Eagles offense hiding from Tanaka
Masahiro Tanaka produced another solid start in which a couple of mistakes were exacerbated by good swings and bad luck, while his team extended its streak of not scoring while he’s the pitcher of record to 14 innings. He would have suffered his sixth loss had not the Rakuten bats come to life after Tanaka was out of the game, scoring six late runs in a 6-5 win over the Orix Buffaloes.
The win trimmed Orix’s Pacific League lead to 2-1/2 games over the Lotte Marines, with the Eagles percentage points back in third and the Hawks, 4-1 losers to Lotte, another two back in fourth.
In the CL, the Swallows and Tigers played a thriller to even their series at one game apiece, leaving the Giants 1-1/2 back and Yakult two games further back in third.
Eagles 6, Buffaloes 5
At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Rakuten’s offense waited until Masahiro Tanaka had left the game to show up, scoring five runs after Daiki Tajima held them scoreless for seven innings. With two outs and one on in the ninth, Yang Chi allowed a run on his second and third singles of the inning before Hiroaki Shimauchi tied it with his 11th home run.
Takero Okajima greeted new pitcher Taisei Urushihara with a tie-breaking home run, and the Eagles had their second five-run ninth inning in two nights. Yuki Matsui worked the ninth for the Eagles to earn his PL-leading 22nd save. Alan Busenitz (1-0) allowed a run in the eighth but earned the win.
Tanaka allowed three runs in his final inning, the sixth when a couple of good pitches and a couple of mistakes were hit and batted balls found space in the defense. Tanaka struck out six, walked one, and allowed five hits in yet another solid, but unrewarded outing.
Marines 4, Hawks 1
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Lotte rookie Tokito Kawamura (1-0) allowed a run over five innings in his first career start, and Mexico Olympic team member Brandon Laird hit a three-run homer off SoftBank’s Nao Higashihama (2-1), his 18th.
Fighters 2, Lions 1
At Asahikawa Starffin Stadium, Nippon Ham used six pitchers, with Robbie Erlin working three scoreless innings before Drew VerHagen (2-6) worked another two and allowed Seibu’s only run, while they each struck out four.
Kona Takahashi (7-4) gave up two runs over seven innings to take the loss.
Swallows 6, Tigers 4
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Daiki Watanabe, a career minor leaguer and reserve outfielder, doubled in the tie-breaking run in the eighth inning and scored an insurance run on a Tetsuto Yamada sacrifice fly. Yamada had given the Swallows a three-run first-inning lead with his 23rd home run, off new Tiger Akira Niho. The right-hander allowed four runs over five innings.
Hanshin’s Jerry Sands drove in two first-inning runs with his 15th home run, off Hirotoshi Takanashi, and saved two runs with a diving sixth-inning catch after the Tigers tied it 4-4 in the fourth on rookie Teruaki Sato’s two-run homer, his 20th.
Scott McGough entered in the ninth to shut it down, but gave up a booming pinch-hit single to Fumihito Haraguchi. On a single to right pinch-runner Takahiro Kumagai challenged Watanabe’s arm but was gunned down on a sweet throw just in time for third baseman Munetaka Murakami to lay on the tag.
McGough allowed two hits and a walk but no runs to earn his 16th save.
Giants 3, Dragons 1
At Tokyo Dome, Shun Yamaguchi (2-1) allowed a run over 6-2/3 innings, and Kazuma Okamoto and Yoshihiro Maru homered for Yomiuri, Okamoto, his Japan-leading 25th, and Maru, his 10th. Japan’s oldest player, 44-year-old Kosuke Fukudome, opened the scoring in the second with his first home run for Chunichi since 2007.
Thyago Vieira worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save.
Carp 3, BayStars 3
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Keita Sano’s eighth homer and Neftali Soto’s 14th, a two-run shot off Allen Kuri made it 3-0 in the fourth. Shota Imanaga allowed two runs over six-plus innings, Seiya Suzuki’s 13th homer trimming DeNA’s lead to 3-2 in the seventh. Edwin Escobar got out of the seventh, but Yasuaki Yamasaki blew the lead in the eighth, the tying run scoring on a Ryosuke Kikuchi single.
Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Swallows vs Tigers: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT
Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 7/7/2021