reed Garrett, who has been rock solid in late relief.

Garrett retired Blash to strand Mogi. His 1-2-3 eighth, and that of closer Tatsushi Masuda closed it out, with Masuda earning his seventh save.

Matsumoto, who ended the Eagles fifth with Suzuki on base by retiring Asamura for the third time, allowed three runs on two walks and six hits.

Shiomi left after 5-2/3 having allowed four runs on nine hits and a walk. He struck out two. J. T. Chargois stranded a runner in the sixth and worked around two seventh-inning walks.

Right-hander Tohomhito Sakai worked the eighth for the Eagles, while former Lion and San Diego Padre submariner Kazuhisa Makita worked a scoreless ninth.

Lions accuse Eagles fans of cheating

Seibu Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji on Saturday discovered another problem related to the coronavirus, an opportunity for fans to give the home team an unfair advantage.

Tsuji told umpires during the Lions’ game in Sendai that someone in the stands was giving away where Lions catcher Tomoya Mori was setting up before pitches during the at-bats of the hometown Rakuten Eagles, the Nikkan Sports reported.

In response, home plate umpire Tetsuo Yamaji issued a warning to fans and the Eagles posted extra security behind home plate. With fans forbidden to shout or cheer and only 5,000 fans allowed into games this month on account of the novel coronavirus pandemic, voices can easily be heard in what otherwise would be a constant wall of sound as each team’s cheering sections blast out chants accompanied by horns and drums.

“The batter can hear that, really,” Tsuji said after the game. “This is no different than sign stealing. I think this is going to be a problem no matter what ballpark you’re at.”

Yanagita’s monster blast boosts Hawks

The SoftBank Hawks earned a tight 2-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Saturday after Yuki Yanagita opened the scoring with the most impressive home run of Japan’s young season.

With Hawks right-handerShuta Ishikawa (3-0) and Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima locked up in a scoreless pitchers’ duel through five innings, Yanagita broke the tie with two outs in the sixth.

The lefty served up an 86 mph center-cut running fastball that the left-handed hitter leaned into and got all of. The blast hit the light ring where the stadium ceiling meets the roof over the upper deck in right field and dropped to the field.

The Hawks scored an insurance run against Tajima in the seventh before Buffaloes catcher Kenya Wakatsuki homered off submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi in the bottom of the inning.

Orix’s Tyler Higgins worked a scoreless ninth, but Hawks closer Yuito Mori retired the heart of the Buffaloes order 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to record his fourth save.

Marines overcome lapses to crush Fighters

Right-hander Atsuki Taneichi surrendered two solo home runs, but those proved to be the only two points of light in an otherwise dark day for the Nippon Ham Fighters in a 5-2 loss to the Lotte Marines at Sapporo Dome.

The visitors took a one-run lead in the first. Takashi Ogino reached on a leadoff infield single, went to third on an errant pickoff throw from Fighters lefty Takayuki Kato and scored on a Ikuhiro Kiyota double.

Toshitake Yoko and Ryo Watanabe hit second-inning home runs for the Fighters, and Kato pitched out of a one-out jam in the third, but that proved to be the end of the Nippon Ham highlight reel.

A leadoff single in the third gave the Fighters an opportunity to pad their lead against Taneichi. Instead, their final hit of the game set up the first of three double plays they would ground into.

Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama went to his second pitcher, former Cleveland Indians farm hand Toru Murata (0-1), but the right-hander was ineffective.

A hit batsman, a Shogo Nakamura double and a sac fly from Hisanori Yasuda tied it. After a one-out walk, reserve catcher Tomoya Kakinuma doubled in two runs. Yasuda added a seventh-inning homer to complete the scoring.

Taneichi (2-1) allowed three hits and two walks while striking out three over seven innings. Frank Herrmann worked the eighth for the Marines, while Naoya Masuda earned his eighth save.

Giants’ Sanchez stops BayStars

Angel Sanchez (3-2) spun eight easy scoreless innings before allowing two runs in the ninth in the Yomiuri Giants’ 4-2 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium.

No-out singles in the second by a rejuvenated Hiroyuki Nakajima and Zelous Wheeler set the table for a three-run inning against BayStars lefty Shota Imanaga (2-2) .

Lefty Kota Nakagawa, who saved 16 games last season as the Giants’ closer before the acquisition of Rubby De La Rosa, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to record his first save.

Nishi goes distance to slay Dragons

Yuki Nishi (2-1), who since 2017 has had the worst average run support among any Japanese starting pitcher, threw five scoreless innings before suddenly presented with an eight-run lead, promptly allowed three.

The right-hander struck out seven over the distance and drove in a run with a squeeze in the Tigers’ 8-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Koshien Stadium.

Nishi: ‘A player’s got to play’

Pitcher Yuki Nishi was as they say, “as motivated as ever” on Saturday, three days after one of Japan’s scandal-filled weekly magazines published an account of his extramarital indulgences with a Tigers fan in Mie Prefecture while Japan was in a state of emergency, Kyodo News reported in Japanese.

“At this critical time, I became a nuisance,” he said in his postgame hero interview at Koshien Stadium. “I think I need to make it up through my play.”

The Tigers have one of the largest followings in Japanese baseball.

What dreams are made of

One year, former captain Takashi Toritani was punished for inviting a female fan to his room during spring training. The team criticized him for not upholding his responsibility “to give hopes and dreams to the fans.”

Former Tigers coach Tom O’Malley said of the incident, “I was in the next room. He sounded like he was busy giving at least one fan a whole night’s worth of hopes and dreams.”

Ogawa improves to 4-0 with win over Carp

Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa allowed two runs over six innings to earn his Central League-best fourth win as the Yakult Swallows beat the Hiroshima Carp 9-4 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Ogawa (4-0) scattered seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman while striking out four and singled in a run that briefly gave the Swallows a 2-1 lead in the second.

Yakult took the lead for good in the fifth. Tetsuto Yamada, back in the lineup for the first time in four days, doubled with one out in the fifth. Walks by Norichika Aoki and Munetaka Murakami, who scored twice and drove in three, loaded the bases.

Naoki Nishiura and Alcides Escobar followed with back-to-back RBI singles that put Yakult up 5-2.

Active roster moves 7/18/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/28

Central League

Activated

GiantsP53Yuhei Takanashi
BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto

Dectivated

GiantsIF37Akihiro Wakabayashi
BayStarsP15Shoichi Ino

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP21Yoshinao Kamata
BuffaloesP39Keisuke Kobayashi

Dectivated

EaglesP72Shun Ikeda
BuffaloesP30Kohei “K” Suzuki

NPB 2020 7-10 games and news

Hail, hail the gang’s all here

For the first time since Feb. 24, fans in Japan were able to see games between teams from Nippon Professional Baseball’s two top leagues as clubs from the Central and Pacific leagues were allowed to admit u to 5,000 fans to their games starting Friday.

One of the games, between the CL’s Yomiuri Giants and Yakult Swallows at Hotto Motto Field Kobe, was rained out, and the game at nearby Koshien Stadium was called after five innings.

The opening takes place as COVID-19 cases surge around Japan and in particularly in Tokyo. Tokyo set a record for new infections on Friday.

Japanese ball to an American-style beat

To prevent the spread of the virus, fans have been asked not to participate in organized cheering, chanting and singing, while musical instruments have been banned. But when you take the organized cheering away from Asian baseball you get a much more subdued atmosphere.

Instead of every at-bat being accompanied by its background music and rhythm section, the reduced crowds created a buzz that ebbed and flowed more in tune with action on the field.

Kuriyama brings Lions back

Veteran left-handed hitter Takumi Kuriyama belted a two-run, game-tying home run in the eighth and drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning that pushed the Seibu Lions to 7-6 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Kuriyama’s second home run of the season, off reliever Taiki Tojo, took Lions starter Zach Neal off the hook for the loss and preserving his streak of 12-straight winning decisions.

“One can’t be happier than this,” said the 36-year-old Kuriyama. “How the fans see us, their critical eye as well as their sympathy and understanding is essential.”

“I felt like all eyes were on me, and I felt the tension conveyed by everyone in the stands, it helped me buckle down.”

Tojo tried to go away with a first-pitch slider, but it drifted over the inner half of the plate and Kuriyama golfed it into the right field stands.

“I went up focused on hitting my pitch and not wasting the at-bat,” Kuriyama said.

Marines starter Ayumu Ishikawa seemed to struggle in the whipping wind in the first. A leadoff single by rookie Shohei Suzuki and a one-out walk set the table for Hotaka Yamakawa, who hammered a high fastball away and just got it over the fence in right for a three-run home run.

Neal got five groundballs in Lotte’s two-run first. The first two found holes, while the third resulted in a run scoring on a botched rundown. Brandon Laird became the first Marine to elevate the ball, with a sacrifice fly to the wall in left. Two more grounders ended the inning.

The Marines took the lead in the third when Martin walked and Laird reached on yet another groundball single. With one out, Neal tried to go inside to Seiya Inoue with a two-seam fastball but it hung up over the outside half of the plate and he reached the seats.

Yamakawa drew a leadoff walk in the fourth, and a nice stop by shortstop Yudai Fujioka allowed the Marines to get a force on Mori, who then stole second with one out. Kuriyama walked and a hit batsman loaded the bases. Rookie Seiji Kawagoe struck out on a borderline 3-2 pitch, but rookie Kakeru Kawanobe made amends for a bad throw that allowed the Marines’ first run to score by rifling a single to right.

With their lead cut to a run, Tatsuhiro Tamura opened the Marines fourth by working an eight-pitch walk. The Marines catcher advanced on a groundout and beat a good relay on Ogino’s single to left to make it a 6-4 game.

Right-hander Tetsu Miyagawa, Seibu’s top draft pick last autumn, worked around two walks in a scoreless seventh. New import Reed Garrett (2-0) struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth to earn the win, and Tatsushi Masuda worked a perfect ninth to collect his sixth save.

Ishikawa allowed four runs on three hits, three walks and two hit batsmen, while Neal surrendered six runs on four walks and six hits over six innings. Marines closer Naoya Masuda (0-1) walked two, hit a batter and gave up a single in the ninth and was tagged with the loss.

Rodriguez’s farewell bomb KO’s Fighters

Aderlin Rodriguez capped a two-out, ninth-inning rally with his fourth home run, a three-run shot that lifted the Orix Buffaloes to a 4-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

The walk-off “sayonara” home run was one of three on Friday. Fighters closer Ryo Akiyoshi retired the first two batters in the ninth before walking Adam Jones on seven pitches and rejuvenated left-handed slugger Takahiro Okada on eight.

After taking a slider for Ball 1, Rodriguez fouled off two low changeups from the side-armer but drilled the third on a line over the left field wall.

Christian Villanueva’s first home run as a Fighter, a two-run shot off right-hander Tsubasa Sakakibara, made it a 3-0 in the sixth.

Rodriguez, who saved a first-inning running with a leaping catch at first base, singled and scored in the eighth on a smash Villanueva was unable to handle at third. Lefty Naoki Miyanishi might have given the game away then, but for a diving catch in left by Kensuke Kondo, who started an inning-ending double play.

The bullpen wasted the best start of the season from Fighters ace Kohei Arihara, who surrendered two singles while striking out seven and walking one over seven scoreless innings.

‘Gita blast lifts Hawks past Eagles

Yuki Yanagita’s fourth home run in four games settled a tight pitchers’ duel when he led off the 10th inning by homering off new import J. T. Chargois (0-1) in the SoftBank Hawks’ 2-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Eagles starter Takahiro Norimoto had his splitter working to perfection and struck out nine. He and Hawks starter Nao Higashihama, who was able to pin-point his fastball, each allowed a run over seven innings. Other than an eighth-inning scrape that Rakuten’s Alan Busenitz barely escaped, neither bullpen looked in danger of giving up a run. That was until Yanagita crushed Chargois’ fourth pitch for his seventh home run of the season.

Submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi (2-0), who has started the season out of the bullpen after winning 12 games in the rotation as the 2019 PL rookie of the year, earned the win in relief.

Viciedo sayonara blast sinks Carp

Dayan Viciedo won it in the 10th inning with a walk-off home run to lift the Chunichi Dragons to a 3-2 home victory at Nagoya Dome over the Hiroshima Carp.

The two team’s Opening Day starters, Daichi Osera for the Carp and Yudai Ono for the Dragons, kept this game close through seven. The Carp opened the scoring on third-inning singles by Alejandro Mejia and Jose Pirela.

Journeyman Dragons outfielder Masataka Iryo drew a leadoff walk and scored the tying run in the fifth only for Carp infielder Ryosuke Kikuchi to take Ono deep in the sixth. Iryo, however, singled to open the eighth off journeyman reliever Yasunori Kikuchi and scored an unearned run to tie it on a Yohei Oshima sac fly.

The Dragons bullpen produced three-straight 1-2-3 innings, with Raidel Martinez working the 10th and earning the win when Viciedo homered off Geronimo Franzua to end it.

Tigers outlast BayStars in rain

Koji Chikamoto homered to open the Hanshin Tigers’ first and tie the game 1-1 and start a three-run inning in a 3-2 win over the DeNA BayStars in a game that was called after the top of the fourth due to rain.

Takayuki Kajitani homered to open the game, had three of DeNA’s four hits and scored both runs, but the Tigers offense in the first was enough to decide it at Koshien Stadium.

Kento Itohara followed with a triple and scored on a groundout before cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama homered. Justin Bour walked and Jerry Sands singled off DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki (1-0). Onuki got out of the inning after one of manager Alex Ramirez’s beloved intentional walks brought Koyo Aoyagi (2-1) up to bat and the Tigers pitcher struck out.

As usual, the cast on Pro Yakyu News found fault with Ramirez’s managing because of his employing a shift against Bour, who singled through the open left side of the infield to lead off the third.