We had two sayonara walk-off wins Saturday, including one where suicide squeezes resulted in one team’s fans wishing their manager might put some cyanide to good use.
Deniers 2, Tigers 0: At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA got its second straight complete game with Katsuki Azuma (7-2) striking out nine without a walk as he outpitched Masashi Ito (2-2), who allowed two runs over seven to take the tough loss that trimmed Hanshin’s Central League lead to a half game.
Taiki Sekine singled, stole a base and scored on a Keita Sano single in the first. He reached base three times, lined out and swiped two bags. So like his former teammate Seiya Hosokawa this year with the Dragons, Sekine is doing this year exactly what he’s done for years on DeNA’s Eastern League farm team.
Hawks 3, Buffaloes 2: At Koshien Stadium, both starting pitchers gave up two runs, Orix’s Taisuke Yamaoka gave away both in the first after a one-out single and two straight walks loaded the bases. Keita Nakagawa doubled in a run for Orix in the third off Nao Higashihama, and walked and scored the tying run off him in the sixth. Higashihama struck out the side in the seventh before leaving the game to Livan Moinelo, who struck out the side in the eighth.
Two more struck out in the ninth before Orix got its final base runner. Jacob Waguespack (3-4) allowed a leadoff infield single and a sacrifice before Akira Nakamura singled in the run to walk off the Buffaloes and increase SoftBank’s PL lead over Orix to a full game.
Marines 5, Fighters 4: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Nippon Ham might want to switch to decaf for a while after getting to much “El Coffee” on Saturday, although the way the Fighters finished this one some guys might have looked for something stronger.
Gregory Polanco brought in one run with a first-inning groundout, doubled and scored Lotte’s second on Koki Yamaguchi’s sixth home run, and tied the game 4-4 with his eighth homer of the year, in the sixth. Nippon Ham came from behind against C.C. Mercedes in a five-hit three-run second, and tacked on another run in the third when Kotaro Kiyomiya singled and scored on a Chusei Mannami double.
The Fighters offense then went into hibernation and probably woke up too soon in the ninth, when they put runners on second and third with no outs against Naoya Masuda. Daigo Kawakamibata doubled, and Taiga Egoshi reached when the Marines failed to get the lead runner on his obligatory sacrifice. Egoshi swiped second, but disaster then struck.
Lotte sniffed out a squeeze. Catcher Tatsuhiko Tamura called for a pitch well outside and then ran down Kawakamibata as Egoshi took third.
Not willing to leave well enough alone, the Fighters called for a second straight suicide squeeze, and Lotte saw it coming. Rinse and repeat. Kazunari Ishii bunted and missed again for the third strike, and Tamura ran down Egoshi for the third out.
Seiichiro Oshita, who left Orix as a second-chancer, reached on a one-out pinch-hit single off veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi (1-2), and Tamura added to his ninth-inning heroics with a single before Hisanori Yasuda brought home the winning run with a sac fly.
Carp 3, Giants 1: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Daichi Osera (3-5) struck out nine over seven scoreless innings, Shota Dobayashi homered for Hiroshima, Ryoma Nishikawa tripled in a run in the fourth and scored on a Shota Suekane single.
Dragons 3, Swallows 1: At Nagoya Dome, Humberto Mejia allowed a run in four outstanding innings in his Japan debut. Seiya Hosokawa doubled in Yohei Oshima off Yasuhiro Ogawa (3-7) in the first to tie it. Ogawa was not dominant as he sometimes can be but pitched aggressively. With one on and one out in the seventh, Ogawa tried to set up reserve catcher Kota Ishibashi with a first-pitch fastball, but it wasn’t quite good enough to keep him from barreling it up and just over the wall for his first career home run. Raidel Martinez worked the ninth for his 16th save.