Dragons’ Ono has got this 10-K complete game thing down
For the third straight Sunday, Yudai Ono delivered a 10-strikeout complete-game victory, as the Chunichi Dragons lefty beat the Yomiuri Giants for the second week in a row, this time 4-1 at Tokyo Dome.
Ono (3-3) was asked if he had done anything differently after going 0-3 in his first six starts.
His answer: “I pitched well, but wasn’t getting wins because I’d give up the early lead and couldn’t stick around long enough for my team to score, so that has been my goal.”
Ono, who throws from a three-quarter arm slot, has the highest average fastball velocity among left-handed starters in Japan this season (146.3 kph or 90.9 mph). His fastball appeared to have more spin than usual, making it especially dangerous in combination with his two-seam sinker.
(One has to be careful in Japan with the expressions two-seam and sinker, the first is sometimes applied to a “shoot” a running fastball that is not intended to sink, and sometimes to a major-league style two-seamer, which is really Ono’s sinker, rather than a Japanese-language sinker, which is actually a screwball.)
The Dragons opened the scoring on Toshiki Abe’s fifth home run, a second-inning solo shot off Seishu Hatake (0-2), and Yoshihiro Maru tied it with his 10th homer in the home half. The two-time MVP uppercut a high 1-1 splitter from Ono and really launched it.
Chunichi completed the scoring in the fifth on a two-run double by shortstop Yota Kyoda, who scored on catcher Takuya Kinoshita’s single.
Hatake missed with a high straight 1-0 fastball and Shuhei Takahashi hammered it on the ground through the infield for a leadoff single. Abe did the same with a straight 2-1 fastball in the heart of the zone, hitting it between first and second to put runners on the corners.
The right-hander left a first-pitch changeup up in the zone to Kyoda, and he also slammed it, this time just over the bag at first and into the right-field corner for a double. Kinoshita fouled off a high fat slider for Strike 1, but hit lined a better 0-1 slider to right to make it 4-1.
Hatake went six, but the way Ono was pitching it didn’t matter.
After last week’s win, Ono said, “I’m not a very good pitcher so I just try to execute each pitch as well as I can.”
This week’s self-deprecating remark was: “I’m not one of those pitchers who go to the mound to start the game thinking, ‘I want to throw a perfect game.’ I kind of see how things go, and if it looks like it, I’ll give it a shot.”
Ono praises no-hit Ogawa
Ono said he was inspired by Yasuhiro Ogawa’s no-hitter on Saturday night in Yokohama, the first one since Ono’s on Sept. 14 against the Hanshin Tigers.
“For him to pitch his way out of a no-out, two-on jam in the eighth inning after a teammate made an error? As a pitcher myself, I thought that was simply amazing,” Ono said.
Submariner Yamanaka torpedoes BayStars
Submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1) allowed two runs over five innings for the 34-year-old journeyman’s first win in nearly two years as the Yakult Swallows beat the DeNA BayStars 7-4 at Yokohama Stadium.
Tetsuto Yamada and Norichika Aoki propelled the Swallows’ offense combining for four runs and five RBIs. BayStars starter Kentaro Taira (3-3) allowed six runs over 3-2/3 innings.
Swallows closer Taishi Ishiyama worked a scoreless ninth to record his seventh save.
Carp, Tigers tie in ugly contest
Beauty pageants in Japanese are referred to as “miss contests” and that would be a suitable description for the Hiroshima Carp and Hanshin Tigers’ 2-2 10-inning tie at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.
Tigers starting pitcher Takumi Akiyama survived a first-inning error that contributed to a one-out bases-loaded jam, but 21-year-old Carp right-hander Atsushi Endo failed to catch a break.
Veteran shortstop Kosuke Tanaka bobbled a grounder to put the leadoff man on. A single and a walk to Jerry Sands loaded them up. The youngster got cleanup hitter Yusuke Ono to hit into a double play and broke Justin Bour’s bat, but his stick died a hero as the ball got over the infield for an RBI single.
Akiyama worked five scoreless inning. First-year importJoe Gunkel gave up one run over two innings of relief on a pair of mistakes to Seiya Suzuki and Ryuhei Matsuyama. Suzuki drove a triple off the center-field wall and scored on a a hard-hit single by Matsuyama.
Carp leadoff man Ryoma Nishikawa scored the tying run after a single, a sacrifice, an error and a wild pitch and the game ended in a tie when it was called after 10 innings.
Effectively wild Ishikawa beats Buffaloes
Right-hander Shuta Ishikawa had as much trouble hitting the glove as the Orix Buffaloes did hitting his pitches over 5-2/3 scoreless innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 6-2 win on Sunday at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.
The Hawks beat up lefty Andrew Albers (2-5) for four runs over two innings. Albers gave up five hits, walked one and hit one. Three of his losses this season have come against the Hawks.
Ishikawa (0-5) allowed two hits but walked six and hit a batter while striking out six. The Buffaloes scored both their runs off submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi in the seventh.
Marine recruit leads Lotte’s charge
Koshiro Wada made the most of his first starting assignment on Sunday, scoring three times from the Lotte Marines’ leadoff spot to fuel a 6-5 victory over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.
Wada, a 21-year-old who played in the independent Baseball Challenge league before signing with the Marines as a non-roster developmental player in 2018, struck out in his debut on Friday. But given a chance to start against right-hander Drew VerHagen, the left-handed hitter took some aggressive cuts.
He singled, stole second, and was sacrificed to third by Shogo Nakamura and scored in the first, third, and fifth innings. Leonys Martin also stole three bases for Lotte.
“I was so nervous before today’s game, I couldn’t eat,” he said.
Wada struck out in his last two at-bats.
Seiya Inoue drove in three runs for Lotte and set up the final go-ahead run in the eighth with a leadoff walk, while No. 3 hitter Leonys Martin drove in one run and scored twice.
Sho Nakata put the Marines in front briefly with his 17th home run, a third-inning shot off lefty Toshiya Nakamura.
VerHagen, who had won his three previous starts, allowed five runs over 4-1/3 innings. The Fighters tied it in the sixth off new Marine Jose Flores, who like Wada joined the Marines after a stint with the independent Toyama Thunderbirds.
Frank Herrman (3-0) struck out the bottom of the Fighters’ order in the eighth. He earned the win in after Tatsuhiro Tamura doubled in pinch-runner Hiromi Oka against veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi (1-1) in the home half of the inning. Naoya Masuda worked a 1-2-3 ninth against the top of the Fighters’ order to earn his 15th save.
Old-timer Kuriyama sparks Lions
Takumi Kuriyama, his speed and arm dented by wear and tear, sparkled in a rare outfield start with his glove and bat to boost the Seibu Lions to an 11-1 plucking of the Rakuten Eagles at MetLife Dome.
With two outs and two on in the top of the first Kuriyama made a leaping grab of a Stefen Romero drive headed for the wall to end the inning and save two runs.
The 34-year-old singled to lead off the second and hustled home to score the first run in the two-run inning. After Eagles starter Yuya Fukui (0-2) walked the first two batters he faced in the third, Kuriyama blasted a three-run homer. Kuriyama finished with three hits and a walk.
Lions starter Keisuke Honda (1-4) scattered five hits and three walks to allow one run over five innings and earn the win.
Jones returns to Osaka early
Adam Jones, who joined the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes from this season, returned home to Osaka on Sunday from Fukuoka prior to his team’s afternoon game against the SoftBank Hawks, according to the Sankei Sports.
It marked the second time Jones, who turned 35 on Aug. 1, has been omitted from Orix’s game-day roster. He was also sidelined on Aug. 9 with discomfort in his right heel. Jones has played in 48 games and so far has a .313 on-base percentage and a .362 slugging average.
Marines’ Laird returns to U.S. for treatment
Laird was deactivated on Aug. 5 due to lower back stiffness. In 147 plate appearances over 39 games he has six home runs with a .299 on-base percentage and a .391 slugging average.
Active roster moves 8/16/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/26