Flying Tigers wreck havoc
Tigers 10, Giants 5
At Tokyo Dome, it was bombs away as the league-leading Hanshin Tigers dropped a five-home run aerial assault on Central League-champion Yomiuri, with Jefry Marte and Yusuke each hitting two and driving in three runs, while Jerry Sands hit a solo shot. The win was Hanshin’s eighth straight and left them four games ahead of the Giants.
Giants starter Angel Sanchez (1-2) allowed five runs over two-plus innings, while Yuki Nishi (3-1) was tagged for four runs over five, with leadoff man Seiya Matsubara hitting a two-run home run. Marte now has five homers, Oyama three, and Sands six, while Matsubara’s was his third.
Yomiuri’s top draft signing from last year, lefty Ryuta Heinai, made his first-team debut, allowing a run over three-plus innings, while Tigers reliever Jon Edwards, pitching in his first game since the spring, allowed a run in the ninth.
Swallows 2, Carp 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima native Kazuto Taguchi (1-2) earned his first victory since being traded to Yakult in March, allowing a run on two walks and four hits over six innings to win a pitchers’ duel against 2020 CL rookie of the year Masato Morishita (2-2), who allowed two runs over seven.
Former CL batting champ Shingo Kawabata, batting for Taguchi in the seventh, singled in the tie-breaking run.
Hisayoshi Chono had two of Hiroshima’s six hits, had the first hit off his former Giants teammate Taguchi and drove in the Carp’s only run.
“This win had special meaning for me, but I didn’t get it without help from my teammates. I always get a little boost pitching here and get a warm welcome from the Hiroshima fans,” Taguchi said.
Dragons 0, BayStars 0
At Yokohama Stadium, a nil-nil draw was perhaps the most likely outcome between the CL’s two least potent offenses, although perhaps a surprise with the return of Dayan Viciedo to the Dragons roster and Neftali Soto and Tyler Austin having settled in at DeNA. But throw in a quality effort from Yudai Ono, and good relief work by both teams’ bullpens – including Yasuaki Yamasaki and 0-0 seems right.
The BayStars came closest to making something happen with two outs and one on in the fourth, but Viciedo caught Keita Sano’s bullet for the second out before Ono struck out rookie slugger Shugo Maki for the second time. Ono struck out seven, and closer Raidel Martinez fanned two more.
Hawks 6, Eagles 4
At Kitakyushu, Rakuten stalwart Takayuki Kishi (2-2) was off his game, allowing six runs on nine hits and a walk over 5-1/3 innings with most of the damage coming on two fat fastballs to SoftBank catcher Takuya Kai, who blasted one out of the small park for his third home run, a three-run shot, and lined another for a two-run double.
Eagles left fielder Hiroaki Shimauchi had a weird game, he pulled a fly ball for a three-run homer into the short porch in right, had a flare fall in for a double and crashed into the fence in left on a double that dropped out of his glove.
Six SoftBank relievers finished up after lefty Shunsuke Kasaya surrendered four runs over 4-1/3 with Yuito Mori collecting his fifth save.
Marines 8, Fighters 4
At Zozo Marine Stadium, Lotte rookie Koki Yamaguchi hit an opposite-field home run off veteran lefty setup man Naoki Miyanishi (1-2) to break a 4-4 tie and trigger a four-run inning.
The Fighters took charge first behind Kensuke Kondo, the Fighters’ on-base machine hit a two-run homer off Ayumu Ishikawa in the first and an RBI double in the third.
Marines leadoff man Takashi Ogino reached base four times and scored three. Leonys Martin assisted in a run in the first with a bunt and singled in a run fifth. Shogo Nakamura, who lined into sacrifice flies in the first and fourth for the Marines, got two more RBIs when he was jammed and his flare fell in to cap Lotte’s late rally.
Lotte’s Frank Herrmann worked around two walks in a scoreless seventh, and Yuki Karakawa (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 eighth to earn the win.
Buffaloes 11, Lions 3
At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Steven Moya tripled and contributed to two runs in his return to the lineup after fouling a ball of his ankle and Seibu twice left the bases loaded against Orix starter Daiki Tajima, the first of seven Buffaloes pitchers, as the bullpen allowed two walks and two hits over the final six innings.
With the game still in doubt in the top of the eighth, 34-year-old Takumi Kuriyama, activated Tuesday, batted for the first time since being hurt on Opening Day, but lost the old-timer’s confrontation with 41-year-old lefty Atsushi Nomi by hitting into an inning-ending double play before the Buffaloes bulled to six runs in the home half.
Orix’s pocket battleship, Masataka Yoshida, had three hits, including a home run he launched into the dome’s fifth deck.
Sasaki on the farm
Viciedo, Escobar, Edwards rejoin their clubs
A bunch of big players were recalled to active duty on Tuesday. The largely punchless Chunichi Dragons brought back their most potent offensive weapon, Dayan Vicedo, while the DeNA BayStars got some much needed bullpen help with flame-throwing lefty Edwin Escobar.
But the rich got richer, too, as the runaway CL-leading Hanshin Tigers will be able to take advantage of this year’s expanded active roster by adding Jon Edwards, giving them five imports, with starting pitcher Joe Gunkel not suiting up for games in between his starts.
In the Pacific League, the Seibu Lions got back one of their big pieces, veteran outfielder Takumi Kuriyama, while the Orix Buffaloes got Steven Moya back.
Wednesday’s Pacific League is going to give us some tasty matchups with impressive Fighters rookie Hiromi Ito pitching against the Marines, Bufaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitching against the Lions’ Tatsuya Imai, who has not bee terrible this year, and the Hawks Tsuyoshi Wada going against the Eagles’ Takahiro Norimoto.
Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Lions: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Hawks vs Eagles: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Carp vs Swallows: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 4/20/2021