Umetsu, Yamanaka tangle in epic pitchers’ duel
Kodai Umetsu threw 10 scoreless innings for the Chunichi Dragons on Sunday but had to settle for a tie after Swallows submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka worked eight innings and Yakult’s bullpen supplied more in their 10-inning tie at Nagoya Dome.
Precise with his lively 93 mph fastball and splitter, while mixing in a big slider and an occasional cutter, the 23-year-old Umetsu missed bats or got called strikes on the outside corner en route to nine strike outs. He gave up five hits, one for a double, and walked two.
The 34-year-old Yamanaka, making his season debut, quickly locked in his command after issuing a first-inning walk to Yohei Oshima, who crushed one mistake just foul. By varying his 61-mph slider with a 71-mph screwball and a 76-mph fastball, he didn’t miss bats but he generated a mountain of weak contact.
The game teetered in the balance with two outs in the ninth, when Norichika Aoki put a good swing on a forkball that hung up slightly on the outside corner and drove it to left for a double and his second hit. The Dragons opted to fill first base with slugger Munetaka Murakami. Umetsu hung a splitter up a little to diminutive left-handed hitter Kotaro Yamasaki, whose liner ended up in the glove of second baseman Toshiki Abe for the third out.
Umetsu looked drained when he went out for the 10th inning, but maintained his concentration, throwing some good fastballs that proved too much for the reserve-filled Swallows lineup.
Rookie right-hander Noboru Shimizu overcame a poor first pitch in the ninth to Nobumasa Fukuda, who drilled it for an opposite-field double, while closer Taishi Ishiyama worked a 1-2-3 10th.
Carp youngster cuts Giants down to size
Lanky 21-year-old right-hander Atsushi Endo (2-1) allowed two runs on five hits over the distance for the Hiroshima Carp in a 9-2 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome.
Seiya Suzuki hit a two-run first-inning homer for the Carp off Toshiki Sakurai (2-2) in the first. Ryoma Nishikawa singled in another run in the second before Sakurai extricated himself from a no-out, bases-loaded situation, and Endo singled in a run in Hiroshima’s two-run third.
Nishikawa put the game on ice in the seventh with a three-run home run, the third homer in four games for the Carp leadoff man.
Oyama gets it done as Tigers pitchers scrape by
Yusuke Oyama’s one-out, two-run single proved to be the big hit on a night when big hits were hard to come by, lifting the Hanshin Tigers to a 3-1 win over the DeNA BayStars at Koshien Stadium.
Tigers lefty Yuta Iwasada surrendered a home run on the game’s first pitch to Takayuki Kajitani for the first of his three hits. No. 2 hitter Toshiro Miyazaki reached base three times, but the three, four, and five spots in the BayStars order went 0-for-12.
With the BayStars still leading 1-0 in the top sixth, the visitors loaded the bases on three walks from excitable right-hander Yusuke Baba to bring up Kajitani, who had yet to make an out. Baba popped him up on a first-pitch fastball on the hands.
BayStars right-hander Kentaro Taira had allowed two hits and hit a batter through the first five innings. But Kojj Chikamoto yanked a 1-0 slider away to right for a leadoff single. Veteran Yoshio Itoi lashed a hanging slider to right to put runners on the corners and pinch-runner Kairi Shimada stole second.
Taira worked away to Oyama, who chased 1-1 slider out of the zone but it off the end of the bat. The ball dropped abruptly in the outfield, giving right fielder Neftali Soto no chance to collect it before Shimada scored the go-ahead run.
Martin, Kakunaka rescue Marines
Leonys Martin and Katsuya Kakunaka each homered in the late innings as the Lotte Marines overcame a big day from Stefen Romero in a 7-6 come-from-behind win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.
With two outs and runners on the corners and Romero at the plate, lefty Toshiya Nakamura bounced a pitch, ran to cover home plate to find the runner on third had come too far down the line. In his eagerness to get the final out, Nakamura rushed his throw and it skipped away, allowing the first run to score.
Two pitches later, Romero tagged a pitch that missed up and away and drove it over the fence in center for his 10th home run and a 3-0 Eagles lead. Martin singled and scored the tying run in Lotte’s two-run sixth.
Veteran Takashi Toritani, making a rare start, nearly gave Lotte the lead, but a leaping grab by former Golden Glove-winning second baseman Kazuya Fujita ended the inning.
Romero restored Rakuten’s lead with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh, but the Eagles’ bullpen couldn’t hold it.
Kakunaka led off the home half with a home run off former Lion and Padre Kazuhisa Makita to make it a one-run game. Former Marines captain Daichi Suzuki, however, singled in a run in the top of the eighth before Martin sparked a three-run eighth with a leadoff home run.
Kakunaka tied it with an RBI single and Yudai Fujioka’s sac fly put the Marines ahead for good. Closer Naoya Masuda worked around a one-out single, striking out pinch-hitter Jabari Blash to end it and earn his 11th save.
Active roster moves 8/2/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/12