Tag Archives: Jerry Sands

NPB 2020 Nov. 1

Sunday’s games

Other news

Lions stop streaking Hawks

Wataru Matsumoto (6-6) and four relievers held the SoftBank Hawks to a run on hour hits and no walks in the Seibu Lions’ 3-1 Pacific League win at MetLife Dome on Sunday to move to within 1-1/2 games of the second-place Lotte Marines, who came from behind to tie the Eagles 3-3.

Shunsuke Kasaya (4-4) walked four and hit one, and three of those five free passes scored as the Hawks saw their six-game win streak end. The Hawks jumped out to 1-0 lead after Taisei Makihara’s leadoff double.

Takumi Kurihara singled in the tying run in the first for the Lions and contributed to Seibu’s third-inning go-ahead run with his second single. Takeya Nakamura drove in Seibu’s final runs, with a hard-hit ball the Hawks did well to get an out on and a double.

Marines come back to tie Eagles

The Lotte Marines’ Ikuhiro Kiyota hit a two-run first-inning home run and singled in the seventh to set up the tying run and complete the scoring in a 3-3 10-inning tie against the fourth-place Rakuten Eagles at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Kazuhisa Makita took over for the Eagles in the seventh with one out and two on. He walked Seiya Inoue to load the bases and surrendered Hisanori Yasuda’s game-tying single before pitching out of trouble.

Yuki Matsui took the mound in the ninth for the Eagles and prevented a loss by throwing two scoreless innings.

Nomura, Arihihara beat Buffaloes

Kohei Arihara (8-9) allowed a run in five innings and Yuki James Nomura drove in four runs with a single and a triple to pace the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 7-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome.

Twenty-one-year-old Orix starter Hitomi Honda (0-1) gave up seven runs, three earned, in four innings in his pro debut.

BayStars win 2nd virus test

For the second straight day, the DeNA BayStars threw open the doors to Yokohama Stadium as 24,537 on Friday and 27,850 on Saturday became the first normal-sized crowds to watch a sporting event in Japan since February. Although asked to refrain from cheering and chanting, the home fans got to witness their team come from behind in a 6-5 walk-off win over the Hanshin Tigers.

The stadium is scheduled to be the main venue for softball and baseball when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics start in July 2021.

Just think. The rest of the world can put 2020 behind them when January arrives, but Tokyo will still be advertising “Tokyo 2020” on banners all over the metropolis through much of 2021 to remind of this shit storm of a year—at least until the whole thing is canceled and those banners go the way of the money wasted to secure this fiasco in the first place.

In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, in which people were crammed together to test the effectiveness of removing social distance, the Tigers showed that they could load the bases and not pose a threat to the BayStars, juicing the bags in the fifth, eighth and ninth without a run to show for it.

Otherwise, Neftali Soto, who likely won’t win a third straight CL home run title, hit his 23rd and 24th, closer Kazuki Mishima (2-1) earned the win for the hosts and Takayuki Kajitani singled in the game-winner off Jon Edwards (0-1).

Jerry Sands doubled twice and drove in a run for the Tigers, and Jefry Marte singled in a run in the Tigers’ four-run seventh.

Giants scrape past Swallows

Seishu Hatake (4-4) threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout and Albert Suarez (4-4) allowed an unearned run in five innings to take the loss in the Yomiuri Giants’ 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

Giants-Swallows highlights

Get the rookie trophy ready for Morishita

Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (10-3) pitched out of a couple of tight spots to go eight innings in the Hiroshima Carp’s 3-0 win at Nagoya Dome over the Chunichi Dragons. Geronimo Franzua finished up for his 18th save.

Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi (5-7) allowed three runs, two earned, while striking out 11 over 6-2/3 innings to take the loss.

Active roster moves 11/1/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/11

Central League

Activated

GiantsP62Kai Yokogawa
GiantsIF93Dai Yuasa
GiantsOF2Yang Dai-kang
BayStarsP12Kousuke Sakaguchi
BayStarsP93Koh Nakagawa
BayStarsC50Yuudai Yamamoto
SwallowsP15Yuma Oshita
SwallowsC30Akihisa Nishida
SwallowsIF0Ryota Fujii
SwallowsOF50Tsuyoshi Ueda

Dectivated

GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano
GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki
GiantsIF98Estamy Urena
BayStarsP58Yuta Muto
BayStarsP92Yuki Kuniyoshi
BayStarsC36Shuto Takajo
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga
SwallowsIF58Hideki Nagaoka
SwallowsIF60Ryusei Takeoka

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP50Shunta Nakatsuka
HawksP67Shunsuke Kasaya
BuffaloesP46Hitomi Honda

Dectivated

LionsP21Ken Togame
FightersP17Hiroshi Urano
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Starting pitchers for Nov. 1, 2020

Pacific League

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

Daiki Enokida (0-1, 7.13) vs Tsubasa Nabatame (0-0, 27.00)

NPB 2020 Oct. 31

Saturday’s games

Other news

Futaki, Marines get over hump

Kota Futaki (8-3) had one hiccup in his seven-inning stint, Stefen Romero’s ice-breaking three-run fourth-inning home run, but allowed nothing else as the Lotte Marines snapped a four-game losing streak to beat the Rakuten Eagles 6-3 at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium on Saturday.

The win gave the second-place Marines a two-game lead in the fight for the Pacific League’s final playoff spot over the Seibu Lions, who were busted up 11-2 by the SoftBank Hawks. The Eagles, in fourth, are another half-game further back.

Futaki allowed only one base runner before the fourth and retired the last 10 batters he faced after hanging a 2-2 pitch that Romero blasted into the left-field stands for his 24th home run.

Eagles starter Ryota Ishibashi (1-6) allowed four runs over 5-1/3 innings. D.J. Johnson got Rakuten out of the five run inning, retiring all five batters he faced, while J.T. Chargois also stamped his initials on the proceedings in a scoreless ninth.

HIrokazu Sawamura, the loser on Friday, worked a scoreless eighth for the Marines, while Naoya Masuda recorded 30 saves for the first time in seven years.

Hawks tattoo Lions

Shuta Ishikawa (10-3) allowed a run over six innings, and Kenji Akashi doubled twice, tripled, singled scored three runs and drove in four in the SoftBank Hawks’ 11-2 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome.

Seibu’s Ernesto Mejia enlivened the game in the seventh inning by scoring after hitting his first triple in six years.

Kawano ends win drought

Nippon Ham Fighters rookie Ryosei Kawano (3-4) allowed a run over six innings in a 6-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes and southpaw Andrew Albers (4-8) at Sapporo Dome. Kawano, who hadn’t won since August, gave up three singles. The lefty struck out three without issuing a walk.

Okamoto powers Sugano to victory

Kazuma Okamoto hit his Central League-leading 29th home run, a three-run shot that bumped his league-best RBI total to 89 as ace Tomoyuki Sugano (14-2) allowed a run over five innings despite giving up five hits, walking two and hitting two in the 6-4 win at Tokyo Dome.

Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth for his 17th save.

Giants-Swallows highlights

Yokawa bombs Yokohama

Naomasa Yokawa gave the Hanshin Tigers the early lead with a first-inning grand slam and added a solo shot in a 13-5 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium, although his home runs might not have been as memorable as two of the three hit by the BayStars.

Jose Lopez’s fourth-inning solo shot off Takumi Akiyama (10-3) was his 11th of the season and was his 1,000th hit in Japan. He is the 14th imported player to reach the milestone and only the third player to reach that figure in both NPB and MLB. The other two are Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui.

Lopez is the 14th import to reach 1,000 hits in Japan and the fourth Venezuelan after Alex Ramirez, Bobby Marcano and Alex Cabrera.

Tyler Austin reached 20 homers in the 61st game of his debut season, while Yamato Maeda took former teammate, retiring Tigers reliever Kyuji Fujikawa out in the ninth for two runs.

Jefry Marte and Jerry Sands also helped power the Hanshin onslaught. Marte went 2-for-2 with two runs and three walks, while Sands went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs.

NameGHlast year
Alex Ramirez1,7442,0172013
Tuffy Rhodes1,6741,7922009
LeRon Lee1,3151,5791987
Leon Lee1,2561,4361987
Bobby Marcano2,5991,4181985
Boomer Wells1,1481,4131992
Alex Cabrera1,2391,3682012
Wally Yonamine1,2191,3371962
Jose Fernandez1,2531,2862013
Robert Rose2,0371,2752000
John Sipin1,8891,1241980
Chico Barbon2,5981,1231965
Matt Murton8321,0202015
Jose Lopez9891,0002020*
Wladimir Balentien1,0819912020*
Japan’s 1,000-hit foreign imports through Oct. 31, 2020 and the next guy

Note: This table has been updated. It originally omitted Wally Yonamine, Chico Barbon and Matt Murton.

Aizawa, Carp get ‘lucky’

Tsubasa Aizawa’s three-run eighth-inning double brought the Hiroshima Carp from behind against a lefty whose last name means luck in Japanese, Hiroto Fuku (5-5) in a 9-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Nagoya Dome.

Active roster moves 10/31/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/10

Central League

Activated

DragonsP59Takumi Yamamoto

Dectivated

BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama
DragonsP25Yu Sato
DragonsIF55Nobumasa Fukuda
SwallowsP91Hiroaki Saiuchi

Pacific League

Activated

LionsIF0Daichi Mizuguchi
FightersP17Hiroshi Urano
FightersP31Toru Murata
FightersP63Ryuji Kitaura

Dectivated

LionsIF3Hotaka Yamakawa
FightersP25Naoki Miyanishi
FightersP27Nick Martinez
BuffaloesP19Taisuke Yamaoka

Starting pitchers for Nov. 1, 2020

Pacific League

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

Kohei Arihara (7-9, 3.52) vs Hitomi Honda (-)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Wataru Matsumoto (5-6, 4.58) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (4-3, 2.60)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Daiki Iwashita (6-7, 4.20) vs Ryota Takinaka (2-1, 2.97)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Seishu Hatake (3-4, 3.52) vs Albert Suarez (4-3, 2.62)

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

Kosuke Sakaguchi (0-2, 11.57) vs Haruto Takahashi (5-4, 2.28)

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

Yuya Yanagi (5-6, 3.88) vs Masato Morishita (9-3, 2.04)

NPB 2020 Oct. 24

Saturday’s games

Other news

Haraguchi does it again for Tigers

Fumihito Haraguchi delivered off the bench for the fourth straight game, his two-out seventh-inning pinch-hit single breaking a 1-1 tie in the Hanshin Tigers’ 2-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome on Saturday.

The Giants started the day with a magic number of five to clinch their second straight Central League championship.

Jerry Sands scored the go-ahead run after reaching on a leadoff single to decide a pitchers’ duel between Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano (13-2) and tough Tigers lefty Haruto Takahashi (5-4).

Takahashi allowed a run on four hits and two walks while striking out three over six innings. Jon Edwards, Suguru Iwazaki and Robert Suarez kept the Giants from scoring over the remaining three innings with Suarez getting his CL-leading 23rd save.

Koji Chikamoto became the Tiger’s first base runner by smacking a hanging breaking pitch and beating out a one-out infield single in the fourth despite a good play from Giants shortstop Hayato Sakamoto.

Chikamoto, the CL stolen base leader, took second on a wild pitch even though catcher Takumi Oshiro was able to keep the ball in front of him, and then scored easily when Kento Itohara’s little fly to shallow right fell in for a single.

Sugano tied it in the sixth by scoring on a sac fly after reaching on a leadoff double. With the Tigers outfield playing him shallow, he flied over Chikamoto’s head for his third double of the season. Naoki Yoshikawa fell behind trying to sacrifice him, before grounding a mistake from Takahashi just past Jefry Marte at first for a single. Takahashi missed down the pipe to Seiya Matsubara, whose liner to right was caught, but allowed Sugano to score.

Giants-Tigers highlights

Sands was tossed in the eighth complaining about a couple of calls by home plate umpire Tetsuya Shimada. Sands took 1-0 pitch away and below the knees for a strike, and was called out on a pitch that the overhead camera showed was well beyond the outside corner. That drew some f-bombs and the ejection.

Morishita goes the distance

Right-hander Masato Morishita (9-3) allowed four hits over the distance and drove in the eventual winning run for the Hiroshima Carp in their 2-1 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium.

Morishita struck out five in his 135-pitch outing, and went 2-for- at the plate. Ryosuke Kikuchi singled with two outs in the eighth, stole second and scored on the pitcher’s single to break a 1-1- tie. BayStars right-hander Shoichi Ino allowed a run over six innings but left with nothing to show for it.

The loss dropped the fourth-place BayStars three games below .500 although they have outscored opponents 461-422.

Ogawa denies Dragons

Yasuhiro Ogawa (10-6) allowed two runs over six innings as the Yakult Swallows battered Takahiro Matsuba (3-7) and overcame a big night from Nobumasa Fukuda to beat the Chunichi Dragons 9-5 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Fukuda, who returned to duty on Friday after missing 1-1/2 months, took Ogawa deep in the fourth and doubled in two runs in the Dragons’ three-run seventh.

The highlight of the game, however, belonged to Dragons rookie Kaname Takino, who got perhaps the ultimate celebration of his first pro hit. As the ball was being returned from left field, fireworks erupted beyond the ballpark’s third-base stands and continued for about a minute due to an event going on at Tokyo’s National Stadium down the street that was built as the centerpiece of the 2020 Olympics to be held next year.

Later in the game, play was disrupted following a balloon release from the stadium.

Grand slam king Nakamura halts Hawks

Takeya Nakamura extended his record for career grand slams with his 21st, bringing the Seibu Lions from a run down in the eighth inning in a 4-1 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay dome that snapped the SoftBank Hawks’ 12-game winning streak.

Livan Moinelo (2-3) issued three walks for the first time since he came to Japan in 2017 and got his only out on a sacrifice before turning the ball over to right-hander Sho Iwasaki with the right-handed-hitting Nakamura coming up.

The six-time PL home run champ then launched a high straight 2-1 fastball out to center, spoiling a strong game from Hawks right-hander Nao Higashihama, who threw seven scoreless innings for his second consecutive start.

In the postgame hero interview, Nakamura was asked if the home run was a good present for Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji’s 62nd birthday.

“I wasn’t thinking about that when I batted, but I’m glad it worked out that way,” Nakamura said.

I love Nakamura’s straight-forward answers to some of those questions. Once, when asked what the mood on the bench was when he went to the plate, he answered, “I don’t know. I wasn’t on the bench. I was going to the plate.”

Albers deals Marines their 6th straight loss

Andrew Albers (4-7) allowed two singles and two walks over 6-2/3 innings, three relievers carried it the rest of the way and Takahiro Okada homered for the second straight game as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Lotte Marines 3-0 at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome. Brandon Dickson worked around a two-out single to record his 16th save.

Fighters pen out-scrapes Eagles’

The Nippon Ham Fighters’ bullpen outlasted the Rakuten Eagles’ in a 5-4 win at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, when Sho Nakata homered to tie the game in the eighth inning and hit a two-out fly ball that wasn’t caught and brought home the go-ahead run in the ninth.

Nakata moved into a tie for the Japan home run lead with the Eagles’ Hideto Asamura when he drove a hanging 1-0 breaking ball well back into the stands in left field. Fighters took the lead in the ninth against closer Alan Busenitz (1-3), who allowed a two-out Kensuke Kondo single.

Busenitz missed up high with a 1-2 breaking ball that Nakata got underneath and skied down the left-field line. A pair of rookies converged on it, and shortstop Hiroto Kobukata backed off to let left fielder Yuya Ogo get it. But Ogo took his time, had to sprint to get to the ball and overran it. The ball landed fair, and Kondo beat the throw home. Ogo was harshly charged with the error and Busenitz ended up taking the loss.

Both Kobukata and Ogo singled in the bottom of the ninth before veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi escaped a two-out bases loaded jam when Steven Romero lined out to short. Kobukata, who appears to be running away with the PL’s rookie of the year award, went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer.

Active roster moves 10/24/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/3

Central League

Activated

TigersP29Haruto Takahashi

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesIF48Yoshiaki Watanabe
EaglesOF38Masaki Iwami
FightersP28Ryusei Kawano
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Dectivated

EaglesP31Yuya Fukui
EaglesIF24Fumiya Kurokawa

Starting pitchers for Oct. 25, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Ryota Takinaka (1-1, 3.76) vs Kohei Arihara (7-8, 3.40)

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

Chang Yi (2-2, 3.20) vs Daiki Iwashita (5-7, 4.46)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Kotaro Otake (1-0, 2.53) vs Wataru Matsumoto (5-5, 4.16)

Central League

Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Seishu Hatake (3-3, 3.14) vs Takumi Akiyama (8-3, 3.10)

Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (4-2, 2.36) vs Yuya Yanagi (4-6, 4.26)

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

Yuta Muto (0-1, 6.39) vs Yuta Nakamura (3-2, 2.20)

NPB 2020 Oct. 23

Friday’s games

Other news

Hawks Lions

Shuta Ishikawa (9-3) allowed a run over seven innings, and Takuya Kai plated Kenji Akashi to break a 1-1 tie with a sixth-inning squeeze before the SoftBank Hawks pulled away in a 8-1 win over the Seibu Lions on Friday at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The Hawks lowered their magic number to clinch their first Pacific League pennant since 2017 to four.

Ishikawa hit one batter and struck out six, and did not walk a batter for only the second time this season.

Lions starter Tatsuya Imai (3-4) hung in until the sixth, when he surrendered a leadoff double to Akashi and a single to Nobuhiro Matsuda. The right-hander dropped Kai’s bunt to leave two on with no outs. He left after a sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position. Rookie Tetsu Miyagawa hit Akira Nakamura before surrendering a two-run single to Yuki Yanagita. Yurisbel Gracial capped the rally with an RBI single to make it 5-1.

Yanagita hit a two-run homer in the Hawks’ three-run eighth, his 28th of the season.

Another crazy Yanagita homer

Yuki Yanagita’s 28th home run was another head-shaker, an off-balance flailing swing at a pitch he was fooled on that looked to the world like an easy fly. But the ball landed in the “home run terrace” field seats built inside the dome’s outfield wall.

Hawks manager Kudo said it was puzzling, the Nishinihon Sports reported.

“I don’t understand. I really don’t,” said Kudo, a Hall of Fame pitcher. “How did that get out? When he came back to the bench he (Yangita) said, ‘Got it on the sweet spot,’ but even so, for him to be off balance like that?”

“From an opponent’s view point, that is something you absolutely hate.”

Okada takes a hammer to Marines

Takahiro Okada drove in a run in each of his four plate appearances, and Taisuke Yamaoka (3-5) dodged bullets left and right to allow only a run over 5-1/3 innings for the Orix Buffaloes in a 7-2 win over the Lotte Marines.

Okada brought home Kodai Sano with a sacrifice fly in the first after the Buffaloes’ leadoff hitter doubled to open the game against Kota Futaki (7-3) and took third on a wild pitch. Okada led off the two-run third with his 14th home run. Sano doubled and scored on an Okada single in the fourth to make it 5-0, and Okada doubled in Yuya Oda in the sixth to make it 6-1.

Steven Moya singled in Ryoichi Adachi in the first and doubled in Masataka Yoshida in the third.

Yamaoka allowed eight hits and two walks, but the only run he allowed came in the sixth when Ikuhiro Kiyota hit the first of his two solo homers. He hit his other off Tyler Higgins in the eighth.

Sano rubbed salt in the Marines’ wounds with an RBI triple in the bottom of the eighth.

Tatsumi saves the day for Eagles

Ryosuke Tatsumi doubled in one run, scored another and saved the day with a 10th-inning catch in center field to start an inning-ending double play to help the Rakuten Eagles salvage a 4-4 tie with the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

The Fighters spotted starter Nick Martinez a three-run lead after Christian Villanueva’s RBI single made it a 3-0 game in the fourth. The Eagles came back for three runs in the home half, and Stefen Romero’s RBI single made it 4-3 with no outs in the fifth. Taishi Ota tied it for the visitors with a solo home run, his 13th, off Kazuhisa Makita in the eighth.

Rakuten closer Alan Busenitz worked a 1-2-3 ninth against the bottom of the Fighters order, but D.J. Johnson needed some defensive help to keep it tied in the 10th.

Romero came within a hair of retiring the leadoff hitter in the 10th with a sliding grab in left field only for the ball to spill from his glove. A juggling catch on a foul sacrifice attempt by reserve rookie catcher Tsuyoshi Ishihara got one out. With one out and speedy Haruki Nishikawa on first, Tatsumi went deep into the gap in left for the out. Nishikawa hustled back to first but needed two tries to retouch second base and was out easily to end the inning.

Imamura pitches Giants past Tigers

Lefty Nobutaka Imamura (4-2) allowed three runs in 7-1/3 innings and squeezed in a run as the Yomiuri Giants held off the Hanshin Tigers 5-4 at Tokyo Dome to lower their magic number to clinch the Central League pennant to five.

Nobutaka Imamura squeezes in a run and reaches on an error.

Imamura went to the mound in the eighth with a 5-1 lead after surrendering Jefry Marte’s fourth home run and his second in two days since he was reactivated on Thursday. With one out, the lefty allowed a walk and a Jerry Sands pinch-hit single and a two-run Fumihito Haraguchi pinch-hit double–his third hit off the bench in three games.

Giants closer Rubby De La Rosa also had trouble after one out, leaving after giving up a run on a walk and two hits. Lefty Kazuto Taguchi came in with the two runners in scoring position. He struck out veteran Yoshio Itoi swinging on seven pitches before a fly out ended it.

Tigers starter Yuki Nishi (10-5) allowed five runs, two earned in five innings. Yoshihiro Maru opened the scoring in the second when he led off with his 23rd home run.

Giants-Tigers highlights

Marte sets record with four errors

The Tigers’ Jefry Marte was charged with a record four errors in Friday’s game, and he tied the league record for a team’s first basemen by making three errors in one inning.

Dragons come back for 4th straight win

The second-place Chunichi Dragons continued to scrape and scratch, earning a 4-3 win against the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium after catcher Takuya Kinoshita brought them from a run down in the sixth.

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi, who doubled in a run in the first, singled to open the sixth against the new Swallows pitcher Yugo Umeno (3-1. Moises Sierra followed with a single. With one out, Kinoshita hit a fly to the gap in right that bounced just past the glove of center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi.

Shiomi, activated earlier in the day for the first time Sept. 12, hit a two-run homer in the second off Dragons right-hander Yariel Rodriguez, who allowed three runs in 4-2/3 innings. The right-hander allowed four hits and five walks. Katsuki Matayoshi (4-0) struck out Shiomi on seven pitches to end the fifth with two men on and earned the win after a quartet of relievers worked one perfect inning apiece.

BayStars shut out Carp

Masaya Kyoyama (2-1) worked out of a two-on, no-out sixth-inning predicament and three relievers finished up as the DeNA BayStars held on for a 2-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Yokohama Stadium.

Kyoyama allowed two hits and walked three while striking out six over six innings.

The BayStars scored both their runs off Carp starter Hiroki Tokoda (3-8) in the fifth after back-to-back singles by Yasutaka Tobashira and Yamato Maeda. After an error, Takayuki Kajitani broke the scoreless deadlock with an RBI single and Kazuki Kamizato followed with a sac fly. Spencer Patton, lefty Kenta Ishida and closer Kazuki Mishima each worked a scoreless inning with Mishima earning his 16th save. Patton’s 51st appearance is second in Japan to teammate Edwin Escobar’s 54.

Active roster moves 10/23/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/2

Central League

Activated

TigersP18Kosuke Baba
DragonsIF55Nobumasa Fukuda
SwallowsIF58Hideki Nagaoka
SwallowsIF60Ryusei Takeoka
SwallowsOF9Yasutaka Shiomi

Dectivated

TigersP21Minoru Iwata
SwallowsP28Daiki Yoshida
SwallowsIF93Yu Matsumoto
SwallowsOF8Shota Nakayama

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP31Yuya Fukui
MarinesP37Fumiya Ono
BuffaloesC44Yuma Tongu

Dectivated

MarinesP62Shoji Nagano
BuffaloesC33Masato Matsui

Starting pitchers for Oct. 24, 2020

Pacific League

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

Ryota Ishibashi (1-5, 6.23) vs Ryusei Kawano (2-4, 5.40)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Andrew Albers (3-7, 3.86) vs Takuro Furuya (0-0, 3.00)

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

Nao Higashihama (8-1, 2.34) vs Ken Togame (1-1, 6.75)

Central League

Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Tomoyuki Sugano (13-1, 2.02) vs Haruto Takahashi (4-4, 2.35)

Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-6, 4.37) vs Takahiro Matsuba (3-6, 3.62)

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

Shoichi Inoh (6-6, 3.71) vs Masato Morishita (8-3, 2.21)

NPB 2020 Oct. 19

Monday’s games

PL

  • Marines vs Fighters, postponed, rain

Other news

Iwakuma to call it quits

Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma said Monday that this season will be his last. The 39-year-old turned pro out of high school after being taken in the fifth round of the 1999 draft by the now defunct Kintetsu Buffaloes.

Iwakuma went 107-69 in Japan and 63-39 in six seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He joined the Yomiuri Giants as a free agent in 2019, when he appeared in two Eastern League games. He has not played this year.

When the Buffaloes merged with the Pacific League rival Orix BlueWave in 2004, triggering Japanese baseball’s lone labor action, Iwakuma was sold to the Rakuten Eagles after a long dispute with Orix.

One of the key issues that summer was whether the owners could unilaterally remake NPB’s established format of two six-team leagues after the owners accepted a merger without any plan about how to move forward with 11 teams.

After players went on strike and forced the cancellation of two weekends worth of games, the owners agreed to expedite the creation of an expansion franchise. This was something they originally argued was possible — and in so doing honor an age-old pro baseball tradition of owners telling something is impossible only to turn around and do just that when they have the will to do so.

Another part of the agreement, although not written, but spoken at the Nagoya Castle Hotel press conference, was a statement from Orix’s official representative that no Kintetsu player would be taken by Orix in the merger if they refused to play for the new club.

Iwakuma along with Kintetsu players rep Koichi Isobe was the most vocal of the Buffaloes about refusing to sign with Orix. But when the distribution draft was held to allow the new Rakuten Eagles access to surplus talent on the Orix and Kintetsu rosters, Iwakuma was among those protected from selection.

Orix’s explained its decision “We promised but you can’t expect us to honor it when a player is actually important to us.”

Iwakuma, however, stuck to his guns and refused to go to Orix, eventually forcing the team to sell him to the fledgling Eagles.

After the 2010 season, the Rakuten Eagles posted Iwakuma, but he returned to the Eagles after failing to reach a deal with the Oakland Athletics, who won the sole right to negotiate with him in the bidding.

Ties can be thrillers, too

Although not enjoyable because of its see-saw nature, the Hanshin Tigers’ 10-inning 1-1 tie with the Yakult Swallows on a Monday makeup game at Koshien Stadium was just a terrific game.

It was well pitched, well played, some good swings on tough pitches, a personal speed record by one of Japan’s fastest pitchers, two brothers pitching on opposing sides and both teams seeing their 10th-inning rallies on nice catches.

Joe Gunkel started for the Tigers and went five innings. He did well to allow only a run after allowing four hits in the fourth inning, but a sharply hit grounder to third with the bases jammed was turned for an inning-ending double play.

The game also saw the Tigers’ Justin Bour bunt in attempt to beat the shift before smashing a pitch to the left of second for a single.

Albert Suarez allowed an unearned run over six innings when pinch-hitter Kento Itohara did well to put the bat on the ball for an RBI game-tying single. Shintaro Fujinami hit 162 kph on the radar gun as he struck out the side in the top of the seventh.

Scott McGough answered with a 1-2-3 inning in the home half for the Swallows and so it went. Suarez’s younger brother Robert struck out two in the top of the ninth for the Tigers, while Swallows closer Taishi Ishiyama worked around a Jerry Sands single in the home half.

Both teams put the potential go-ahead run on base in the 10th, but the Swallows’ rally died with the runner on second as shortstop Ryuhei Kobata made an outstanding catch to snare a liner. The Swallows returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, when second baseman Tetsuto Yamada caught a one-out liner with the runner going for an easy game-ending double play.

Active roster moves 10/19/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/29

Central League

Activated

SwallowsP24Tomoya Hoshi

Dectivated

BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
DragonsP50Tatsuya Shimizu
SwallowsOF51Taiki Hamada

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

MarinesP15Manabu Mima
MarinesIF40Koki Fukuda
MarinesOF10Shohei Kato
FightersP20Kenta Uehara
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi
FightersP39Ryo Akiyoshi
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi
BuffaloesIF0Shoki Katsumata

Starting pitchers for Oct. 20, 2020

Pacific League

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

Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-5, 2.54) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (3-3, 2.93)

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

Takahiro Norimoto (5-5, 3.84) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (8-4, 2.18)

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

Kona Takahashi (7-8, 3.87) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (7-4, 4.15)

Central League

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-5, 4.72) vs Shosei Togo (8-5, 2.76)

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

Koji Fukutani (6-2, 2.78) vs Shinichi Onuki (9-4, 2.21)

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

Onelki Garcia (2-5, 4.11) vs Allen Kuri (6-5, 3.44)

NPB 2020 OCT. 11

Sunday’s games

Other news

Hawks take 2 from nemeses Marines

Tsuyoshi Wada (7-1) survived uncharacteristic command issues to work five innings and a parade of six relievers completed a combined three-hitter as the SoftBank Hawks beat the Lotte Marines 3-0 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome and knocking their nemeses two games back in the Pacific League pennant race.

Wada walked four batters and struck out six while allowing his only hit with two outs and none on in the fifth inning. Yuito Mori worked around a ninth-inning single to record his 26th save of the year and the 100th of his career.

Manabu Mima (9-3) allowed three runs over seven innings on eight hits and three walks. Ukyo Shuto got things started for the Hawks in the third with a one-out single. He’d reached in the first on a bouncer to short, and Mima jammed him in the third but his flare fell into shallow center. He then scored on an Akira Nakamura double.

Nobuhiro Matsuda homered to open the fourth, Wladimir Balentien singled, was sacrificed to second and scored from third on Shuto’s second infield hit of the game. Shuto also stole two bases to raise his league-leading total to 34.

No cigar in Sendai

Ryota Takinaka, the Rakuten Eagles’ sixth pick in the 2019 draft, earned his first career win but lost his shutout bid with two outs in the ninth inning of an 8-2 win over the Seibu Lions at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

throwing a particularly nasty curve and a good changeup, the 25-year-old Takinaka (1-1) allowed five hits while striking out eight and walking none. Whem Takinaka gave up Ernesto Mejia’s two-out two-run double in the ninth on his 129th pitch, Eagles manager Hajime Miki finally pulled the plug on the youngster’s bid to go the distance.

“I really wanted him to go all the way, but considering his pitch count, his current fitness and some other things I decided we’d try for that next time,” Miki said. “He mixed his pitches well and changed speeds.”

“Of course, his curve was as advertised but I thought the big thing was his command of the fastball.”

After Saturday’s game was called after three innings and cost both the Eagles and the Lions a starting pitcher, Takinaka’s going into the ninth gave Rakuten a break going into Monday’s makeup game, while the Lions needed three of their second-tier relievers after starter Wataru Matsumoto (4-5), who gave up five runs in four innings.

Hideto Asamura hit his PL-leading 30th home run for the Eagles.

Higgins KO’s Fighters in 7th

Tyler Higgins faced off with one of the Nippon Ham Fighters more dangerous hitters, coming in with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh and kept the hosts off the board in the Orix Buffaloes’ 7-5 win at Sapporo Dome.

Higgins struck out Ota on six pitches with three swinging strikes at his changeup to end the inning. Ota had helped the Fighters close the gap with a two-run double in their four-run sixth. In the eighth, the right-hander struck out cleanup hitter Sho Nakata, who’d homered in the sixth, en route to a 1-2-3 eighth.

Buffaloes starter Hirotoshi Masui (2-2) returned to his old stomping grounds and earned the win after allowing three runs in 5-1/3 innings on a day when Orix skipper Satoshi Nakajima, a longtime player and coach with the Fighters, gave his imported hitters the day off.

Dragons get past rookie Togo

Tatsuya Shimizu (1-0) scattered four walks and three hits over 5-2/3 innings and got some big help from the bullpen to earn the win as the Chunichi Dragons beat Yomiuri Giants and rookie of the year candidate Shosei Togo 7-0 at Nagoya Dome.

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi broke the scoreless deadlock in the fourth with an RBI single, and 35-year-old right-hander Keisuke Tanimoto retired Zelous Wheeler with two on and two outs in the top of the sixth to preserve a 1-0 Chunichi lead.

With two outs in the sixth, Dayan Viciedo doubled and scored on a Takahashi double off Togo (8-5), who allowed four hits, a walk and hit a batter over six innings.

With a game scheduled for Monday, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara did not turn the game over to his best after Togo left and the Dragons scored five in the seventh.

Oyama clinches HR derby

Hanshin Tigers cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama pulled into a tie for the Central League home run lead with his 25th home run, a two-run fifth-inning blow that gave the hosts the lead in a 4-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Koshien Stadium.

The BayStars got solo home runs from Keita Sano, his 16th, Tyler Austin, his 17th and Jose Lopez, his eighth.

Oyama doubled and scored on a Jerry Sands single as Hanshin took a 2-1 lead in the second. Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Oyama went deep off starter Taiga Kamichatani (2-3).

Takumi Akiyama (7-3) started and earned the win for the Tigers, while Jon Edwards, Shintaro Fujinami and Robert Suarez each worked one perfect inning of relief. Suarez earned his 20th save.

Carp terrorize Swallows’ little river

The Hiroshima Carp overwhelmed Yakult Swallows starter Yasuhiro Ogawa in a six-run fifth inning en route to a 7-4 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Hiroshima’s Yuta Nakamura (2-2) held the visitors to a run over six innings, and Kosuke Tanaka gave him the lead in the fourth, when he tripled and scored on a Seiya Suzuki single.

Ogawa (9-5) then allowed five straight runners to reach in the fifth, with Nakamura chasing him with an RBI single that made it 3-0. The Swallows battled back against the Carp bullpen before closer Geronimo Franzua worked around two hits in a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save.

Swallows Igarashi to call it quits

Yakult Swallows right-hander Ryota Igarashi will retire at the end of the 2020 season, multiple media outlets reported on Sunday.

The 41-year-old Igarashi, who played most of his career with the Central League club, pitched two seasons for the Mets in 2010 and 2011 before appearing in two games each for the Blue Jays and Yankees in 2012.

He returned to Japan in 2013 and spent six seasons with the SoftBank Hawks before returning last year to Tokyo and the Swallows.

In 2002, he and fellow hard-throwing middle reliever Hirotoshi Ishii became known as the Rocket Boys. His 822 games are seventh most in Japan.

Active roster moves 10/11/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/21

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
CarpP46Mikiya Takahashi
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
CarpIF63Ryoma Nishikawa

Dectivated

BayStarsP26Haruhiro Hamaguchi
CarpP30Ryuji Ichioka
CarpIF44Kota Hayashi
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP47Kouki Matsuoka
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui

Dectivated

LionsP30Daiki Enokida

Starting pitchers for Oct. 12, 2020

Pacific League

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

Yuya Fukui (0-4, 5.26) vs Katsunori Hirai (5-4, 4.50)

Central League

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

Koji Fukutani (5-2, 2.76) vs Toshiki Sakurai (2-3, 4.89)