NPB announced its monthly awards for each league for the period from July to August. The Central League’s batter of the month was Hiroshima outfielder Seiya Suzuki, while the CL’s pitcher of the month was Yomiuri closer Thyago Vieira. The Pacific League’s guys were Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Lotte outfielder Kyota Fujiwara.
The Buffaloes and Marines are playing each other this week with each team missing a top offensive performer. Orix outfielder Masataka Yoshida was hurt running to first base on Sunday and has been deactivated, while Fujiwara is expected to miss the series after being hit in the right calf by a pitch on Sunday.
The Marines will get reinforcements, however, with right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa named to start Thursday’s game, his first since he had surgery in June to clean out his right shoulder. Adam Jones, who missed Tuesday’s game due to the effects of his vaccination, returned to duty for the Buffaloes on Wednesday.
Marines 4, Buffaloes 1
At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Leonys Martin spoiled what was shaping up to be another heart-warming Orix win. Eighteen-year-old rookie Ryoto Kita, who went to high school in nearby Akashi, broke up a scoreless tie in an outstanding pitching duel between Lotte’s Kota Futaki (5-5, 3.93) and 23-year-old rookie Soichiro Yamazaki, who went six innings.
Futaki struck out five and allowed five hits but no walks over seven innings. Martin tied it with a sixth-inning RBI double. Orix’s fourth pitcher, Ryo Yoshida (1-1) stumbled after Kita dropped a one-out fly to left in the rain. A five-pitch walk and two to Martin, who cracked his 25th home run settled the issue.
Seiichiro Oshita, who on Tuesday was yanked from a farm game at the Carp’s minor league park in Yamaguchi Prefecture, so he could hop on a shinkansen to hit a pinch-hit homer and drive in the winning run, just missed another pinch-hit homer in the eighth.
Naoya Masuda locked it down in the ninth for his 150th career save and his Japan-leading 31st of the year.
The win pushed Lotte ahead on winning percentage.
Eagles 8, Fighters 0
At Sapporo Dome, Rakuten’s Ryota Takinaka (6-4, 4.92) struck out six over six innings, while allowing two singles and a walk, while Daichi Suzuki opened the scoring in a two-run second against Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-6, 3.20) by leading off the inning with his eighth home run.
Suzuki, who drove in four runs, had two of the Eagles’ eight doubles. Uwasawa allowed three runs over six innings in the loss.
Hawks 9, Lions 0
At MetLife Dome, SoftBank took BP against Zach Neal (1-6, 5.85), who walked two of the 21 batters he faced while allowing nine runs on 11 hits over 2-2/3 innings. Ryoya Kurihara singled in the first run in a two-run first and capped a four-run second with a three-run homer, his 14th.
Kodai Senga (5-1, 3.06) struck out six without walking a batter, while allowing four hits over seven innings.
The good news, however, was probably the return of closer Yuito Mori, who has been sidelined since April 29 due to inflammation in his left elbow. The right-hander retired the side in the ninth.
Tigers 5, Swallows 3
At Koshien Stadium, Yusuke Oyama, who was instrumental in demolishing Yomiuri over the weekend, walked twice, and hit a tie-breaking two-run home run, his 16th, as Hanshin moved 2-1/2 games ahead of the second-place Giants.
Hanshin got a run in the second after a Jefry Marte single, a Jerry Sands double and Oyama’s first walk, but Yakult made it 2-1 in the third when Tetsuto Yamada led off with his 27th home run. Mel Rojas Jr. batted for Ito with a man on in the fifth and tied it with his sixth homer.
Ogawa retired the next four batters before Sands’ third hit of the game. Oyama followed with his tie-breaking blast. Four Tigers relievers made short work of the visitors with rookie Ippei Ogawa (1-0) earning his first career win – and vowing to give the winning ball to his parents – and Robert Suarez earning his 29th save.
BayStars 4, Giants 1
At Yokohama Stadium, former Blue Jay and BayStar Shun Yamaguchi (2-4, 3.40) gave up two first-inning runs on four singles, with Toshiro Miyazaki and rookie Shugo Maki each driving in one, and the BayStars tacked on two runs when the Giants failed to turn inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth innings.
DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki (6-5, 4.46) struck out seven, walked one while allowing seven hits and one run over six innings. Seiya Matsubara tripled and scored the Giants’ only run in the sixth on a single by second baseman Naoki Yoshikawa.
Dragons 4, Carp 1
At Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki homered for the fifth straight game, a second-inning solo shot off Takahiro Matsuba (3-3, 3.70) for his 25th of the season, but that was all the Carp would manage.
Chunichi catcher Takuya Kinoshita tied it in the fifth, doubling in Shuhei Takahashi with two outs, and pinch-hitter Nobumasa Fukuda hit a two-run seventh-inning homer, his fifth. Kinoshita homered in the ninth with his eighth.
Raidel Martinez bounced back from a five-run ass-kicking on Tuesday to record his 16th save. Carp starter Shogo Tamamura (2-6, 3.89) allowed three runs over seven innings.
Thursday’s starting pitchers
Fighters vs Eagles: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Marines: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT
BayStars vs Giants: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Carp vs Dragons: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 9/8/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/18