Tag Archives: Jerry Sands

NPB 2020 Sept. 27

Other news

Togo impresses over 7

Yomiuri Giants rookie Shosei Togo (8-4) shut down the Chunichi Dragons for seven innings in a 5-1 win at Tokyo Dome on Sunday.

The 20-year-old right-hander, the Giants’ sixth pick in the 2018 draft, located his 150-kph (93.2 MPH) fastball that set the table for a nasty splitter and a good slider. He allowed four hits and a walk while striking out four.

Why call Togo “the Admiral?” Sunday’s members notes

The Dragons threatened in the first when Yohei Oshima rolled a tough pitch through the infield and Yota Kyoda smashed a high straight fastball for a single, but Togo bore down and took out the heart of the Chunichi order, Zolio Almonte, Dayan Viciedo and Shuhei Takahashi.

Seiya Matsubara tripled twice and scored three runs for the Giants, who peppered lefty Takahiro Matsuba (3-5). Matsubara opened the scoring in the first with an RBI triple off the top of the wall, and scored on a Hayato Sakamoto ground out.

With a runner on first and two outs in the fifth, the Dragons opted to walk Sakamoto intentionally rather than letting him hack at a 3-0 pitch from the lefty. Moving the runner to second proved costly, when cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto put a picture-perfect swing on a pitch away and drove it to right to make it 3-0.

Almonte and Viciedo combined to produce a run off Rubby De La Rosa in the ninth. Sakamoto doubled in the third, his 1,964th career hit.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Onuki wins 7th

Shinichi Onuki (7-4) allowed a run on three hits and a walk over 6-2/3 innings as the DeNA BayStars beat the Hiroshima Carp 3-1 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Takayuki Kajitani got the BayStars on the board in the first, leading off against Yuta Nakamura (0-2) with his 15th home run. Neftali Soto then doubled and scored on a ground out.

In the second, Kajitani saved a run with a diving catch in the gap, causing manager Alex Ramirez to say the play brought back memories — of center fielders diving to grab balls because he had no range in left field.

Onuki left after allowing Ryuhei Matsuyama’s two-out home run in the seventh, but the DeNA bullpen then set down the last seven hitters. Spencer Patton dispatched the bottom of the order 1-2-3 in the eighth, and Kazuki Mishima fanned two in a 1-2-3 ninth against the top of the order to record his 11th save.

Haraguchi, Sands bury Swallows

Fumihito Haraguchi homered, singled, walked, scored two runs and drove in three, while Jerry Sands had three hits and made a run-saving catch in the outfield as the Hanshin Tigers beat the Yakults Swallows 9-3 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Sands singled in the game’s opening run off rookie Daiki Yoshida (1-5) after Koji Chikamoto opened the game with a single and stole second.

Haraguchi homered to open the second to tie it, and the Tigers took the lead in the third. The Swallows hit Tigers starter Takumi Aoyama (6-2) in the fourth, but failed to tie it thanks to two defensive gems.

Munetaka Murakami led off with a drive to the wall in center that Chikamoto somehow caught for the first out. Tomotaka Sakaguchi followed with a double and was poised to score on a sinking liner to left, but Sands was able to make a diving catch and hold onto the ball for the third out.

Chikamoto had four hits for the Tigers and drove in three.

No coaching in the press box–Sunday’s members notes

Shadow ball

Normal programming was restored at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, where the SoftBank Hawks’ normal program is the “Twilight Zone,” in particular, the episode “Shadow Play.

On Sunday the three-time defending Japan Series champs lost 8-4 to the Lotte Marines, who now lead their season series 10-4-1. Last year, the Marines went 16-8-1 against manager Tadahito Iguchi’s old team.

Leonys Martin became the sixth player in Pacific League history to walk five times in a game. The Japan record is held by Hall of Famer Hiromitsu Ochiai. He scored twice. Seiya Inoue’s two RBI doubles drove in four of the Marines’ first seven runs, all charged to Hawks starter Akira Niho (4-5) who didn’t finish the second inning.

Former Hawk Shuhei Fukuda had four hits and drove in three runs for the hosts, while another free agent acquisition, pitcher Manabu Mima (8-2) won despite allowing four runs over five innings.

Lions sweep Eagles

Wataru Matsumoto (4-3) scattered four walks and four hits to allow two runs over seven innings, and Ernesto Mejia doubled twice and drove in two runs for the Seibu Lions in a 6-2 win over the Rakuten Eagles to complete a three-game sweep at MetLife Dome.

Mejia, who was hit by a pitch in the first, doubled in both runs in the Lions’ two-run second. He doubled again in the seventh to set up an insurance run.

Both Eagles runs came on solo homers, Stefen Romero’s 20th — his 89th in four Japan season — and the first of rookie Hiroto Kobukata’s career.

Fighters pay Buffaloes’ roaming charges

Teams virtually always take batting practice before the game, but the Orix Buffaloes kept going after home plate umpire Yuta Sudo shouted “play ball.,” in a 20-hit 12-8 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Four different Buffaloes hitters recorded a “modasho,” and Steven Moya continued to hit balls over the wall with his fourth homer in five games, a two-run shot that broke a 4-4 third-inning tie.

Adam Jones, who had been deactivated due to a stiff lower back, returned to the Orix lineup for the first time since Sept. 15. He went 1-for-4 with a first-inning sacrifice fly.

Kotaro Kiyomiya, whose three-run pinch-hit double tied Saturday’s game in the ninth, allowing Nippon Ham to win in extra innings, came off the bench in the ninth and hit a two-run pinch-hit home run.

Fighters rookie Kosei Yoshida, the epic hero of 2018’s national high school championship, started and allowed four runs in 1-1/3 innings.

Active roster moves 9/27/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/7

Central League

Activated

CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa

Dectivated

GiantsP17Kan Otake
CarpOF49Yuya Shozui

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP13Akira Niho
EaglesC65Kengo Horiuchi
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura
FightersP18Kosei Yoshida
BuffaloesOF10Adam Jones

Dectivated

LionsP49Sean Nolin
HawksP14Ren Kajiya
EaglesC2Hikaru Ota
MarinesC39Yuta Yoshida
FightersP40Suguru Fukuda
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Starting pitchers for Sept. 28, 2020

Central League

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

Allen Kuri (4-5, 4.46) vs Masaya Kyoyama (1-0, 6.55)

NPB 2020 Sept. 11

Moore, Despaigne lead Hawks over Lions

Matt Moore (2-1) overcame one costly mistake to allow two runs over seven innings and Alfredo Despaigne, getting a rare start in the outfield, had three hits including a tie-breaking home run in the SoftBank Hawks’ 4-2 win over the Seibu Lions on Friday.

Lions starter Zach Neal (3-5) was victimized by good swings and good footspeed in the Hawks’ two-run second at Fukuoka’s Casa de Pepe. Takuya Kai lined a leadoff double to center. Ukyo Shuto brought him home from third with one out with a well-hit single. Shuto stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Lions tied it in the third on a Corey Spangenberg infield single and a two-out Ernesto Mejia home run. Moore missed up with a 1-2 changeup and Mejia drove it over the short fence in left for his ninth home run in his 90th at-bat this season. Moore was visibly displeased and might have been penalized at Wimbledon had lip readers called in to report him to the match officials.

With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the inning, the broadcasters quoted Lions pitching coach Fumiya Nishiguchi about Neal pitching well despite the two runs allowed. Within seconds, however. Neal caught the bad-pitch bug. The right-hander hung a changeup to Alfredo Despaigne that the Cuban slugger miss-hit but lofted over the fence in left.

Moore struck out nine and walked two, while allowing three hits. Other than a walk to Hotaka Yamakawa, Spangenberg, who walked in the first, and Mejia, who doubled in the second, were the only Lions to reach base against the lefty.

Neal struck out six, while allowing seven hits over seven innings, and would have been a winner with the stuff he brought against a slightly less-potent team.

Livan Moinelo and Yuito Mori each worked a scoreless inning of relief with Mori earning his 20th save.

Nakamura outduels Yamaoka

Lotte Marines lefty Toshiya Nakamura (2-2) took a no-hitter into the eighth, and his teammates scored two unearned runs off the Orix Buffaloes Opening Day starter, Taisuke Yamaoka, in a 2-0 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The Marines managed just three hits against Yamaoka (0-3). Shohei Kato singled to open the Marines’ sixth for their first hit. An error put two on with no outs. Kato stole third, but Yamaoka struck out the next two batters and got ahead of Shogo Nakamura 1-2. The next pitch floated up in the zone and Nakamura did what most Japanese hitters are trained to do, hammer it up the middle. The ball got through the infield to make it 1-0, and Katsuya Kakunaka doubled in another run.

Ryoichi Adachi broke up Toshiya Nakamura’s no-hit bid with a leadoff double in the eighth, and Lotte skipper Tadahito Iguchi came and got his starter. Newly acquired right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura retired the next three batters, and closer Naoya Masuda worked a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 23rd save.

Mogi knocks out Fighters in 10th

Eigoro Mogi’s two-run 10th-inning home run overturned a one-run deficit and lifted the Rakuten Eagles to a 5-4 walk-off win over the Nippon Ham Fighters in a rain-soaked game at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Eagles closer Alan Busenitz retired only one of the four batters he faced—on a sacrifice bunt–as the Fighters tied it in the ninth, but right-hander Tomohito Sakai retired both batters he faced to keep it tied. The visitors made it 4-3 in the 10th after a 30-minute rain delay.

Hideto Asamura opened the 10th with a single and Eagles manager Hajime Miki played for a tie by having hard-hitting Hiroaki Shimauchi sacrifice. Mogi, however, would have none of it.

Afterward, Mogi read the home run hitters’ post-game hero interview script to perfection.

“I have good hitters coming up behind me so I was just trying to get on base,” Mogi said, with some measure of honesty since Stefen Romero was on deck, although guys say that when anyone but the pitcher is following them.

Hara sets Giants managing record

Hayato Sakamoto’s eighth-inning home run broke a 1-1 tie as Tatsunori Hara earned his franchise-best 1,067th victory as Yomiuri Giants manager in a 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

Hara first managed the Giants in 2002 and is in his third stint with the team after quitting twice. He had been tied for the franchise lead with Tetsuharu Kawakami, who managed 1,866 games. Friday’s game was Hara’s 1,927th. In addition to being one of the club’s first superstars as a hard-hitting first baseman, Kawakami managed the Giants to nine-straight Japan Series championships from 1965 to 1973.

The game marked right-hander Albert Suarez’s return from exile with the Swallows’ farm team in Toda, Saitama Prefecture. Suarez had been deactivated after walking seven betters over six scoreless innings on July 7 to “regain his form.” On the farm, he had an ERA over 10.00 so it is unclear whether he accomplished that.

At Tokyo Dome, he allowed a run over six innings on five hits and a walk. Giants rookie Shosei Togo worked seven innings and allowed a solo home run to Tetsuto Yamada.

Giants-Swallows highlights.

Nishi, Sands slaughter Carp

Yuki Nishi (6-3) struck out nine without a walk in a four-hit shutout, and Jerry Sands drove in a pair of runs for the Hanshin Tigers in their 4-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium.

Sands went 3-for-4 to push his batting average above .300. He singled in Koji Chikamoto in the first to open the scoring. Chikamoto doubled in the third, stole third and came home on catcher Shogo Sakakura’s throwing error. Sands’ 18th home run made it 3-0 in the sixth.

Dragons squeak past BayStars

Cuban closer Raidel Martinez overcame a ninth-inning leadoff homer and two singles to hold the DeNA BayStars to one run and seal his 11th save in the Chunichi Dragons’ 3-2 win at Yokohama Stadium.

Neftali Soto, who has led the Central League in home runs in each of his two seasons in Japan, went after Martinez’s first pitch and launched his 13th home run. But the right-hander struck out two of the last three batters he faced to end it.

Active roster moves 9/11/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/21

Central League

Activated

TigersP36Masumi Hamachi
TigersP56Keisuke Kobayashi
TigersP64Kentaro Kuwahara
CarpP28Hiroki Tokoda
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura
SwallowsP43Albert Suarez
SwallowsIF10Takahiro Araki

Dectivated

TigersP14Atsushi Nomi
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersP61Atsushi Mochizuki
CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez
SwallowsP47Keiji Takahashi
SwallowsIF5Shingo Kawabata

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP36Sho Ito
LionsOF73Wataru Takagi
EaglesP60Ryota Ishibashi
EaglesIF66Itsuki Murabayashi
FightersP18Kosei Yoshida
BuffaloesOF25Ryo Nishimura

Dectivated

LionsP25Katsunori Hirai
LionsOF65Daisuke Togawa
EaglesIF24Fumiya Kurokawa
FightersC60Takuya Kori
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu
BuffaloesOF41Kodai Sano

Starting pitchers for Sept. 12, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahiro Shiomi (4-5, 4.60) vs Kohei Arihara (4-6, 3.43)

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

Manabu Mima (6-2, 4.84) vs Andrew Albers (3-5, 3.62)

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

Shota Takeda (1-0, 2.31) vs Sean Nolin (1-0, 3.75)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (3-0, 3.04) vs Daiki Yoshida (1-4, 4.99)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-4, 4.12) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-3, 2.68)

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

Takumi Akiyama (4-1, 3.29) vs Atsushi Endo (2-2, 3.90)

NPB 2020 SEPT. 10

Enter the Sands man

Jerry Sands’ 17th home run of the season overturned a one-run seventh-inning deficit and Robert Suarez recorded a four-out save as the Hanshin Tigers beat the DeNA BayStars 8-7 at Yokohama Stadium on Thursday.

Sands, who lead South Korea’s KBO in RBIs last season, had three for the game, with one out and a man on in the seventh, he drove the first pitch he saw from big right-hander Yuki Kuniyoshi (3-3) for his third home run in six games.

The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third against Michael Peoples, who surrendered a leadoff single to Tigers starting pitcher Yukiya Saito. Tigers captain Kento Itohara’s infield single brought one run in, and Sands’ sac fly made it 2-0.

The BayStars tied it in the home half when they loaded the bases with no outs following a leadoff single by the No. 9 hitter, catcher Yasutaka Tobashira. Saito struck out Neftali Soto, the two-time defending Central League home run king, with no outs and the bags juiced, but a flare single and a sac fly tied it.

Saito was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the third, and Naomasa Yokawa delivered a three-run homer, only for the hosts to get two back on solo homers in the home half. Tobashira, who homered in the fourth, singled with a man on in the sixth to set the table for a three-run outburst against Joe Gunkel (1-2).

Soto’s two-run single put the BayStars up for the first time, but Gunkel earned the win after Sands turned things around in the seventh.

With one on and two out in the eighth, Suarez was called in to face Soto, and retired all four batters he faced to earn his 14th save.

Morishita earns 6th win

Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (6-2) allowed a run over seven innings and Ryosuke Kikuchi broke up a tie game with an RBI double in the Hiroshima Carp’s 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Mazda Stadium.

Morishita allowed five hits and a walk while walking one and striking out seven. The Swallows’ run came on Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s game-tying leadoff homer in the sixth.

“He has a good variety of pitchers, allowing him to navigate through the opposing batting order,” Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu said. “It’s great for a first-year pitcher to see so many batters, because I got the sense he was reading swings as he pitched.”

Seiya Suzuki doubled and scored on a Hisayoshi Chono single against Swallows lefty Keiji Takahashi in the fourth. Kikuchi broke the tie against Scott McGough (3-1) after Minoru Omori opened the inning with a leadoff pinch-hit double.

Geronimo Franzua worked the ninth to record his eighth save.

Dragons tie Giants, put Hara on hold

Naoki Yoshikawa tripled in two runs to eighth-inning runs for the Yomiuri Giants, and reliever Kota Nakagawa surrendered just one run after the Chunichi Dragons loaded the bases with one out in the eighth in their 2-2 10-inning tie at Nagoya Dome.

The tie prevented Giants manager Tatsunori Hara from earning his 1,067th career win that would move him out of a tie for the most in franchise history with Tetsuharu Kawakami, who managed the Giants to nine-straight Japan Series titles from 1965 to 1973.

Hara had praise for the left-hander who issued two one-out walks to load the bases, but allowed only one run to score on a ground out.

“It was amazing he kept them from doing more, considering he walked two and must have been questioning his command. Holding them to one run was really something,” Hara said.

First-year Giants import Angel Sanchez allowed a run over seven innings. Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth, while Yuhei Takanashi shut the Dragons down in the 10th, when the game was called a tie.

NOTE: The story originally said Hara was second in managing wins with the Giants. Former Giants manager Shigeru Mizuhara had nearly 500 more wins in his career, but only 881 of those came with the Giants.

Yanagita pours it on Eagles

Yuki Yanagita brought the SoftBank Hawks from behind with a three-run third-inning home run, and added another for good measure in a 4-2 win over the Rakuten Eagles that was twice delayed by rain at Sendai’s Raktuen Seimei Park Miyagi.

Trailing 2-0 to lefty Yuki Matsui in the third inning, a walk by Keizo Kawashima and an Akira Nakamura single brought Yanagita to the plate with one out and runners on the corners. Matsui missed in the heart of the zone with a decent 1-0 fastball and Yangita drove it out to left for an opposite field home run, his 21st of the season.

The game, which started 37 minutes late, was suspended again for 55 minutes with one out and two on in the bottom of the seventh.

Rookie Masami Iwami, who had opened the scoring with his first career home run faced lefty Livan Moinelo and grounded into a double play. The 26-year-old Iwami, the Eagles’ second pick in the 2017 draft, took SoftBank starter Nao Higashihama deep to lead off the second.

With two outs in the inning, rookie shortstop Hiroto Kobukata doubled and scored on a Daichi Suzuki single. Higashihama, who allowed four runners to reach in the first but no runs, left after five, having allowed six hits and four walks.

Former San Diego Padres right-hander Kazuhisa Makita took the mound for the Eagles in the eighth, and with two outs, surrendered Yanagita’s second home run.

Jones hits’ Japan’s magic milestone

Although he’s only played a few months here, the Orix Buffaloes happily celebrated Adam Jones’ reaching Japan’s iconic 2,000-hit milestone in their 12-4 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.

Jones entered the game with 1,939 career major league hits and 59 in the Pacific League for the Buffaloes. His second hit of the game, an RBI double was his 2,000th, which is in Japan — with it’s shorter seasons — what 3,000 is in the majors.

Only one imported player has ever had 2,000 hits in Japan, DeNA BayStars manager Alex Ramirez. Second on that list is Tuffy Rhodes with 1,792.

Two nights after they were one-hit, the Buffaloes cranked out 16 hits in the one-sided win. Corey Spangenberg hit his 10th home run for the Lions. The first-year import also hit his Japan-best 21st double. Spangenberg also leads both leagues with six triples.

Nakata hits 250th HR in Fighters’ win

Sho Nakata became the 64th player to reach 250 home runs in Japan when he capped a three-run first inning with his 24th of the season in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 5-3 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Marines right-hander Daiki Iwashita (4-5) allowed four runs over six innings to take the loss. He gave up five hits and a walk while striking out eight.

Former Cleveland Indians farmhand Toru Murata (1-1) struck out two over two perfect innings of relief to earn his first win in two years. Nick Martinez struck out three and walked two in a scoreless ninth to earn his first save in Japan. His only other save came with the Single-A Hickory Crawdads in 2012.

Active roster moves 9/10/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/20

Central League

Activated

TigersP48Yukiya Saito
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma
SwallowsC32Naoki Matsumoto

Dectivated

TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
CarpIF45Tatsuki Kuwahara
SwallowsP68Hirofumi Yamanaka
SwallowsC52Yuhei Nakamura

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP16Nao Higashihama
HawksP49Yuto Furuya
MarinesC53Naoya Emura
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu

Dectivated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksP48Yuta Watanabe
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura

Starting pitchers for Sept. 11, 2020

Pacific League

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

Ryota Ishibashi (1-3, 7.71) vs Kosei Yoshida (-)

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

Toshiya Nakamura (1-2, 4.50) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2, 4.15)

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

Matt Moore (1-1, 2.61) vs Zach Neal (3-4, 4.76)

Central League

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

Shosei Togo (7-3, 2.50) vs Albert Suarez (2-0, 0.53)

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

Shoichi Ino (5-3, 3.08) vs Yuya Yanagi (2-4, 3.30)

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

Yuki Nishi (5-3, 2.57) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-4, 6.04)

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)

NPB 2020 Sept. 4

Mori, Yamakawa get Neal a win

Zach Neal (3-4) got the help he needed to secure his first win since July 17 as he allowed 10 base runners but just two runs over 5-1/3 innings in the Seibu Lions’ 6-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters.

The Lions were handed the early lead when Corey Spangenberg’s two-out bases-loaded grounder was misplayed. First baseman Kotaro Kiyomiya retreated to first instead of grabbing it and flipping to his pitcher. Instead of making the third out, Spangenberg was credited with an RBI infield single.

Tomoya Mori made it 3-0 in the second, hitting his sixth homer with Sosuke Genda on base. Sho Nakata hit his Japan-best 23rd homer in the fourth and Ryo Watanabe tripled and scored on a Christian Villanueva infield single in the sixth to make it a one-run game. With one on and one out, rookie Tetsu Miyagawa preserved the lead. Kaima Taira, Reed Garrett and Tatsushi Masuda finished up for Seibu.

Fighters starter Toshihiro Sugiura retired 12 straight after Mori’s home run, and stranded two runners in the sixth before making his exit.

Hotaka Yamakawa, trailing Nakata in the race for his third-straight PL home run crown, made it 6-2 in the seventh with his 20th, a three-run shot off right-hander Kazutomo Iguchi.

Asamura carries Eagles over Buffaloes

Hideto Asamura homered twice and the player the Rakuten Eagles see as his future heir at second base, Fumiya Kurokawa, drove in a game-tying run in his first career plate appearance in a 4-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2), Orix’s Opening Day starter, allowed four runs over seven innings. The right-hander surrendered three solo home runs, but allowed just a run in the second, when loaded the bases with no outs. His inning was put in jeopardy when right fielder Yuya Oda misplayed a ball that put two men in scoring position. But after a walk, Yamaoka regrouped and allowed only a sacrifice fly on a good swing from Kurokawa, the Eagles’ second draft pick last year.

The Buffaloes broke the ice when Masataka Yoshida extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a two-out RBI single off Takahiro Norimoto.

Norimoto loaded the bases in the top of the third, allowing the go-ahead run on a one-out bases-loaded sacrifice fly. The Eagles ace was pulled after the third having thrown 48 pitches due, according to Pro Yakyu News analyst Hiroki Nomura, to “a cut on his pitching hand.”

Asamura tied it in the third with his 19th homer, and catcher Yuichi Adachi put the hosts up with a homer in the fifth. After the Buffs tied it in the top of the sixth, Asamura went deep again in the home half to make it 4-3.

Six Rakuten relievers finished up. Alan Busenitz pitched out of a two-out, two-on jam to earn his ninth save.

Ishikawa pitches Marines past Hawks

Ayumu Ishikawa (6-2) allowed two runs over seven innings and the Lotte Marines got to the SoftBank Hawks bullpen as they overcame two Yurisbel Gracial home runs in a 4-3 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Ishikawa allowed three hits and a walk while striking out four, and was on the losing end against Hawks southpaw Matt Moore, who battled his command for 5-2/3 innings. The first-year-import scattered five hits and three walks, and got a big play to end the Marines’ fifth from first baseman Akira Nakamura and preserve a 2-0 lead.

Yugo Bando (2-2) got the Hawks out of the sixth with a 2-1 lead but surrendered three runs in the seventh to take the loss. He was followed to the mound by Yuta Watanabe, who made his first team debut two weeks shy of his 29th birthday and worked a 1-2-3 eighth.

Frank Herrmann worked a scoreless eighth with a gift double play when the Hawks bunted into a twin killing with a runner on second. Closer Naoya Masuda surrendered Gracial’s second homer in the ninth en route to his 15th save.

Takahashi homer breaks tie in Dragons’ win

Shuhei Takahashi’s fourth homer proved to be the decisive blow, breaking a 2-2 tie in the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-2 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Zoilo Almonte tied it 2-2 with his third hit of the game, a two-out two-run fifth-inning double. Dayan Viciedo singled to open the Dragons’ sixth and scored on Takahashi’s fourth homer, off Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-4).

Katsuki Matayoshi (1-0) earned the win for two scoreless innings of relief, and three scoreless innings from Daisuke Sobue, Hiroto Fuku and Raidel Martinez, who earned his 10th save, wrapped it up.

The Swallows got on the board on Norichika Aoki’s 12th home run off starter Yuya Yanagi and made it 2-0 in the fourth when Yasutaka Shiomi doubled with two outs and scored on an Alcides Escobar single.

Tigers’ Nishi, Suarez hold off Giants

Starter Yuki Nishi (5-3) and closer Robert Suarez held off the Yomiuri Giants in a 5-4 win at Koshien Stadium after Jerry Sands homered for the third time in four games.

Yusuke Oyama homered and Justin Bour doubled and scored on a safety squeeze by pitcher Yuki Nishi in the second off rookie Shosei Togo (7-3). Jerry Sands hit his 15th home run, driving in two in Hanshin’s three-run sixth.

Nishi allowed four runs, three earned, over 7-2/3 innings. With two on and two out, closer Robert Suarez was brought on to face Yoshihiro Maru, who doubled in the Giants first run of the game in the seventh. Suarez struck him out swinging at a 159 kph (98.8 mph) fastball on his seventh pitch. He then worked a 1-2-3 ninth, wrapping up his 13th save when pinch-hitter Zelous Wheeler flied out to the warning track.

Nishi struck out nine and walked one while allowing seven hits in his 123-pitch outing. Togo allowed five runs in 5-2/3 innings.

Kikuchi powers Carp comeback

Ryosuke Kikuchi went 5-for-6 with two doubles, two runs and three RBIs to help power the Hiroshima Carp, who overcame two large deficits to salvage a 12-12 10-inning tie with the DeNA BayStars at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Kikuchi singled in two runs with two outs in the ninth as Kazuki Mishima blew a two-run save for the visitors, who led 5-0 after three 9-5 after the top of the sixth.

A battle between in-form right-handers Shoichi Ino and Carp rookie Masato Morishita devolved into a slug fest as each pitcher allowed five runs while neither made it through four innings.

Neftali Soto doubled and homered and drove in four runs for the BayStars, while Carp closer Geronimo Franzua and BayStars reliever Edwin Escobar each put up a zero in the 10th to ensure a tie.

Active roster moves 9/4/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/14

Central League

Activated

TigersIF33Kento Itohara

Dectivated

TigersC39Kenya Nagasaka
CarpP42Kris Johnson

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP29Ryuya Ogawa
HawksP48Yuta Watanabe
EaglesIF24Fumiya Kurokawa
BuffaloesP14Kazumasa Yoshida
BuffaloesC62Katsuki Yamazaki

Dectivated

LionsP19Hiromasa Saito
HawksP13Akira Niho
EaglesOF51Yuya Ogo
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui
BuffaloesC33Masato Matsui

Starting pitchers for Sept. 4, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kohei Arihara (3-6, 3.56) vs Sean Nolin (1-0, 4.50)

Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahiro Shiomi (3-5, 4.53) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (2-3, 4.38)

Hawks vs Marines: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shota Takeda (1-0, 1.29) vs Manabu Mima (5-2, 4.95)

Central League

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

Daiki Yoshida (1-4, 5.50) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-3, 3.08)

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

Shintaro Fujinami (1-4, 4.26) vs Nobutaka Imamura (2-0, 4.02)

Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Daichi Osera (5-3, 3.45) vs Shinichi Onuki (5-2, 2.22)

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)