Tag Archives: Kazuma Okamoto

NPB 2020 Oct. 22

Thursday’s games

Other news

Ono hurls 6th shutout, scoreless streak at 45

Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono (10-5) went the distance for the 10th time on Thursday to win a 1-0 nail-biting Central League win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome.

Ono allowed six hits but no walks while striking out six. He also started two double plays, made a slick behind-the-back catch for the second out of the ninth inning and notched a big strikeout to end the eighth inning after the BayStars put two runners in scoring position.

Ono’s behind-the-back catch.

After winning a tough battle to strike out pinch-hitter Taishi Kusumoto with his 111th pitch, the extraordinarily cool Ono slapped his glove and pumped his fist as he returned to the dugout.

Ono ends the 8th inning with some emotion.

The Dragons loaded the bases with no outs in the first against BayStars starter Kentaro Taira (3-5) but only managed to score on a Dayan Viciedo sacrifice fly.

Taira allowed four hits and a walk while striking out six over seven innings. Edwin Escobar worked a scoreless ninth for the BayStars.

Okamoto powers Giants past Swallows

Yomiuri Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto homered and drove in three runs while Angel Sanchez (8-3) and three relievers combined on a four-hit 6-0 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Swallows rookie Daiki Yoshida (2-7) took the loss, allowing four runs in two-plus innings. He walked in the game’s first run with a bases-loaded walk to Zelous Wheeler.

Kazuma Okamoto’s home run

Carp’s Yabuta ends victory drought

Kazuki Yabuta (1-2) allowed two runs over six innings to earn his first win in two seasons, and Jose Pirela put the game on ice with his 11th home run, a three-run shot in the ninth as the Hiroshima Carp beat the Hanshin Tigers 9-5 at Koshien Stadium.

Pirela was walked intentionally in the Carp’s two-run first and also doubled and singled. Fumiya Haraguchi hit a three-run pinch-hit homer for the Tigers to make it a 6-5 game in the sixth.

Moore pitches Hawks to 11th straight win

Matt Moore (6-3) struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings to outpitch 19-year-old rookie Kosei Yoshida (0-1) in a 4-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

The win was the Hawks’ 11th straight as the three-time defending Japan Series champs drive toward their first Pacific League pennant in three years. The win, and the Marines’ loss, dropped SoftBank’s magic number to clinch to six.

Yoshida, the standout pitching star of the 2018 national high school championships at Koshien, was the Fighters’ second pick that year. He went 1-3 in four starts last season. On Thursday, he allowed four runs, two earned, in six innings.

Hawks closer Yuito Mori, pitching for the first time in nine days—when the Hawks last had a save opportunity to give him—allowed Sho Nakata’s 30th home run with one out before earning his 28th save with the potential tying runs on base.

Neal, Spangenberg, Tonosaki hold off Marines

Zach Neal (5-7) allowed a run in five innings, and was backed by a two-run Corey Spangenberg home run and a three-run Shuta Tonosaki blast in the Seibu Lions’ 7-4 win over the Lotte Marines at MetLife Dome.

Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima (7-8) allowed six runs over five innings. The Marines came back in a three-run sixth against Reed Garrett, but Tetsu Miyagawa, Ryosuke Moriwaki and Kaima Taira finished up with one scoreless inning apiece. After a couple of shaky outings, regular closer Tatsushi Masuda was given a breather as the rookie Taira earned his first save of the season and the second of his career.

Ernesto Mejia doubled to lead off the eighth to set up a Lions insurance run. In addition to his home run, Sotozaki singled, doubled, was hit by a pitch and contributed to the Marines’ tying the game 1-1 with an error in the outfield.

Romero blasts Buffaloes

Stefen Romero homered twice walked and drove in four runs as the veteran right-hander Takayuki Kishi (5-0) overcame a three-run Adam Jones home run in the Rakuten Eagles’ 6-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Romero’s 22nd home run, a three-run shot off lefty Daiki Tajima (4-6) made it 5-0 in the fifth innings. Adam Jones went deep off Kishi with his 12th homer in the top of the sixth. Romero hit his 23rd in the eighth off Yu Suzuki to complete the scoring.

Nomi joins Fukudome inTigers checkout line

Hanshin Tigers lefty Atsushi Nomi, who was for many years the ace of the iconic Central League club, revealed Thursday that the Tigers do not expect to keep him for next season, Sponichi Annex reported.

The 41-year-old, who in 2004 selected the Tigers when he turned pro the following year out of corporate league club Osaka Gas, has a career record of 103-94. Since 2018, he has been working out of the Tigers bullpen.

In a comment released by the club, Nomi said, “It is true I’ve spoken with the team about the future, but I won’t be the one to repeat the content of that discussion.”

“The one thing I want to say to all the fans is that this year will be last to play before everyone wearing a Tigers uniform.”

The news came a day after sources revealed that Japan’s oldest player, 43-year-old outfielder Kosuke Fukudome was told this week that he is surplus to the team’s needs next year.

Bour, Martin deactivated

Hanshin Tigers first baseman Justin Bour was deactivated on Thursday, as was outfielder Leonys Martin of the Pacific League’s Lotte Marines.

Martin sprained his left ankle running to first base in Wednesday’s game against the Seibu Lions and was unable to leave the field without assistance. The right fielder, who joined the club in the summer of 2019, has 25 home runs this season.

Bour’s deactivation is his first since he joined the Tigers over the winter. He took part in Thursday’s pregame practice as usual.

Active roster moves 10/22/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/1

Central League

Activated

BayStarsOF61Tatsuo Ebina
CarpP23Kazuki Yabuta
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga

Dectivated

BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
TigersIF41Justin Bour
CarpP58Reira Fujii
CarpOF38Koki Ugusa
SwallowsC30Akihisa Nishida

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesOF25Hiromi Oka
MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano
FightersP18Kosei Yoshida

Dectivated

EaglesP43Sung Chia-hao
MarinesIF68Kenji Nishimaki
MarinesOF79Leonys Martin

Starting pitchers for Oct. 22, 2020

Pacific League

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

Yuya Fukui (0-4, 5.26) vs Nick Martinez (2-6, 4.57)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Taisuke Yamaoka (2-5, 2.78) vs Kota Futaki (7-2, 3.07)

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

Shuta Ishikawa (8-3, 2.63) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 5.50)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (3-2, 3.45) vs Yuki Nishi (10-4, 2.05)

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

Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-2, 4.70) vs Yariel Rodriguez (3-4, 4.23)

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

Masaya Kyoyama (1-1, 6.50) vs Hiroki Tokoda (3-7, 5.77)

NPB 2020 Oct. 8

Thursday’s games

Other news

Hawks bullpen salvages draw

A trio of SoftBank Hawks relievers pitched out of late-inning jams to preserve a 4-4 10-inning tie after the Seibu Lions’ Hotaka Yamakawa leveled the scores with a three-run seventh-inning home run at MetLife Dome.

Shuta Ishikawa worked seven innings and allowed seven hits and three walks. The Hawks battered Lions starter Tatsuya Imai for four runs on eight hits and a walk over three innings, but six Lions relievers allowed just four base runners the rest of the way.

Ernesto Mejia doubled to open Seibu’s second inning and scored the tying run on a Takumi Kuriyama single.

Ishikawa nearly got out of the seventh unscathed after a Tomoya Mori leadoff single. He struck out Mejia and survived a blast from Kuriyama that fell short of the warning track. But Corey Spangenberg singled and Ishikawa hung a curve to Yamakawa that he hit well back among the fans in left field.

Livan Moinelo worked around a leadoff single in the eighth. Closer Yuito Mori came on in the ninth and surrendered a leadoff double to Kuriyama. A sacrifice put the go-ahead run on third and the Hawks loaded the bases intentionally. Mori fell behind Fumikazu Kimura 2-0 but struck him out before ending the inning on a fly to right.

Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda worked a scoreless ninth and Reed Garrett pitched the 10th to snuff out the Hawks’ chance of victory.

Submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi walked the first two hitters in the 10th but struck out Mejia for the first out before preventing the Lions from walking off.

Kishi pitches Eagles to victory

Takayuki Kishi (3-0) worked into the seventh inning for the first time this season and Hideto Asamura had a two-run single in the Rakuten Eagles’ 4-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

Kishi allowed four hits and two walks while striking out seven. Yuki Matsui struck out three of the four batters he faced in relief in 1-1/3 perfect innings before handing it over to Alan Busenitz, who did the same in the ninth for his 17th save.

Nick Martinez (1-6) got out of a first-inning jam but had less luck in the fourth when the Eagles scored on three straight hits to set up a four-run inning. Martinez, who allowed six hits and four walks, walked Daichi Suzuki with the bases loaded before Asamura capped the rally with a two-run single.

Giants survive late onslaught

Angel Sanchez (7-3) allowed two runs over seven innings for the Yomiuri Giants, who survived a late challenge to hold off the DeNa BayStars 9-7 at Tokyo Dome.

Kazuma Okamoto and Yoshihiro Maru each hit two-run home runs as the Giants built a 9-1 lead by the fourth inning. Okamoto’s was his league-leading 25th, while Maru’s was his 21st.

BayStars right-hander Shoichi Ino (6-6) allowed four runs over two innings to take the loss, although his teammates nearly took him off the hook in a five-run eighth inning.

Tyler Austin and Jose Lopez each hit two-run homers. Austin’s was his 15th in just his 43rd game, while Lopez’s was his third two-run shot of his old team in the series. Daisuke Nakai, another former Giant, capped the rally with an RBI single.

Spencer Patton worked the eighth to keep it close but Giants closer Rubby De La Rosa ended the game with the tying runs on to secure his 16th save.

Gerardo Parra returned to duty for the first time since July 22, but went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts for the Giants.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Tigers’ Nishi strikes out 12

Yuki Nishi (9-4) struck out 12 over eight innings for the Hanshin Tigers in a 9-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Nishi allowed a run on four hits and a walk, while his teammates took batting practice against finesse right-hander Yusuke Nomura (6-3).

Nomura allowed eight runs over five-plus innings. Fumiya Hojo put the visitors up for good with a two-run first-inning homer, while Jerry Sands and Justin Bour homered back-to-back to open the Tigers’ six-run sixth.

Active roster moves 10/8/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/18

Central League

Activated

GiantsOF88Gerardo Parra
TigersP20Kenichi Nakata
TigersP92Kazuo Ito

Dectivated

GiantsP28Kazuto Taguchi
BayStarsP19Yasuaki Yamasaki
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersP93Masaki Ishii
DragonsOF31Masaru Watanabe
SwallowsC63Suguru Ino

Pacific League

Activated

FightersP27Nick Martinez

Dectivated

BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers
BuffaloesIF64Shinya Hirosawa
BuffaloesOF00Hayato Nishiura

Starting pitchers for Oct. 7, 2020

Pacific League

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

Toshihiro Sugiura (6-3, 2.80) vs Daiki Tajima (3-4, 3.72)

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

Takahiro Shiomi (4-6, 4.35) vs Zach Neal (3-6, 4.89)

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

Matt Moore (4-2, 3.04) vs Kota Futaki (5-2, 3.55)

Central League

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

Joe Gunkel (1-3, 3.62) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (6-5, 4.56)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (3-6, 5.66) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-1, 4.40)

NPB 2020 Oct. 5

PL

No games scheduled

Tuesday’s games

CL

  • Giants vs BayStars
  • Dragons vs Swallows
  • Carp vs Tigers

PL

  • Fighters vs Eagles
  • Lions vs Hawks
  • Marines vs Buffaloes

Other news

Tigers’ Takahashi deals out Giants

Lefty Haruto Takahashi (4-3) struck out 14 over the distance in the Hanshin Tigers’ 6-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants on Monday to earn a split of their four-game series at Koshien Stadium.

Despite giving both Justin Bour and Jerry Sands the night off, the Tigers took the attack to the visitors with 13 hits and four walks. Yusuke Oyama went 3-for-4 with a homer, a walk, three runs, and two RBIs.

He led off the fourth with a single and scored the tying run from first when Fumihito Haraguchi followed with a double. With two outs in the fifth, Yoshio Itoi singled and scored on Oyama’s 24th home run, tying him with Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto for the league lead.

Giants starter Toshiki Sakurai (2-3) lasted five innings.

Imanaga likely out for season

DeNA BayStars Opening Day starting pitcher Shota Imanaga has had surgery to clean out his left shoulder, the team said Monday. He is expected to miss two to three months.

The 27-year-old southpaw is 5-3 this season with a 3.23 ERA. He was deactivated on Aug. 16 with discomfort in the shoulder.

“I decided to have shoulder surgery after a really difficult deliberation,” he said in a Japanese language comment released by the team.

Active roster moves 10/5/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/15

Central League

Activated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
TigersP93Masaki Ishii

Dectivated

TigersP91Yuya Yokoyama
CarpP43Sotaro Shimauchi
CarpIF96Alejandro Mejia
DragonsP38Takahiro Matsuba
SwallowsP28Daiki Yoshida

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

LionsOF68Junichiro Kishi
EaglesP72Shun Ikeda
EaglesIF36Yasuhito Uchida
MarinesP46Daiki Iwashita
FightersP28Ryusei Kawano
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi

Starting pitchers for Oct. 5, 2020

Pacific League

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

Naoyuki Uwasawa (7-4, 2.37) vs Takahiro Norimoto (5-4, 3.67)

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

Kona Takahashi (5-8, 4.52) vs Kodai Senga (7-5, 3.01)

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

Ayumu Ishikawa (7-3, 4.20) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-3, 2.43)

Central League

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

Tomoyuki Sugano (12-0, 1.76) vs Yuya Sakamoto (3-0, 5.13)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (2-4, 4.46) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-4, 3.70)

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

Allen Kuri (5-5, 3.97) vs Koyo Aoyagi (6-7, 4.29)

NPB 2020 Sept. 30

Other news

Ono throws 4th shutout

Yudai Ono (7-5) threw his second straight shutout, allowing two hits and no walks, while reaching base twice and driving in two runs in the Chunichi Dragons’ 9-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium on Wednesday.

Ono pounded the zone with his fastball kept the Tigers off balance with a two-seamer that sank and tailed away from the right-handed hitters. He didn’t get to three balls on a batter until the ninth inning. It was his first win at Koshien in

“I was able to pitch like this because the fielders made the plays they did,” Ono said.

“For the most part I’ve been able to challenge hitters in the zone, keep my pitch count from getting up around 120 or 130. Working in the zone allows me to do it (complete games).”

The win at Koshien was Ono’s first in five years and his first at an outdoor park in three.

Ono said he didn’t used to like the Koshien mound, which was notorious for being soft and low. But, like the mounds in Hiroshima, Tokyo Dome and Nagoya Dome, Koshien’s mound has been built using harder American clay bricks since last year, making it more uniform.

“The mound here didn’t use to be very good, although I didn’t have a particularly bad feeling about it,” Ono said. “I did think about that fact, and I wanted to end that streak. The team also hadn’t won here this year.”

Ono singled in the second with two outs, a flare that fell just beyond center fielder Koji Chikamoto. With two on in the fifth, he hit another little fly to center, and Chikamoto went all out to get it and missed. The ball rolled toward the fence for a two-run triple.

Veteran Ishikawa earns 1st win

Forty-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (1- ) allowed a run over 5-2/3 innings and Munetaka Murakami belted his 19th home run, a three-run third-inning shot off Taiga Kamichatani (2-2) in the Yakult Swallows’ 5-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium. Taichi Ishiyama recorded his 14th save.

Kamichatani allowed five runs over three innings.

Nomura snaps Carp losing streak

Yusuke Nomura (6-2) tossed five scoreless innings despite allowing base runners in every inning, and Seiya Suzuki blasted a two-run home run as the Hiroshima Carp ended a four-game losing streak to the Yomiuri Giants with a 4-1 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

The Carp scored opened the scoring in the fifth inning against Kazuto Taguchi (5-4). One run scored when the pitcher was unable to start an inning-ending double play, and Seiya Suzuki reached the seats with a two-run home run two pitches later.

Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto hit his league-leading 24th home run.

Ojima outduels VerHagen

The Lotte Marines moved to within winning-percentage points of first place with a 2-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome. Kazuya Ojima (6-6) throwing six scoreless innings to outduel Drew VerHagen (6-5).

Shuhei Fukuda singled in the first, stole second and broke the ice on a Leonys Martin single. Tsuyoshi Sugano doubled to open the seventh, was sacrificed to third and scored on a Yudai Fujioka squeeze.              

Yuki Karakawa worked a scoreless seventh for the visitors, but Hirokazu Sawamura allowed a run on two hits and a walk in the eighth. Naoya Masuda took out the bottom of the order in the ninth to record his Japan-best 26th save.

Wakui wins 10th as Takeda implodes

Hidaki Wakui (10-3) went eight innings, while the Rakuten Eagles took batting practice against SoftBank Hawks right-hander Shota Takeda, who lost control and surrendered seven runs in one-plus inning, the briefest start of his career, in a 9-3 win at Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park Miyagi.

Masui turns back the clock

Hirotoshi Masui (1-2) rocked his starting assignment like it was 2016, throwing six scoreless innings as the Orix Buffaloes shut out the Seibu Lions for the second straight day, 5-0 at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

In 2016, Masui was dropped from his role as the Nippon Ham Fighters’ closer and resurrected that summer as an effective starter in a patchwork rotation while Shohei Ohtani recovered from blisters that limited him to an offensive role. Masui earned his first win as a starter since 2016, despite issuing five walks.

The Buffaloes finished September with a1 13-11-2 record.

Aacting manager, Satoshi Nakajima said, “I think we’re doing well by not thinking beyond the game in front of us.”

“We didn’t start the season well, but we seem to have rallied. I want to win and build some momentum.”

Lions rookie Shota Hamaya (2-1) settled down after allowing two runs in the second and two more in the third, which Adam Jones capped with his 11th home run.

“We are not hitting that badly, but when you get shut out two days in a row, I think guys are trying to do much, trying too hard and perhaps getting a little too tight,” Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji said.

Tigers approach viral cluster status

A member of the Hanshin Tigers’ first-team staff has tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. It is the ninth member of the organization to test positive over the past week.

The Japanese government defines any body where 10 infections occur to be a cluster. So far five players and four staff members have tested positive.

The staff member who tested positive on Tuesday did not travel with the team to Tokyo last week, and is now resting at home. On Wednesday, he reported a fever of 37.5 C.

Leonys Martin blasted another long home run, his 24th, with two outs in the ninth off Ryo Akiyoshi to score an insurance run that came in handy after Marine closer Naoya Masuda surrendered a run in the home half on three singles.

Tigers add 2 lefties from “D” roster

The Hansin Tigers signed two players from the developmental roster on Wednesday, the deadline for making non-waiver roster additions. The two were 26-year-old lefty Yuya Yokoyama, the Tigers’ injury plagued 2014 top draft pick, and 25-year-old southpaw Masaki Ishii, whom they took in the first round of the 2017 developmental draft.

Yokoyama is 2-2 in 13 Western League games this season, having allowed five home runs and 19 walks over 47 innings while striking out 22.

Ishii has struck out 10 batters in 17 innings, while walking seven. He has not allowed a home run.

Active roster moves 9/30/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/10

Central League

Activated

TigersC44Ryutaro Umeno
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga

Dectivated

TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
SwallowsC32Naoki Matsumoto

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesOF51Yuya Ogo
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui
BuffaloesOF41Kodai Sano

Dectivated

EaglesIF5Eigoro Mogi
BuffaloesOF25Ryo Nishimura

Starting pitchers for Oct. 1, 2020

Pacific League

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

Toshihiro Sugiura (5-3, 2.95) vs Daiki Iwashita (5-6, 4.58)

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

Takayuki Kishi (2-0, 7.06) vs Shuta Ishikawa (6-3, 2.44)

Buffaloes vs Lions: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (3-4, 3.57) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 5.74)

Central League

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

Yuta Muto (0-0, 5.75) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (0-1, 8.59)

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

Minoru Iwata (0-0, 5.40) vs Yariel Rodriguez (2-2, 3.77)

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

Tayler Scott (0-2, 22.50) vs Angel Sanchez (5-3, 3.02)

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 Sept. 12

Austin returns with bang

Tyler Austin, missing from the DeNA BayStars lineup since his unfortunate encounter with an outfield wall on July 31, hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat on Saturday to spark a 7-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Yokohama Stadium.

Austin saw two fastballs and hit a low 1-0 pitch from Takahiro Matsuba (2-4) out for his fifth home run in Japan.

“I have been out of games for a while so I was extremely excited I was able to contribute tonight,” said Austin, who proved to still lack the essentials of Japanese postgame hero interviews.

Most Japanese players asked to comment on their home run would deny that driving the ball was their goal: “I was just trying to keep the rally alive, not try to do too much.”

Manager Alex Ramirez said he batted Austin sixth on a last-minute decision.

“The original plan was not to use Austin, but to rest him, maybe give him one at-bat as a ‘dai-da’ (pinch-hitter), but we needed him so bad, and I realized we needed him in the lineup, which was already done, so I put him there batting sixth, and I said from tomorrow I’ll be using him maybe second, but that’s why he was ‘roku-ban’ (sixth) today.”

“It means a lot. He brings hope to the team. When he’s in the lineup, the whole lineup looks way different. I’m very happy that he’s in the lineup.”

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (4-4) allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits and four walks while striking out four. A quartet of relievers, Spencer Patton, Edwin Escobar, Kenta Ishida and Kazuki Mishima held the Dragons to one hit and walk the rest of the way.

Oyama, Akiyama lead Tigers past Carp

Young Hanshin Tigers cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama hit a three-run first-inning home run, and right-hander Takumi Akiyama (5-1) made it stand up in a 3-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium.

The 25-year-old Oyama blasted his 18th home run out to center off 23-year-old Carp right-hander Atsushi Endo (2-3). Endo hung on for 4-2/3 innings but the Carp couldn’t make a dent in Akiyama until the right-hander issued his only two walks to open the eighth. One run scored after reliever Joe Gunkel got a double play. Robert Suarez worked the ninth for his 15th save.

Akiyama was asked afterward how it felt when Oyama gave him the lead. Instead of saying how the home run changed everything and gushing about his teammate, he said he still had to do his job.

“Frankly, I’m happy to get the lead, but it doesn’t change what I have to do. I still have to concentrate on every hitter and execute every pitch,” he said, while admitting that prepare as he might he still found the on-field interview format daunting.

“What (reliever Suguru) Iwazaki said the other day was so cool, so I thought I should have something ready in case I was called to the podium. I’m afraid I’ve flubbed it though. So now my goal is to pitch really well so I get another chance and can do it right.”

Two-homer Okamoto sinks Swallows

The Yomiuri Giants’ Kazuma Okamoto joined Saturday’s three-run first-inning home run party with his 20th of the season and then finished off the Yakult Swallows with a seventh-inning solo shot in a 5-4 win at Tokyo Dome.

The Swallows tied it in the fifth on a pair of home runs, including a two-run shot from Norichika Aoki. His 13th homer tied it. After the Swallows took the lead in the sixth, Giants catcher Takumi Oshiro went deep to make it a 4-4 game and set the stage for Okamoto’s seventh-inning blast.

Giants-Swallows highlights

Takaya punches out Lions

Reserve catcher Hiroaki Takaya hit a three-run homer, what else, and drove in the SoftBank Hawks’ first four runs in an 8-4 win over the Seibu Lions.

In the game at Fukuoka’s Casa de Pepe — Does anybody else remember the Steve Martin routine about speaking French or am I just too freaking old? – Shota Takeda (2-0) came back from taking a line drive to the gut in his last start to deliver a gut punch to the Seibu Lions, holding them scoreless for four innings.

Meanwhile, the Hawks offense did what the Hawks offense does, which is put good swings on good pitches and then blow games up when pitchers – in this case – Sean Nolin (1-1) make mistakes. Two hits off good pitches, a Nobuhiro Matsuda double and a Takaya single, made it 1-0 in the second, before the Hawks just wore the lefty out in the third.

A leadoff walk and a missed two-strike fastball to Akira Nakamura put runners on the corners. A grounder to first didn’t produce an out. Ernesto Mejia, who has been putting on clinics in hitting and playing first base, opted for the out at the plate on a grounder to first but failed to get it.

A one-out walk loaded the bases, and some quality hitting from Yurisbel Gracial produced a shot that second baseman Shuta Tonosaki dived for but couldn’t gather in and two more runs scored.

With two on and two outs, Nolin got ahead of Takaya 0-2 with two slow pitches before missing a 1-2 slider in the heart of the zone that Takaya lined over the right-field fence for his second home run – the highlight is that he was able to turn the tables on Gracial, whom he assists in his home run celebration.

Any runners on base will wait at home plate for the home run hitter, and then follow him to the dugout to receive high fives and fist bumps from their team. But Takaya, who normally awaits Gracial at the end of the dugout and where he is “punched out” by Gracial after an exchange of play punches. But to return the favor, Gracial had to break the rules, run ahead of Takaya so that he could wait for the catcher to return and punch him out for a change.

Active roster moves 9/12/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/22

Central League

Activated

GiantsOF39Soichiro Tateoka
BayStarsIF23Tyler Austin

Dectivated

GiantsOF43Shinnosuke Shigenobu
BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP61Masato Okumura

Dectivated

HawksP50Yugo Bando
EaglesP12Hiroki Kondo
FightersP18Kosei Yoshida

Starting pitchers for Sept. 13, 2020

Pacific League

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

Takayuki Kishi (1-0, 7.30) vs Kohei Arihara (4-6, 3.43)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Manabu Mima (6-2, 4.84) vs Chang Yi (1-2, 3.74)

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

Shuta Ishikawa (6-1, 2.69) vs Wataru Matsumoto (2-3, 4.27)

Central League

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

Cristopher Mercedes (3-4, 3.25) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (8-2, 3.05)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Shinichi Onuki (6-2, 2.03) vs Kazuki Yoshimi (1-2, 6.23)

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

Shintaro Fujinami (1-5, 5.27) vs Kazuki Yabuta (0-2, 4.13)