Yoshinobu Yamamoto may have looked unbeatable in the box score, but his 11th win Thursday required more than a little luck, while the guy who should be a two-way player, Hanshin Tigers pitcher Junya Nishi showed why, although not without having to deal with the Yomiuri Giants’ force of nature.
Buffaloes 2, Marines 0: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (11-4) struck out just four and lasted just seven innings, and needed a fair amount of luck to be Japan’s first 11-game winner this year.
Ryo Ota and Keita Nakagawa doubled on balls to the wall in the first to make it 1- 0 in the first off Luis Castillo (2-3). In the third, Tomoya Mori tripled in a run in his second plate appearance since being helped off the base paths on July 1. Mori started in right field for the Buffaloes his first game in the outfield since Sept. 27, 2016. His triple was a routine fly deep to center that Kyota Fujiwara, who looked puzzled on Nakagawa’s double to the base of the wall in the first, lost in the lights.
The Marines came within a hair of tying the game in the fifth, when singles by Mike Brosseau and Fujiwara put runners on the corners with one out. Takashi Ogino hit a line drive bound for the left-field corner that was, however, caught with an acrobatic leap by two-time Golden Glove winner Yuma Mune.
Afterward, in his hero interview, Yamamoto said when told that Mune was standing nearby, “I was the one who got that out. Anyone could have caught it,” before adding, “No, that’s a lie. He saved my ass.”
Tigers 7, Giants 6: At Tokyo Ugly Dome, Junya Nishi (5-2) allowed four runs over six innings, and went 1-for-3 with an RBI single, making out both times the .250 hitter was sent up to sacrifice.
Yusuke Oyama singled in Takumu Nakano off Tomoyuki Sugano (2-5) in the first. Nakano doubled home Seiya Kinami in the second. Sheldon Neuse doubled and scored on Nishi’s two-out single that chased Sugano, and Koji Chikamoto tripled in two when Hisayoshi Chono failed to catch his line drive in right.
Nishi allowed one hit through three but Chono made amends in the fourth with a two-run homer off a hanging two-seamer, while a hanging splitter ended up in the third deck in the sixth for another two-run homer, Kazuma Okamoto‘s 31st, in the sixth.
The Tigers improved to 6-1 on this year’s “Road Trip of Death,” about which I published some research on Sunday, where you’ll learn about this Tigers phenomenon.
Deniers 7, Dragons 4: At Yokohama Stadium, Shota Imanaga dug DeNA a first-inning hole, allowing four straight hits to open the game in a four-run first before retiring 18 of the next 23 batters and striking out nine over six innings. Shinnosuke Ogasawara () let DeNA back in the game. Shugo Maki walked to open the fourth and Neftali Soto and Taishi Ota hit back-to-back homers to make it 4-3.
Maki tripled in Masayuki Kuwahara with the tying run in the fifth, former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki (3-6) worked a 1-2-3 seventh, and Maki the doubled Kuwahara home to put DeNA in front in the seventh before scoring on an Ota single.
DeNA captain Keita Sano, who was ignominiously pinch-hit for on Sunday when DeNA lost its seventh straight game in Yokohama, singled in an eighth-inning insurance run.
Swallows 5, Carp 4: At Jingu Stadium, Yasutaka Shiomi singled in two runs to tie it 3-3 in the second and walked, scored Yakult’s seventh-inning go-ahead run off Nik Turley (6-1) on a Tetsuto Yamada double, and Kazuto Taguchi notched his 27th save.
Shogo Akiyama doubled in a first-inning run and scored as Ryoma Nishikawa singled in his first at-bat since being hurt on July 11. Shogo Sakakura homered off Masanori Ishikawa to open the second, only for Yakult to tie it in the bottom of the inning on Shiomi’s two-run single. Munetaka Murakami put Yakult in front, leading off the third with his 20th home run, off Allen Kuri.
Sakakura drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and scored the tying run, before Shiomi crossed to give the hosts the lead.
Fighters 6, Lions 3: At Kitahiroshima Taxpayers Burden Field, Kona Takahashi (9-6) allowed two runs over eight innings, the first runs he’d allowed since July 8 and won his fourth straight start.
David MacKinnon broke the ice, singling in the first of three first-inning runs for Seibu. Takeya Nakamura singled in one, and former Fighter Ryusei Sato’s double made it 3-0 off Takayuki Kato (). Ariel Martinez‘s bases-loaded sac fly made it 3-1 in the first before the Lions began grinding out runs. MacKinnon homered in the third, and singled in the fifth to set up Shuta Tonosaki‘s sac fly.
Takahashi allowed two one-out singles and a walk in the first, before retiring 14 straight batters. He left after pitching out of a two-on one-out jam in the sixth.
Eagles 9, Hawks 3: At Fukuoka Dome, Rakuten’s Takahisa Hayakawa handcuffed the Hawks for five innings, before blowing a three-run lead on Kensuke Kondo’s three-run homer, his career-high 16th, in the sixth. Kohei Arihara also worked six, and was done when Hiroto Kobukata singled to open the seventh and scored the go-ahead run after a bunt, an intentional walk to Hideto Asamura, a hit batsman and a groundout.