Tag Archives: Justin Smoak

NPB wrap 5-1-21

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Fighters-Lions called off due to virus

The Nippon Ham Fighters announced four new positive tests on Saturday, a day after three other players’ positive coronavirus results were announced. Three staff members, including a coach, combined to make the team an official coronavirus cluster, and causing Sunday’s game against the Seibu Lions to be postponed.

It is the first postponement since last summer when a game in Fukuoka between the Hawks and Lions was called off over an abundance of caution after a veteran working out with the farm team was infected.

Tanaka battles through to 2nd win

Eagles 3, Marines 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten’s Masahiro Tanaka (2-1) and his manager and pitching coach all said his fastball had more life on it, and it was good, even if he had trouble locating it and did get away with one stinker, and perhaps they were accounting for the fact that Lotte hitters did very little with the pitches he left in the heart of the zone.

Tanaka’s 3rd start and postgame interview

In any case, Tanaka worked six innings. He walked one, hit one, and allowed five hits while striking out six. Hideto Asamura drove in a run with Rakuten’s third third-inning single and Takero Okajima, who drove in a run in Tanaka’s 2-1 win the previous Saturday, hit his second home run of the season, a two-out blast in the fourth off the Marines’ Opening Day starter, Kota Futaki (1-2).

Rakuten’s Sung Chia-hao, Hiromoto Sakai and Yuki Matsui finished up with Matsui getting his seventh save.

Hawks 9, Buffaloes 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the SoftBank Hawks offense gave new right-hander and former Nippon Ham Fighter Nick Martinez (1-0) a hearty welcome. The nine runs while he was the pitcher of record was the most in his 29 games in Japan. Martinez struck out four, walked one and allowed five hits over six innings.

Buffaloes starter Hirotoshi Masui (1-3) allowed eight runs, six earned, over five innings. 

Fighters 5, Lions 4

At Sapporo Dome, Seibu closer Tatsushi Masuda (0-2) blew a three-run save, surrendering a two-run homer to Sho Nakata – back in the three hole, a Taishi Ota RBI double high off the wall before leaving with two on so Tetsu Miyagawa could walk two batters as Nippon Ham literally walked off.

Nippon Ham’s Opening Day starter, Naoyuki Uwasawa allowed two runs over seven innings, while striking out six, but Cory Spangenberg blasted his first homer in the eighth and Wu Nien-ting doubled and scored another insurance run in the ninth.

Seibu starter Keisuke Honda allowed a run over five innings, and four relievers held the Fighters in check with Reed Garrett working the seventh and Kaima Taira striking out the side in the eighth. Taira recorded a team record of getting a “hold point”–a hold or a win in relief–in 13 straight games.

Dragons 9, Giants 6

At Tokyo Dome, four of Chunichi’s runs scored on ordinary flies that found holes, a pair of RBI flares, and a ninth-inning two-run triple off Thyago Vieira on a routine fly that iced the game and wasn’t caught because Yomiuri played the game by Japan’s book.

The Japanese book says bring the outfield in with two outs and a runner on second to keep him from scoring on a single. Trailing 7-6 in the ninth with two outs and runners on second and third, the Giants’ outfield came in and Yohei Oshima’s poke landed just beyond left fielder Zelous Wheeler’s glove.

With Chunichi’s bullpen, the difference between one and three runs really didn’t matter much. Right-handed side-armer Katsuki Matayoshi has stepped seamlessly into the spot vacated by Daisuke Sobue, who’s now on the farm, while Raidel Martinez was pumped. The right-hander’s roar when he struck out Justin Smoak to end it could be heard over Tokyo’s afternoon thunder.

New Dragon Mike Gerber went 2-for-5 with three strikeouts a single and a booming RBI double in Chunichi’s three-run sixth. Dayan Viciedo homered in the fifth, his fourth of the season and his third in four games.

Smoak and Wheeler helped power the Giants’ comeback from a 7-0 deficit, and a beauty of a swing by Wheeler propelled a seventh-inning curve on the outside corner out to the opposite field to close the gap to a run.

Giants lefty Nobutaka Imamura (2-1) allowed four runs in 4-2/3 innings. Dragons lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (2-2) struck out seven in five-plus innings, while allowing three runs and singling in a run.

Giants-Dragons highlights

BayStars 10, Swallows 2

At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA’s Tyler Austin homered off the scoreboard, singled twice walked and scored three runs to help power the BayStars. The home run was his fourth and his third in four days. Neftali Soto doubled in a run in DeNA’s six-run seventh.

Southpaw Edwin Escobar (1-0) struck out two in a 1-2-3 sixth to earn the win and Kevin Shackelford worked a perfect eighth for the BayStars, while Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-1) allowed four runs, one earned, over five-plus innings and took the loss.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Takahisa Hayakawa (3-2, 2.56) vs Shota Suzuki (1-1, 2.45)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (0-3, 4.56) vs Yuki Matsumoto (1-1, 5.40)

Central League

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

Kousuke Sakaguchi (1-1, 2.79) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (2-1, 4.23)

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

Joe Gunkel (4-0, 1.78) vs Yusuke Nomura (0-2, 4.42)

Active roster moves 5/1/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/11players marked with an asterisk are coronavirus deactivations and can be activated as soon as they are cleared to play.

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP37Nick Martinez
MarinesP18Kota Futaki
FightersOF66Chusei Mannami

Dectivated

MarinesP48Toshiya Nakamura
EaglesC44Yuichi Adachi
FightersOF61Yuma Imagawa*

NPB wrap 4-30-21

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Dickson on the outside

Orix Buffaloes right-hander Brandon Dickson may be unable to come to Japan this season due to difficulties obtaining visas for his family during the current state of emergency, Nikkan Sports reported Friday.

The 36-year-old in his ninth season with Orix, spent the entire 2020 season away from his family due to the coronavirus pandemic but had expected them to come with him this year. Dickson, a starter for his first six seasons before spending time as the Buffaloes – and Team USA closer – from 2019, was expected to return to Orix’s starting rotation this season.

3 Fighters KO’d by virus

Three Nippon Ham Fighters, outfielder Haruki Nishikawa, shortstop Takuya Nakashima and catcher Yushi Shimizu were all sidelined Friday by positive coronavirus tests, and they were joined by outfielder Daiki Asama, who is quarantining as a potential close contact.

The Coronavirus Kid returns

The Lotte Marines on Friday lifted the indefinite suspension on Ikuhiro Kiyota, who was held responsible for the Lotte Marines’ 2020 coronavirus outbreak that sidelined 14 players. The outbreak was discovered after the club returned from a road trip to Sapporo, although no players were known to have violated protocols. Kioyota, however, was suspended after photos of him eating out with a female companion while in Sapporo were later published.

Yanagi outduels Sugano

Dragons 3, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, Chunichi’s Yuya Yanagi (2-1) threw an artistic seven innings, locating his fastball and mixing it with a dynamite curve and changeup to strike out nine while allowing two runs in his seventh and final inning of work.

The right-hander gave up four hits, two in the seventh, and walked three. The walks forced him to escape a two-out bases-loaded jam in the second by retiring Sugano. Yanagi dominated for the next four innings before hard-hit balls by Justin Smoak and Zelous Wheeler set the table for the Yomiuri fightback.

Tomoyuki Sugano (2-2) lacked his customary razor-sharp command, and threw hittable strikes when he got behind in counts and allowed six hits but no walks. Sugano was burned in the second when Dayan Viciedo turned on an inside fastball and lined it into the left-field stands at the ballpark – emptied of fans due to the coronavirus state of emergency in effect that also forced the games at Koshien and Kyocera Dome to be held behind closed doors. The home run was Viciedo’s third.

With two on and one out in the inning, Akira Neo grounded to first but Smoak failed to stop it for a run-scoring error. After Yanagi hit the ball hard for the second out, Sugano hit a batter to load the bases. However, the ace passed his biggest test of the night by striking out Yota Kyoda on four pitches.

Akira Neo doubled and scored in the fourth on a single by rookie Wataru Takamatsu, who drove in the first run of his career.

Katsuki Matayoshi worked a scoreless eighth instead of regular setup man Daisuke Sobue, and Raidel Martinez carved up the heart of the Giants order in the ninth for his third save.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Swallows 4, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, Yakult rookie Yuto Kanakubo (1-1) struck out six over six innings, while DeNA lefty Yuya Sakamoto took a direct hit on his pitching shoulder from a Munekata Murakami line drive to open the second and left the game.

Tetsuto Yamada doubled in two runs in the third inning, and the visitors added two more in the sixth, when Jose Osuna doubled with two outs and scored on Domingo Santana’s second home run off fellow first-year import Kevin Shackelford.

Tigers 4, Carp 2

At Koshien Stadium, Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri (3-3) did well to only allow four runs over five innings after walking four over the first two. He walked six and allowed eight hits, while Hanshin’s Takumi Akiyama (3-2) gave up two runs over 7-1/3 innings.

Jerry Sands broke the ice in the first with a two-out RBI single, and walked and scored in the Tigers’ two-run fifth. Kevin Cron broke up the Tigers’ bid for a shutout in the eighth with a pinch-hit leadoff homer, his third. Hanshin closer Robert Suarez pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.

Rookie Takumu Nakano reached base twice and scored the Tigers second run while putting on a fielding clinic at shortstop.

Eagles 8, Marines 1

At Rakuten Seimei Park, Rauten’s  Hideaki Wakui (4-0) walked four, including three straight in the second inning to give Lotte the lead, only for the Marines to return the favor with back-to-back two-out errors and two unearned runs in the home half.

Brandon Dixon and Japanese baseball culture

Marines starter Toshiya Nakamura (0-1) allowed five runs, three earned over five innings. Brandon Dixon tripled in two runs in the third as the Eagles cruised.

Lions 5, Fighters 1

At Sapporo Dome, Seibu’s Kona Takahashi (4-0) allowed a run over six innings, followed by scoreless innings from Reed Garrett and Kaima Taira before the Lions opened the game up in the ninth on Sosuke Genda’s two-run triple. Tomoya Mori doubled and tripled and scored two of Seibu’s first three runs.

Drew VerHagen (0-2) allowed three runs, two earned, over 5-1/3 innings to take the loss.

Buffaloes 5, Hawks 4

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix victimized SoftBank’s normally reliable bullpen to overturn the visitors’ late 4-2 lead, scoring a run off setup man Livan Moinelo and two off Sho Iwasaki (1-1), who worked the ninth in place of right-handed closer Yuito Mori, who was deactivated to have inflammation in his left elbow treated.

Shuta Ishikawa allowed two runs, one earned, over seven innings but came up empty.

Masataka Yoshida opened Orix’s eighth with his sixth home run on an off night for Moinelo, who walked two batters. The lefty got a double play and escaped the inning with the tying run at the plate when pinch-runner Yuya Ota was out trying to take second on a bounced pitch.

Yuma Tongu and Kotaro Kurebayashi singled to open the ninth. After a failed two-strike bunt, Yuma Mune doubled them both home over the drawn-in outfield to win it.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Naoyuki Uwasawa (2-2, 4.31) vs Keisuke Honda (0-1, 4.91)

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

Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 3.27) vs Kota Futaki (1-1, 2.42)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Hirotoshi Masui (1-2, 2.82) vs Nick Martinez (-)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (2-0, 1.62) vs Shinnosuke Ogasawara (1-2, 2.45)

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

Ko Nakagawa (0-0, 0.00) vs Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-0, 3.43)

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

Masashi Ito (2-0, 1.71) vs Koya Takahashi (1-0, 1.74)

Active roster moves 4/30/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/10

Central League

Activated

TigersOF53Kairi Shimada
BayStarsP35Tomoya Mikami

Dectivated

TigersOF97Dan Onodera
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesIF55Adeiny Hechavarria
LionsOF72Seiji Kawagoe
EaglesP40Takuma Uchima
FightersP49Katsuhiko Kumon
FightersC22Shinya Tsuruoka
FightersC30Shingo Usami
FightersIF2Kenshi Sugiya
FightersIF45Shota Hiranuma

Dectivated

HawksP18Shota Takeda
HawksP38Yuito Mori
MarinesIF23Ryo Miki
LionsOF51Manaya Nishikawa
FightersC10Yushi Shimizu
FightersIF9Takuya Nakashima
FightersOF7Haruki Nishikawa
FightersOF26Daiki Asama

NPB wrap 4-28-21

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Fighters rookie Ito gets 1st win

Fighters 4, Hawks 3

At Fukuoka’s PayPay DomeHiromi Ito (1-2), Nippon Ham’s top signing from last year’s draft, scattered five walks and four hits over six scoreless innings to get the better of 40-year-old SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada (2-2).

There were some tense moments at the end, however, as closer Toshihiro Sugiura gave up ninth-inning solo homers to Kenta Imamiya, his second, and Yuki Yanagita, his fifth. Wada allowed four runs on eight hits but no walks over five-plus innings while striking out six.

Kensuke Kondo delivered the big blow for the Fighters with a two-run sixth-inning homer, his fifth.

Lions 3, Marines 2

At MetLife Dome, Seibu’s Takumi Kuriyama snapped a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning leadoff homer, his first, off Lotte reliever Yuki Karakawa (1-1). Seibu middle reliever Kaima Taira (1-0), the Pacific League’s 2020 rookie of the year, worked around a leadoff double in the eighth to earn the win, while Tatsushi Masuda pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save.

Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima allowed two runs over six. He took a 2-1 lead into the home half of the sixth after Leonys Martin homered to open the top of the inning with his ninth home run of the season. After Kuriyama lined out to lead off the Lions’ sixth, Aito Takeda tied it with his fourth homer. Lotte’s Frank Herrmann pitched out of a two-on two-out jam in the seventh.

The Marines hit into two double plays in the first inning, thanks to a dropped throw by Seibu starter Tatsuya Imai on an attempted 3-6-1 double play and the scoring convention of giving a fielder an assist on outs that aren’t made because of a dropped throw. Imai allowed two runs on two hits and six walks while striking out six over seven innings.

He got out the Marines’ one-run first by an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play. According to Daily Sports, it was the sixth time a team has literally turned two, and the first since July 16, 2011, when the Hiroshima Carp mismanaged the feat.

Buffaloes0,Eagles 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Rakuten veteran Takahiro Norimoto duked it out for eight innings, when Eagles closer Yuki Matsui took over. The lefty overcame a pair of two-out four-pitch walks by striking out Takahiro Okada after falling behind 2-0 to end it as the clubs tied for the second straight night.

Yamamoto struck out five and walked one while allowing three hits in his 96-pitch outing. Norimoto threw 98 pitches, striking out six and walking one while allowing a pair of two-out hits.

Giants 7, Swallows3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yomiuri lefty Yuki Takahashi (5-0) became Japan’s first five-game winner by allowing three runs over six innings as Yoshihiro Maru and Kazuma Okamoto each homered and combined for five RBIs. Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 in his second game with a solo homer and a double.

Albert Suarez (1-2) served up 12 hits and issued a walk, allowing six runs over four innings. Tetsuto Yamada tied Swallows teammate for the Japan home run lead with his 10th home run, his fifth in five games.

Zelous Wheeler hit three doubles for the Giants, while new Swallows import Jose Osuna doubled and walked in four trips to the plate.

BayStars 13, Carp2, 8 innings, rain

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, catcher Hiroki Minei put DeNA up 2-1 in the second with a two-out, two-run double, Tyler Austin put the Carp in a hole with two-run third-inning home run, his second, and reliever Shingo Hirata ended a two-run fifth-inning Carp rally by getting a double play in relief of starter Masaya Kyoyama.

Carp lefty Hiroki Tokoda (1-2) gave up five runs, four earned over four innings. He retired the first five BayStars before Toshiro Miyzaki singled in the second and Neftali Soto doubled to set the table for Minei.

Austin went 3-for-4, while Soto went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in DeNA’s four-run seventh. Rookie Shugo Maki drove in four late runs with RBI doubles. New import Kevin Shackelford and lefty Edwin Escobar each worked a scoreless inning for the BayStars.

Dragons 6,Tigers 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Dragons right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-1) struck out seven over 5-1/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed five hits and a walk. Takuya Kinoshita put Chunichi on the board against right-handed side-armer Koyo Aoyagi (2-2) with a two-out second-inning RBI double and scored on an Akira Neo single.

The Dragons put the game away in the eighth on Nobumasa’s one-out solo homer, his first, and a Dayan Viciedo three-run shot, his first home run since Opening Day.

New Dragons Mike Gerber went 1-for-4 in his Japan debut. Jefry Marte singled and plated the Tigers’ only run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Jerry Sands doubled in the second, when the visitors’ rally was cut short on a good play by Dragons shortstop Yota Kyoda.

Aoyagi allowed two runs on a walk and three hits while striking out seven over six innings to take the tough loss.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Lions vs Marines: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Sho Ito (0-0, 1.26) vs Daiki Iwashita (2-2, 2.45)

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

Shota Takeda (1-1, 3.24) vs Takahide Ikeda (2-2, 3.42)

Center League

Dragons vs Tigers: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Koji Fukutani (1-1, 3.68) vs Chen Wei-Yin (-)

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

Shogo Tamamura (-) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-3, 4.15)

Active roster moves 4/28/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/8

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF98Estamy Urena
DragonsOF99Mike Gerber
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama

Dectivated

GiantsOF44Eric Thames
DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesC53Naoya Emura
EaglesOF25Kazuki Tanaka
BuffaloesP45Shota Abe

Dectivated

HawksOF24Yuya Hasegawa
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura
BuffaloesP29Daiki Tajima

NPB Wrap 4-27-21

Today’s Orix

“Rakuten didn’t catch up, Orix gave the game away. It’s like a weekly occurence, or ‘Today’s Orix.'”

–Former Rakuten Eagles manager Dave Okubo on Pro Yakyu News

Buffaloes 5, Eagles 5

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix third baseman Tatsuya Yamaashi’s defensive miss-steps—one miss-throw and one miss-step to be precise—contributed to three Buffaloes relievers allowing three ninth-inning runs to tie it

Eagles veteran Takayuki Kishi had his second straight mediocre start, allowing three runs over six innings, easily outpitched by Daiki Tajima, who gave up a run over seven while striking out seven and walking one.

Steven Moya went 3-for-4 with a double and a sixth-inning home run for Orix, while teammate Yutaro Sugimoto’s two-run eighth-inning homer made it a 5-2 game.

After a leadoff walk, Yamaashi’s wide throw on a potential double play ball pulled his teammate off the bag at second, bringing the tying run to the plate. After a walk loaded the bases, Yamaashi let another double play opportunity slip. He went to step on the bag for the force before throwing home for the tag. Unfortunately, Yamaashi neglected to step on the bag, and only managed to get the first out of the inning at home.

Daichi Suzuki followed with an RBI single and Hiroaki Shimauchi delivered a two-run double. Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui threw a scoreless ninth to lock down the tie.

Fighters 7, Hawks 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Nippon Ham’s Takayuki Kato (2-0) held SoftBank to two runs over seven innings, while Mizuki Hori and Bryan Rodriguez mopped up for the last-place Fighters.

Carter Stewart Jr. entered in long relief with the Hawks losing 3-0 in the fourth and got a lot of work, allowing four runs over 2-2/3 innings in which he allowed five hits, walked two and struck out two.

The Pro Yakyu News crew was fairly annoyed by Fighters skipper Hideki Kuriyama using Sho Nakata in the No. 2 spot, but stopped short of calling it an insult the way Alex Ramirez’s similar use of Yoshitomo Tsutsugo two years ago was treated.

Nakata walked three times doubled and scored two runs. So there.

Lions 3, Marines 1

At MetLife Dome, Towa Uema (1-1) held Japan’s best offense to a run over five innings and Seibu’s bullpen pitched four innings of shutout ball to beat Ayumu Ishikawa (1-1) and Lotte. Ishikawa allowed five hits and a walk and threw 101 pitches in the eight-inning complete-game loss.

Cory Spangenberg was moved up to the No. 2 spot, from where he reached base twice and scored. Reed Garrett, the first of four Lions relievers, worked around a one-out single in a scoreless fifth.

Spangenberg was run out on the bases in the first, but he and leadoff man Sosuke Genda set up the Lions decisive runs in the fourth. After they reached on singles, Genda took second on a fly to the track with Spangenberg taking second, allowing both to score on a Takeya Nakamura single.

Giants 14, Swallows 11

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, with the wind blowing out, there were seven home runs, including four in a ninth inning that started 8-8 and which both teams combined to score nine runs. Yomiuri’s Zelous Wheeler, who entered as a substitute after Eric Thames’ debut was cut short by a ruptured right Achilles tendon rupture, homered to lead off the ninth against Yakult closer Taichi Ishiyama (0-1).

The win lifted the Giants back into second place and snapped Yakult’s first five-game win streak in three years.

Wheeler entered in the bottom of the third and went 4-for-4, tacking on a single in his second at-bat in the ninth inning.

Scott McGough pitched a scoreless eighth for Yakult, but Giants lefty Kota Nakagawa (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth to earn the win, while Ryoma Nogami stopped the bleeding with three solid innings of middle relief.

Thames and Justin Smoak both made their long-awaited debuts. Smoak went 2-for-4 with a single in his first at-bat and another in Yomiuri’s two-run inning against tough middle reliever Noboru Shimizu. Thames struck out twice before injuring his right calf landing on the outfield turf on a Jose Osuna single.

It was one of two high bounces that helped keep the Swallows offense ticking along. The Swallows offense was powered mostly two homers, a single and a walk from slugger Munetaka Murakami, while Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto singled, doubled, walked, had a sacrifice fly and hit a two-run ninth-inning homer.

On Pro Yakyu News, Yutaka Takagi attributed the Swallows’ loss in the wild slug fest to a missed two-strike sacrifice in the eighth inning.

Dragons 2, Tigers 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi’s Sawamura Award winner Yudai Ono (1-2) allowed a run over eight innings to outduel Yuki Nishi (3-1). Hanshin rookie Teruaki Sato hit a massive bomb for his seventh home run, and the Tigers’ only score, in the second.

Dayan Viciedo and Akira Neo each had two hits for the Dragons to help set up their runs. Closer Raidel Martinez struck out three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to earn his second save.

“I earned my first win this season in my fifth game, that’s a whole lot better than last year when I didn’t win until my seventh, so I’m pretty pleased,” said Ono, who earned won his seventh straight decision against Hanshin in Nagoya.

Carp 10, BayStars 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Masato Morishita (3-2) went 2-for-3 with a an RBI single in the Carp’s seven-run third when Shinichi Onuki (1-2) was sent packing after 2-1/3 innings.

Rookie Ryutaro Hatsuki opened the big inning with an infield single and capped the rally with a three-run triple. Morishita struck out seven, hit a batter, and allowed three hits.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Lions vs Marines: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (1-2, 2.74) vs Kazuya Ojima (0-1, 4.30)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-2, 1.73) vs Takahiro Norimoto (2-1, 2.81)

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

Tsuyoshi Wada (2-1, 2.55) vs Hiromi Ito (0-2, 2.77)

Central League

Swallows vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (1-1, 2.05) vs Yuki Takahashi (4-0, 1.29)

Dragons vs Tigers: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Akiyoshi Katsuno (2-1, 4.19) vs Koyo Aoyagi (2-1, 2.08)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (1-1, 3.74) vs Masaya Kyoyama (0-2, 9.00)

Active roster moves 4/27/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/7

Central League

Activated

GiantsP23Ryoma Nogami
GiantsIF10Justin Smoak
GiantsOF44Eric Thames

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

HawksOF30Naoki Sato
FightersP58Masaki Tanigawa
FightersOF3Wan Po-jung 
BuffaloesP63Soichiro Yamazaki

Dectivated

HawksP28Rei Takahashi
BuffaloesP52Tyler Higgins

NPB Wrap 4-13-21

Starting pitchers

Flooding back

The DeNA BayStars and Chunichi Dragons each welcomed back two essential workers on Tuesday, as DeNA activated second-year slugger Tyler Austin and two-time Central League home run champ Neftali Soto while the Dragons called up catcher Ariel Martinez and closer Raidel Martinez.

The Yomiuri Giants introduced new sluggers Eric Thames and Justin Smoak, while the Hawks held a press conference for right-hander Nick Martinez, who joins this season from the Fighters.

Ishikawa wins debut

Marines 6, Eagles 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa (1-0) allowed a run over seven innings to outduel Takayuki Kishi (2-1) in his season debut. Ishikawa surrendered back-to-back two-out first-inning doubles to Hiroaki Shimauchi and Hideto Asamura. The right-hander allowed seven singles, and struck out five without issuing a walk, while his teammates scored four unearned runs against the Pacific League leaders.

Kishi surrendered Koki Yamaguchi’s game-tying solo homer in the second and allowed in a pair of unearned runs in the seventh on a walk, a two-out error, a passed ball and a Yamaguchi flare single. The Marines tacked on three more against former Padres and Lions submariner Kazuhisa Makita with the help of another two-out error. The Marines took a five-run lead into the ninth but had to call on closer Naoya Masuda with two outs and the bases loaded. The right-hander allowed an RBI single before closing out his second save.

Fighters 3, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, Journeyman right-hander Takahisa Ikeda (1-2) earned his first win since the Nippon Ham fighters acquired him in a March trade from the Rakuten Eagles. The 26-year-old allowed a run on three hits and two walks over six innings.

Seibu Lions starter Wataru Matsumoto (1-2) resumed living on the wild side of life with five walks, only the last of which cost him in a three-run Fighters sixth. After a fluke single, he hit a batter and walked another.

Matsumoto handed lefty Yasuo Sano a no-out, bases-loaded predicament and Kensuke Kondo didn’t try to do too much with a hittable pitch, lining it up the middle to tie it. Tetsu Miyagawa walked Sho Nakata, and surrendered a sac fly.

The Fighters’ bullpen has been making games lively recently, and Tuesday was no exception, allowing a run on two hits before earning his third save.

Buffaloes 7, Hawks 4

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Orix Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima (1-1) allowed five walks but just one run on one hit, Ryoya Kurihara’s first-ining RBI single, over 6-1/3 innings. The Buffaloes tied it in the second on a walk by lefty Shunsuke Kasaya (1-1) and three scratch singles before Keita Nakagawa doubled to open the sixth and scored on Takahiro Okada’s pinch-hit single off reliever Yuki Tsumori.

The Buffaloes blew the game open in a five-run ninth. Nakagawa had a a two-run double, while Adam Jones, who walked twice and scored the tying run in the second, singled in two more. The Hawks scored three in the ninth, the last coming on veteran pinch-hitter Yuya Hasegawa’s single off new pitcher Tyler Higgins, who then ended the game with a strikeout for his first save.

Giants 2, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri Giants right-hander Angel Sanchez (1-1) allowed a run on four walks and a hit batsman over 7-1/3 innings, and Taishi Hirooka broke a 1-1 seventh-inning tie with his first home run since he was traded from the Yakult Swallows in March.

Giants manager Tatsunori Hara pulled Sanchez after Dragons catcher hit a broken-bat fly to deep left. Lefty Kota Nakagawa entered and allowed the Dragons’ only hit before striking out two. Rubby De La Rosa worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth.

The Giants scored in the home half of the first on a walk and two singles off Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono (0-2), who allowed two runs and five total hits over seven innings.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Swallows 5, BayStars 1

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Albert Suarez (1-1) struck out nine while allowing two singles and a walk over six innings, while Kengo Ota broke a scoreless tie with a two-run fourth-inning double off Shinichi Onuki (1-1), who threw the world’s worst changeup to Munetaka Murakami. The slugger’s home run was his sixth, a three-run shot in the fifth. Tetsuto Yamada had three hits and scored twice for the Swallows.

The BayStars threatened to tie it in the top of the fifth after Suarez allowed a leadoff walk and a single but with one out and two runners in scoring position, the right-hander got a comebacker and a strikeout.

Pacific League

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

Takahiro Norimoto (2-0, 2.03) vs Kazuya Ojima (0-1, 5.25)

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (0-1, 2.70) vs Hiromi Ito (0-1, 2.08)

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

Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 4.26) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-1, 0.78)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Seishu Hatake (0-1, 7.36) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-0, 3.24)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Yuto Kanakubo (0-0, 0.00) vs Taisei Irie (0-2, 5.40)

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

Masashi Ito (1-0, 2.25) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-0, 3.09)

Active roster moves 4/13/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/23

Central League

Activated

GiantsP11Ryuta Heinai
GiantsIF00Dai Yuasa
DragonsP97Raidel Martinez
DragonsC57Ariel Martinez
BayStarsIF99Neftali Soto
BayStarsOF23Tyler Austin

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
LionsOF58Masato Kumashiro
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
FightersIF48Kyohei Ueno

Dectivated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura

NPB 2021: Jan. 7 news

Smoak and mirai

Justin Smoak has agreed to contract terms with the Yomiuri Giants, the two-time defending champs of Japan’s Central League announced Thursday. The contract is reportedly a two-year deal worth $3 million a year.

The Giants who in 2020 failed to win Japan’s pro baseball championship for a franchise-record eighth-straight year, have now brought in the 34-year-old switch-hitting first baseman Smoak, and proven slugging corner outfielder-first baseman Eric Thames.

Smoak is coming off a truly awful 36-game 2020 season in which he hit for decent power and struck out a lot but that was a small sample. The Giants are gambling he’ll revert to something like his major league career .322 OBP and .419 slug at home run-friendly Tokyo Dome, but $6 million seems a lot for that kind of production.

The acquisition will probably mean more time behind the plate for hard-hitting catcher Takumi Oshiro.

NPB offseason market place summary

Hawks add former Cup pitcher Rea

The Pacific League champion SoftBank Hawks said Thursday they have agreed to terms with 30-year-old right-hander Colin Rea while negotiations to re-sign lefty Matt Moore are not progressing as hoped Hochi Shimbun reported.

According to the Hawks, the 1.96-meter Rae has a 153-kph fastball he supplements with a curve, slider and change.

The Hawks wanted to re-sign Moore and were unable to reserve him, while they also non-tendered veteran right-hander Rick van den Hurk.

“He put up solid numbers in Triple A, and I’ve heard he has a strong desire to play in Japan. As he adapts to the different culture and playing syle here, that would be a plus,” Hochi quoted Hawks GM Sugihiko Mikasa as saying.

Swallows Murakami latest to test positive

Yakult Swallows first baseman Munetaka Murakami, the CL’s 2019 rookie of the year, and last year’s Best Nine winner at age 20, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the club announced Thursday.

Five players who had been in close contact with Murakami, including veteran outfielder Norichika Aoki, have all tested negative.

Murakami is the latest in what has been a daily reporting of new cases as Japan announced a new state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures. On Thursday, Tokyo announced 2,000 new infections for the first time.

On Wednesday, Hanshin Tigers pitcher Minoru Iwata‘s infection was announced, while Lotte Marines’ pitcher Ayumu Ishikawa was named on Tuesday.

Sumo grand champion Hakuho has also contracted the virus and has been hospitalized.