Tag Archives: Kazuhisa Makita

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. 20

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Norimoto-Yamamoto duel as advertised

Torai Fushimi hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning off Rakuten Eagles closer Alan Busenitz as the Orix Buffaloes salvaged a 2-2 10-inning tie at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi in which the teams’ two aces delivered.

Fushimi’s home run took Yoshinobu Yamamoto off the hook for the loss after he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out 10 over seven innings.

The Eagles took a 2-1 lead after sixth-inning singles by Ginji Akaminai and rookie Hiroto Kobukata. Akaminai smacked a mistake from Yamamoto through the infield, and Kobukata, one of the few Eagles to get quality swings off the Buffaloes’ ace, smoked a liner to left. Hideto Asamura’s miss-hit ball off the end of his bat just fell for a two-run double.

Right fielder Yuya Oda, who came within a hair of ending the inning on that fly, cut down Asamura for the final out at the plate.

Norimoto pitched out of a couple of early pickles, and was cruising until Steven Moya crushed a curveball for his ninth home run with two outs in the sixth, giving Yamamoto a 1-0 lead. The right-hander allowed five hits and a walk while striking out six over seven innings.

Eagles lefty Yuki Matsui walked two in the eighth but ended the inning by overpowering Moya with a fastball for a swinging strikeout after Orix wasted one out sacrificing in an attempt to tie it on the road.

Fushimi led off the top of the ninth by hammering a straight fastball down the pipe nearly to the Ferris wheel behind the left-field seating for his sixth home run.

Tyler Higgins worked a scoreless ninth for the Buffaloes. Eagles submariner Kazuhisa Makita pitched out of a two-on one-out situation in the 10th before Brandon Dickson sealed the tie in the bottom of the 10th with a 1-2-3 inning.

Hawks blow out Fighters

Shunsuke Kasaya (4-3) threw six scoreless innings, while Yuki Yanagita had four hits and scored three runs, and Yurisbel Gracial and Nobuhiro Matsuda each drove in three as the SoftBank Hawks whipped the Nippon Ham Fighters 11-2 at Sapporo Dome.

The win, combined with the Lotte Marines’ 2-1 loss to the Seibu Lions, increased the Hawks’ Pacific League lead to 6-1/2 games.

Kasaya, who threw five scoreless innings in his previous start, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out eight. The Hawks blasted Fighters right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-6) for seven runs over five innings.

Fighters right-hander Bryan Rodriguez allowed two runs in one inning of relief, marking his season debut after the team said in June he’d had surgery to clean out his left knee.

“He brought something and threw some really good pitches,” manager Hideki Kuriyama said of Rodriguez.

Christian Villanueva also returned to the Fighters lineup for the first time in two weeks and drew a walk in three plate appearances.

Wednesday’s game is going to see Hawks’ ace Kodai Senga take on first-year Fighters import Drew VerHagen.

Lions survive blown Masuda save

The Seibu Lions scored an unearned ninth-inning run to walk off 2-1 winners over the Lotte Marines at MetLife Dome after closer Tatsushi Masuda (4-0) allowed the tying run in the ninth.

Both starting pitchers went seven with Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa allowing a run, while Kona Takahashi left with a 1-0 lead.

Lions left fielder Corey Spangenberg helped keep the Marines off the board in the third by robbing Yudai Fujioka of a leadoff single. Marines second baseman Shogo Nakamura did the same in the home half with a good play to defuse a Lions rally.

Shuta Tonosaki broke the scoreless deadlock in the seventh. He singled with one out, went to third on a Kakeru Yamanobe run-and-hit single and scored on Yuji Kaneko’s booming sacrifice fly.

Lions right-hander Kaima Taira worked a scoreless eighth, but Masuda walked a batter and hit one before surrendering a Tatsuhiro Tamura RBI single.

Tonosaki, however, rescued the Lions in the home half when he doubled with two outs against the Marines’ Naoya Masuda (3-3) and scored when Leonys Martin and Nakamura collided in shallow right as Yamanobe’s fly fell untouched.

Swallows walk away with tie

Yomiuri Giants rookie of the year candidate Shosei Togo threw a career-high 134 pitches over six scoreless innings in which he struck out nine and walked six, but had nothing to show for it after three relievers combined to blow the save in the ninth in a 1-1 10-inning with the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Rubby De La Rosa issued a five-pitch leadoff walk and left with two outs and two on after a sacrifice, a single and a strikeout. Lefty Ryusei Oe walked Norichika Aoki on five pitches to load them up and Toyoki Tanaka walked Tetsuto Yamada on four pitches to tie it.

The Giants lead the second-place Chunichi Dragons by 10-1/2 games and their magic number to clinch their second-straight Central League championship is seven.

Dragons 6, BayStars 1

Koji Fukutani (7-2) allowed one run over six innings, and the Chunichi Dragons cashed in three of their six sixth-inning base runners to come from behind in a 6-1 win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome.

Fukutani allowed three hits, including Tyler Austin’s first-inning home run, and a walk, while striking out seven. Hiroto Fuku and Daisuke Sobue closed it out with one scoreless inning apiece for the Dragons. Dayan Viciedo went 3-for-5 with a double, a run, and two RBIs, while Toshiki Abe also had three hits, scored twice and drove in two.

Spencer Patton struck out three in the eighth for the BayStars, but allowed a run on an Abe double and a one-out Viciedo single.

Kuri holds off Tigers

Allen Kuri (7-5), who retired the first 14 batters he faced, allowed a run over 8-1/3 innings while the Carp scored four times in the third inning against Onelki Garcia (2-6), who was pitching for the first time in a month, in a 5-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium.

Kuri, who has allowed one run in each of his last three starts, gave up three of his four hits in the ninth inning, when Geronimo Franzua came in to record his 15th save.

Former Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa, who announced that this will be his last season, took the mound for the first time since Aug. 10 and worked a scoreless sixth inning.

Active roster moves 10/20/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/30

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
TigersP77Onelki Garcia
SwallowsP48Yuto Kanakubo

Dectivated

TigersP49Joe Gunkel
SwallowsP61Takuma Kubo

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP62Shoji Nagano
MarinesIF4Yudai Fujioka
MarinesOF0Takashi Ogino
FightersP40Suguru Fukuda
FightersP41Bryan Rodriguez
FightersIF44Christian Villanueva
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Oct. 21, 2020

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (7-5, 3.47) vs Kodai Senga (8-6, 2.65)

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

Hideaki Wakui (11-3, 2.95) vs Tsubasa Sakakibara (1-2, 4.13)

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

Shota Hamaya (2-2, 6.19) vs Wei-Yin Chen (0-1, 3.00)

Central League

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

Masanori Ishikawa (1-7, 4.92) vs Yuki Takahashi (1-0, 2.35)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (4-4, 3.70) vs Yuya Sakamoto (4-1, 5.24)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (6-8, 4.08) vs Atsushi Endo (3-5, 4.45)

NPB 2020 Sept. 25

Marines throw 1st punch

The Lotte Marines exploited a few bad pitches and a fumbled ground ball to put five runs off Matt Moore (3-2) in a 7-4 win over the SoftBank Hawks at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium on Friday.

The win moved the second-place Marines to within one game of the league-leading Hawks, who are now 3-9-1 against Lotte but have a winning record against the other four PL teams.

Former Marine Alfredo Despaigne popped the cork on this one in the second inning with a solo homer off Kota Futaki (5-2), who allowed four runs over 6-1/3 innings and earned the win.

Moore was hammered in one bad inning when the Marines hit their share of bad pitches, second baseman Ukyo Shuto dropped a ball after the first two runners reached and Leonys Martin hit a flare single when he was jammed inside with a good fastball.

Moore reasserted himself until he was finally pulled in the eighth inning after a leadoff single and a sacrifice with the Hawks trailing 5-4. Yuki Matsumoto allowed the inherited run and one more to score.

Marines right-hander Yuki Karakawa surrendered an inherited run in the seventh in relief of Futaki, but Hirokazu Sawamura and closer Naoya Masuda shut the door on their way out with Masuda earning his 24th save.

Spangenberg wins Padre challenge

Corey Spangenberg broke a 4-4 seventh-inning tie with a single off former San Diego Padres teammate Kazuhisa Makita (1-1) as the Seibu Lions beat the Rakuten Eagles 5-4 at MetLife Dome.

Ernesto Mejia drove in three runs with a pair of RBI singles for the Lions and took the Fighters by surprise with his baserunning and a great slide into home in the fifth inning. Lions starter Zach Neal, allowed four runs over five-plus innings but was taken off the hook by his teammates in a win that snapped the Eagles’ five-game winning streak.

Moya slams Fighters

Steven Moya homered for the third time in three games with a fourth-inning grand slam off Nick Martinez (1-5) as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 9-2 at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Opening Day starter Taisuke Yamaoka (2-3) delivered his third straight solid start, allowing two runs over 6-2/3 innings to earn the win as Orix improved to 7-2-1 over the last 10 games.

Sakamoto, Giants march on

Hayato Sakamoto drove in two runs and had two hits to move within 37 of 2,000 in his career, while cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto hit his Central League-leading 23rd home run, drove in four and drew three walks in the Yomiuri Giants’ 8-4 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo Dome.

The Giants lowered their magic number to 26 to clinch their second straight pennant and the 47th league championship.

Giants-Dragons highlights.

Swallows beat Tigers

Jerry Sands and Justin Bour each drove in a run for the Hanshin Tigers, who twice blew leads in a 6-3 loss to the Yakult Swallows on a day in which Hanshin dropped nearly a third of its active roster due to novel coronavirus infections.

Bour homered in the second and doubled with a man on in the sixth, when Hanshin wasted a two-on, no-out opportunity with two strikeouts and an out on the bases.

Norichika Aoki homered for the Swallows, while his former Kansas City Royals teammate Alcides Escobar singled in two runs in the fourth to tie it 3-3. Naomichi Nishiura singled in Aoki in the sixth to put the Swallows ahead against Yuki Nishi (7-4).

Takahiro Araki hit a two-run homer off Atsushi Nomi, who had been called up that day, to ice it in the seventh.

Tokoda puts brakes on BayStars

Hiroki Tokoda (2-6) allowed a run over seven innings and the Hiroshima Carp bludgeoned Shoichi Ino (6-5) for five runs in five-plus innings in a 5-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Tokoda, who last won on July 11, snapped a streak of five straight losing starts. The southpaw struck out nine and walked one while allowing eight hits.

Carp shortstop Kosuke Tanaka delivered the big blow for the hosts with a two-run homer in the third following Tokoda’s leadoff single.

Tigers’ show goes on

The Hanshin Tigers announced Friday that teamwide testing in the wake of a positive coronavirus test on the farm team, four first-team players, including captain and second baseman Kento Itohara, and two first-team staff members have also tested positive.

A number of Tigers players were deemed to have been in close contact with those infected, resulting in nine players being dropped from the active roster on Friday.

Despite the result, Hanshin’s game against the Yakult Swallows went on as scheduled at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, where the plague cats lost 6-3 to the hosts, with two runs scoring off Atsushi Nomi, one of Friday’s nine call-ups.

On Sunday when the team was in Nagoya, two groups of players including those who tested positive dined out.

The team allows players to eat out provided they do so in private rooms with no more than four individuals, but one of the groups included eight people.

The Tigers’ Western League farm game against the Chunichi Dragons on Friday was called off. Meanwhile, the Hiroshima Carp canceled their Western League game on Saturday against the Orix Buffaloes after Wednesday’s report that one of Orix’s minor league pitchers had tested positive.

The Tigers were the first team with reported infections when pitcher Shintaro Fujinami and two others tested positive in March. The Yomiuri Giants also reported two infections just prior to Opening Day.

Active roster moves 9/25/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/5

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki
TigersP14Atsushi Nomi
TigersP19Shintaro Fujinami
TigersP34Masaki Tanigawa
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
TigersIF2Fumiya Hojo
TigersIF4Takahiro Kumagai
TigersOF9Shun Takayama
TigersOF53Kairi Shimada
CarpP30Ryuji Ichioka

Dectivated

GiantsOF9Yoshiyuki Kamei
TigersP17Yuta Iwasada
TigersP18Kosuke Baba
TigersP56Keisuke Kobayashi
TigersP66Ippei Ogawa
TigersP67Suguru Iwazaki
TigersIF0Seiya Kinami
TigersIF33Kento Itohara
TigersIF55Naomasa Yokawa
TigersOF8Kosuke Fukudome
TigersOF25Taiga Egoshi

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP57Tsubasa Kokuba
LionsOF51Manaya Nishikawa
EaglesP17Takahiro Shiomi
MarinesP18Kota Futaki
MarinesOF0Takashi Ogino

Dectivated

LionsP21Ken Togame
LionsP36Sho Ito
MarinesOF10Shohei Kato

Starting pitchers for Sept. 25, 2020

Pacific League

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

Sean Nolin (1-2, 7.08) vs Ryota Ishibashi (1-4, 6.46)

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Toshiya Nakamura (2-3, 4.44) vs Nao Higashihama (4-1, 2.66)

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

Andrew Albers (3-6, 3.97) vs Kohei Arihara (5-7, 3.93)

Central League

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

Seishu Hatake (1-3, 4.56) vs Koji Fukutani (4-2, 2.42)

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

Albert Suarez (3-0, 1.86) vs Joe Gunkel (1-2, 2.96)

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

Masato Morishita (6-2, 2.40) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (5-4, 3.75)

NPB 2020 Sept. 22

Asamura barrage routs Marines

Hideto Asamura homered three times, walked, hit an RBI single and drove in seven to power the Rakuten Eagles to 12-4 come-from behind win over the Lotte Marines at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Asamura homered to lead off the Eagles’ third against Ayumu Ishikawa (6-3) and trim Lotte’s lead to a run. Daichi Suzuki’s RBI single tied it in the fifth, and Asamura followed with a two-run shot.

His RBI single opened the scoring in the Eagles’ three-run seventh, and his three-run shot in the eighth capped the scoring.

Johnson gets Sendai hero’s welcome

One day after he was acquired by the Eagles K.J. “Bearded Thunder” Johnson walked off the mound after one inning of relief to the kind of reception teammates normally reserve for pitchers throwing complete-game victories.

Perhaps, the Eagles players knew something the rest of us didn’t. Johnson (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 fifth to keep the game tied and ended up the winning pitcher one day after he moved over from the Central League’s Hiroshima Carp on a cash deal.

The last three Eagles relievers kept the Marines off the board as the game turned into a rout. Kazuhisa Makita worked a scoreless seventh. Journeyman right-hander Hiroaki Fukuyama, signed from the developmental roster following his release last winter, worked a scoreless eighth to protect a four-run lead.

Yamamoto beats Senga in 4th matchup

In a pitchers’ duel worthy of the hype Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (6-3) beat SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (6-5) 1-0 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The only run came, fittingly on a home run by the Buffaloes’ best hitter, Masataka Yoshida in the second inning. Senga allowed five hits without a walk while striking out nine over eight innings.

Yoshida, who now has 12 homers, had three of the Buffaloes’ six hits in the game.

Yamamoto allowed three singles and two walks over seven innings and struck out seven. Tyler Higgins got out of a tight spot in the eighth after a leadoff double and a sacrifice put the tying run at third with one out. Pinch-hitter Keizo Kawashima lined out to first and pinch-runner Taisei Makihara was doubled off third to end the inning.

Closer Brandon Dickson retired the heart of the Hawks order–thanks to a nice catch by shortstop Ryoichi Adachi to rob Akira Nakamura of a hit — and earn his 10th save.

Uwasawa tames Lions

Two inning-ending double plays helped Naoyuki Uwasawa (7-3) hold the Seibu Lions to a run over seven innings in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 5-1 win at MetLife Dome.

Uwasawa scattered six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Sho Nakata hit a two-run first-inning homer off Kona Takahashi (5-7) and Fighters catcher Yushi Shimizu, who helped give away a Fighters victory on Sunday, hit a two-run home run in the second.

Ono throws 3rd shutout, 7th complete game

Yudai Ono (6-5) responded to the end of his complete-game streak last week by starting another, striking out 11 in a two-hitter as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Yakult Swallows 3-0 at Nagoya Dome.

In his previous start, the lefty got the hook after allowing four runs over four innings. He allowed a two-out singled and a walk in the first, and a two-out single in the second before retiring the last 22 batters he face in a 122-pitch effort.

Forty-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (0-5) hung in for six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. Matt Koch, pitching for the first time since Aug. 29, allowed a run in the seventh, before Scott McGough finished up for the visitors.

For the second day in a row, Zoilo Almonte drove in Chunichi’s first run with a home run, making it 1-0 in the fourth.

Itoi wrecks BayStars

Yoshio Itoi swung a hot bat for the second straight day with three hits and three RBIs to lead the Hanshin Tigers to a 6-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Koshien Stadium on Tuesday.

Although the 39-year-old’s power numbers dropped off precipitously last season, he continues to walk a lot and rarely strike out, so even when he’s batting an unusually low .256, he has an on-base percentage over .360. His two-run double broke a 3-3 eighth-inning tie when both teams were trying their best to play for one-run and failed.

After a leadoff single, Koji Chikamoto, who had homered and singled so far, sacrificed. Normally reliable lefty Kenta Ishida (1-2) failed to get the force at second. The ensuing sacrifice put runners on second and third. With the BayStars outfield pulled in, Itoi easily found the gap for a two-run double.

Tigers starter Haruto Takahashi allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out eight over six innings. He pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth after Austin’s home run, and the BayStars managed just two infield singles over the final four innings.

Giants walk off against Carp

Geronimo Franzua (2-3) allowed the winning run to score in the ninth on two singles and an errant pickoff throw as the Yomiuri Giants took a 5-4 see-saw game against the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo Dome.

Giants starter Tomoyuki Sugano’s streak for consecutive winning decisions from Opening Day remained at 11 after he allowed three runs over eight innings.

Hisayoshi Chono, taken by the Carp last year from Yomiuri as free agent compensation for the Giants signing two-time Central League MVP Yoshihiro Maru, belted a three-run homer in the fourth off his former teammate.

Giants cleanup hitter, Kazuma Okamoto, however, put the hosts ahead 4-3 in the fifth with his 22nd home run.

Giants closer Rubby De La Rosa (2-0) allowed the Carp to tie it. A leadoff single set the table and Ryuhei Matsuyama singled home pinch-runner Kaisei Sone, who had been running with the pitch.

A leadoff single and a wild two-out pickoff throw by Franzua in the bottom of the inning set the table for Naoki Yoshikawa to win it with a single.

Active roster moves 9/22/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/2

Central League

Activated

GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
TigersP61Atsushi Mochizuki
SwallowsP33Matt Koch
SwallowsIF46Kengo Ota

Dectivated

GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
TigersP21Minoru Iwata
SwallowsP20Kazuki Kondo
SwallowsP68Hirofumi Yamanaka

Pacific League

Activated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura
EaglesP42DJ Johnson
EaglesP64Hiroyuki Fukuyama
MarinesC39Yuta Yoshida
FightersP39Ryo Akiyoshi

Dectivated

FightersP47Kenya Suzuki

Starting pitchers for Sept. 22, 2020

Pacific League

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

Hideaki Wakui (8-3, 3.07) vs Kazuya Ojima (5-6, 3.66)

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

Shota Hamaya (1-0, 6.14) vs Drew VerHagen (6-3, 3.69)

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

Shota Takeda (2-0, 2.95) vs Daiki Tajima (2-4, 3.57)

Central League

Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuto Taguchi (4-3, 4.50) vs Yusuke Nomura (5-1, 3.72)

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

Yuichiro Okano (2-2, 5.17) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (0-0, 3.60)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (6-5, 3.95) vs Taiga Kamichatani (1-1, 3.69)

NPB 2020 8-28 GAMES AND NEWS

Norimoto outduels Neal

Takahiro Norimoto allowed a run over six innings to outduel Zach Neal in the Rakuten Eagles’ 2-1 win over the Seibu Lions on Friday at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Norimoto (5-3) struck out five, while walking two and allowing five hits. The 29-year-old right-hander’s stuff has continued to improve incrementally from start to start. His splitter, a problem pitch at the start of the start of the season, was dynamite in concert with a good fastball.

Both he and Neal (2-4) located well and generated routine outs, but with Neal lacking Norimoto’s good swing-and-miss pitches, it was a surprise to see the Lions score first.

Corey Spangenberg, who’d been unable to touch Norimoto’s fastball and splitter his first time up, stayed on a high 0-2 fastball and lined it for a one-out sixth-inning double. With two outs, Fumikazu Kimura brought Spangenberg home from third with a double into the left-field corner.

The Eagles took the lead, however, in the bottom of the inning against Neal. Hiroaki Shimauchi barreled a 1-2 two-seam fastball up in the zone for a leadoff single. Stefen Romero walked, and Takero Okajima miss-hit a hanging slider but got enough of it to ground it past first for an RBI single. Neal jammed the next hitter but

“I am hitting well right now,” Okajima said. “Nori is pitching well so it feels like we can win. Now it’s on to the weekend games.”

In contrast to his first several starts, when Norimoto was having trouble both locating the splitter and getting the release he needed to make it tumble, it was working to perfection against the Lions and was unhittable by anyone gearing up for his heat.

“I was able to put guys away with the forkball, so I used it a lot,” Norimoto said. “I believe in the work I’ve been putting in, I’m confident that I come in to games well prepared.

When he came out after six, the Lions went from the frying pan into the fire, as Sung Chia-hao treated them to an even better fastball, a diving slider and a good change in a 1-2-3 seventh. Former Lion and Padre Kazuhisa Makita worked around a single in the eighth before Alan Busenitz overpowered the Lions in the ninth to earn his seventh save.

Takeda returns as Hawks crush Kaneko

Shota Takeda (1-0) worked seven innings in his first game of the season for the SoftBank Hawks, who crushed former Sawamura Award winner Chihiro Kaneko (1-2) for five runs in the first inning in a 9-1 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Sho Nakata singled in Taishi Ota in the first inning, but that was the Fighters’ high-water mark as Ryoya Kurihara highlighted the Hawks’ first with a three-run homer. He also walked twice and hit a solo homer, his 11th. Hawks superstart Yuki Yanagita, despite a stiff neck and legs belted his 19th homer in the second, yet another lunar launch to the remote reaches of the Casa de PePe’s right-field stands.

Takeda struck out six while walking one and allowing five hits.

Martin bombs Buffaloes

Leonys Martin drove in four runs on a pair of homers, both well back into the upper deck at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome in the Lotte Marines’ 5-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Ayumu Ishikawa (5-2) gave up three runs over six innings, while Buffaloes starter Sachiya Yamasaki (2-3) served up both of Martin’s bombs and all five Marines runs over six innings.

Frank Herrmann struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth for the Marines before Naoya Masuda picked up his 18th save in a perfect ninth.

Abe doubles down as Dragons beat Giants

Toshiki Abe had two big doubles, one in Chunichi’s three-run sixth and another that drove in two and broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh as the Dragons came from behind to beat the Yomiuri Giants 5-3 at Tokyo Dome.

Raidel Martinez, the sixth Dragons pitcher, worked a scoreless ninth to earn his ninth save.

Uemoto lifts Carp over Tigers

Takashi Uemoto drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Hiroshima Carp overcame a blown save to beat the Hanshin Tigers 4-3 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Uemoto, whose older brother Hiroki was manning second base for the Tigers, came up with two on and one out after singles by Ryuhei Matsuyama and Shogo Sakakura. As Japanese teams do, the Tigers pulled the outfield in to keep the runner on second from scoring on a single, and drove one over the left fielder for a “single.”

Sakakura’s two-run homer in the second gave Hiroshima rookie Masato Morishita a 3-0 lead against Yuki Nishi, the Tigers’ Opening Day starter. But Nishi shut the door after that and Yusuke Oyama powered Hanshin’s comeback, singling and scoring in the fifth and homering in the seventh. He then singled in the ninth off closer Geronimo Franzua (1-1) following Jerry Sands’ leadoff single to help set up the tying run.

Peoples wins 2nd straight

First-year import Michael Peoples (2-1) threw six scoreless innings to win his second-straight start and the DeNA BayStars held off the Yakult Swallows 6-2 at Yokohama Stadium.

The BayStars’ Neftali Soto had two hits, scored a run and drove in one, while Keita Sano’s three-run seventh-inning homer put the game away after the Swallows score in the seventh to make it a 2-1 game.

Swallows rookie Daiki Yoshida (1-4) allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.

Active roster moves 8/28/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/7

Central League

Activated

CarpC32Yuta Shirahama

Dectivated

CarpC31Yoshiyuki Ishihara

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP18Shota Takeda
MarinesP27Daiki Yamamoto
FightersP47Kenya Suzuki
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino

Dectivated

LionsP45Keisuke Honda
FightersP28Ryusei Kawano
BuffaloesP22Ryota Muranishi

Starting pitchers for Aug. 29, 2020

Pacific League

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

Takahiro Shiomi (3-4, 4.10) vs Sean Nolin (-)

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

Chang Yi (1-1, 2.70) vs Kota Futaki (1-2, 6.00)

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

Matt Moore (0-1, 4.50) vs Kohei Arihara (3-5, 3.93)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (1-0, 6.23) vs Yariel Rodriguez (2-0, 1.40)

BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shinichi Onuki (5-2, 1.81) vs Matt Koch (0-1, 13.50)

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

Daichi Osera (5-2, 3.00) vs Shintaro Fujinami (1-4, 3.78)

NPB 2020 8-13 games and news

Otake frustrates Buffaloes in season debut

Kotaro Otake made a lot out of a little on Thursday as his low-velocity deliveries frustrated hitters and helped earn him the win in his belated season debut as the SoftBank Hawks beat the Orix Buffaloes 3-1 to remain in a tie for first place in the Pacific League.

Otake, who has been with the minor league squad since feeling stiffness in his left elbow in camp and was 4-0 in the Western League, allowed five hits and a walk while striking out three over 5-2/3 innings. Although it was an impressive effort, Otake got off to a rocky start.

In the first inning, he challenged leadoff hitter Tatsuya Yamaashi with a 1-0 fastball down the pipe. But it wasn’t a very good one, and the light-hitting reserve showed what a professional hitter can do when giving a cookie, driving it well back in PayPay Dome’s left-field stands for his third career home run.

But otherwise, the Buffaloes hitters struggled to time Otake’s speeds: slow, slower, and molasses, as he mixed his 136-kph (84.5 mph) fastball with a two-seamer, a changeup and a curve. His occasional high misses didn’t hurt him as much as they perhaps changed batters’ eye levels. The end result was a lot of soft contact. Orix didn’t hit anything reasonably hard until Jones doubled with two outs in the fourth.

The Hawks wasted two walks in the first inning against Taiwanese right-hander Chang Yi but made up for it in the second. Kenta Imamiya led off with his fifth home run, Takuya Kai walked with one out and scored on leadoff man Ukyo Shuto’s two-out triple. Akira Nakamura singled and scored an insurance run in the fifth after a Ryoya Kurihara single and a Kenji Akashi double.

Chang (0-1) allowed six hits and three walks over his five innings. The right-hander, a cousin of NPB veterans Yang Dai-kang and Yang Yao-hsun, was taken by the Buffaloes in the first round of the 2016 developmental draft out of Japan University of Economics.

Otake issued his only walk of the game in the sixth and after retiring slugging left-handed hitters Masataka Yoshida and Takahiro Okada, was pulled for a righty with Jones coming to the plate. Arata Shiino got out of the inning on five pitches, and Yugo Bando, Livan Moinelo and Yuito Mori finished up with a scoreless inning each. Mori earned his 12th save.

Eagles keep pace with win over Lions

Rookie Hiroto Kobukata reached base four times and scored three runs for the Rakuten Eagles in their 7-4 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo. The win kept the Eagles tied with the Hawks for the PL lead.

Former closer Yuki Matsui allowed three runs on six hits over three innings. He left the game with a 4-3 lead and right-hander Tomohito Sakai retired all six batters he faced over two innings to earn the win. Ryosuke Tatsumi broke a 1-1 tie in the third with his fifth home run, a leadoff shot off Lions rookie Kaito Yoza (2-4).

Yoza allowed four runs over 2-1/3 innings as the Lions needed eight pitchers to get them through the night.

J.T. Chargois worked a scoreless eighth for Rakuten, while submarine right-hander Kazuhisa Makita worked the ninth to earn his first save in Japan since he saved three in 2015 for the Lions.

Marines power past Fighters

Leonys Martin’s fifth home run in six games was one of three solo shot the Lotte Marines hit in a three-run fifth en route to overcoming a five-run deficit in their 8-5 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

After Tsuyoshi Sugano doubled home Seiya Inoue with the tying run in the sixth, Martin reached on an error in the seventh and scored the go-ahead run.

The Marines comeback made a winner out of Jose Flores (1-1). The 31-year-old right-hander from Venezuela spent 10 years in the minors with the Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. The Marines acquired him from the Toyama Thunderbirds of Japan’s independent Baseball Challenge League.

Giants bang, bloop their way to comeback win

Yoshiyuki Kamei’s ninth-inning pinch-hit single lifted the Yomiuri Giants to a 4-3 walk-off win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

Lefty Cristopher Mercedes allowed three doubles and a walk in a three-run first, and spent his remaining five innings on the mound pitching with me on base but allowing no more runs.

The Giants closed within a run on back-to-back two-out solo homers in the fourth inning from Yoshihiro Maru and Hiroyuki Nakajima. The hosts tied it in the fifth on a two-out bloop RBI single by cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto. Swallows right-hander Hirotoshi Takanashi allowed three runs over six innings, and two relievers kept it tied until right-hander Yuma Oshita (0-1) allowed a leadoff single.

After a stolen base, Kamei pinch hit and got enough of the first pitch thrown by Scott McGough to hit a fly into shallow center that won it.

ToSpo pandering to the populists

There’s always some writer somewhere who’ll put a populist or racist spin on something they probably don’t understand. The Tokyo Sports used to have a pretty sordid reputation for writing the most loathsome stuff and one writer of theirs seems keen to resurrect that image when he wrote a story titled “Manager Hara spills the real truth behind Parra’s substitution.”

Hara pulled Gerardo Parra out of the game during the top of the sixth inning, and Tokyo Sports would like us to think because he was solely because he wasn’t hustling on a foul fly that dropped safely.

The manager said, “You saw what happened. It looked he was favoring his leg,” although the Tokyo Sports neglected to mention that last bit. Instead, it implied Parra was fit because no trainer came out and didn’t look hurt. They then reminded readers of the time when a Japanese star was not hustling and was sent home by Hara, implying that was the reason here.

The real truth is the thing that story wasn’t interested in when a pile of made-up shit made a better headline.

Yamada rejoins Swallows

Yakult Swallows second baseman Tetsuto Yamada was activated on Thursday and practiced as usual with the team before their game against the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome, according to the Nikkan Sports.

He was deactivated on July 27, ostensibly due to lack of upper body fitness, whatever that means.

Despaigne, Gracial to start on farm

Big-hitting Cubans Alfredo Despaigne and Yurisbel Gracial practiced with the Hawks Western League farm team on Thursday, and are scheduled to play in Friday’s home WL game against the Hiroshima Carp, the Nishinihon Sports reports.

The pair had gone to Cuba train with the national team in March ahead of World Baseball Classic qualifying. After qualifying was canceled, they were unable to travel to Japan until Havana’s airport re-opened for international travel in July.

The two arrived in Japan last month despite Japan’s ban on foreign nationals entering the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. After they completed quarantine they were to train with the farm team until minor league operations were suspended after infections were discovered at the minor league facility. Instead, they traveled to Sendai last week and trained with the first team.

Tigers drop Fujikawa

The Hanshin Tigers have deactivated 40-year-old reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. According to the Hochi Shimbun, the move was made due to the dreaded “lack of upper body fitness” although the article specified the afflicted area to be the right side of his upper body.

Fujikawa, who converted every save opportunity he faced after being restored to the closer’s role last summer for the first time in seven seasons, has been largely ineffective this year. He was deactivated on July 12 due to right shoulder fitness.

Active roster moves 8/13/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/23

Central League

Activated

SwallowsIF1Tetsuto Yamada

Dectivated

TigersP22Kyuji Fujikawa
CarpP58DJ Johnson
DragonsP25Yu Sato
DragonsP59Takumi Yamamoto
DragonsIF7Akira Neo
SwallowsP24Tomoya Hoshi

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP10Kotaro Otake
MarinesP24Yusuke Azuma
BuffaloesP98Chang Yi

Dectivated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
MarinesP41Kakeru Narita
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota

Starting pitchers for Friday, Aug. 14, 2020

Pacific League

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

Zach Neal (2-2, 4.47) vs Takahiro Norimoto (3-3, 3.66)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ayumu Ishikawa (2-2, 3.83) vs Ryuji Kitaura (-)

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

Nao Higashihama (2-1, 3.02) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (2-1, 4.40)

Central League

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

Shosei Togo (4-2, 2.86) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-2, 2.42)

BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shinichi Onuki (4-2, 1.91) vs Daiki Yoshida (1-1, 5.40)

Tigers vs Carp: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shintaro Fujinami (0-3, 2.57) vs Masato Morishita (3-2, 2.87)