Starter Matsui overpowers Marines
Former Rakuten Eagles closer Yuki Matsui earned his first win as a starter in nearly two years on Thursday, going seven innings in a 15-0 win over the Lotte Marines at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.
The 1.74-meter lefty’s fastball had too much spin for the Marines to square up. His inability to locate it consistently led to him walking four batters and hitting one, but that hardly mattered as he allowed one single and struck out 11.
The win ended the Eagles’ four-game losing streak, and Matsui was asked about whether that weighed on him.
“To be honest, I had bigger things to think about,” he said.
Matsui last worked out of the rotation as a rookie in 2014, when he went 5-12 in 17 starts. He got two starts at the end of the 2018 season and went 1-1, but went back to the bullpen last season when he led the Pacific League in saves. Both of his last two wins, in September 2018 and September 2014, came against the Marines.
The Eagles stranded two runners in each of the first two innings against right-hander Daiki Iwashita (3-4), but with two out and two on in the third, Stefen Romero hit his 16th home run of the season.
Iwashita allowed seven runs over four innings on 10 hits, four walks and one hit batsman.
Yamakawa lifts Lions over Fighters
Hotaka Yamakawa homered to help the Seibu Lions overcome an early deficit and finished the game with a two-run sayonara single in an 8-7 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.
Sho Nakata and Taishi Ota hit two-run home runs, Nakata in the first and Ota in the second to put the Fighters up 4-0. Yamakawa homered in the third off rookie Ryusei Kawano, who allowed five runs, three allowed, over 4-1/3 innings.
The Lions took a 6-4 lead into the eighth, but Reed Garrett uncharacteristically blew it, surrendering three runs on three hits, two hits and a hit batsman.
The Fighters brought in middle reliever Mizuki Hori to get out of the eighth by striking out Tomoya Mori. But the lefty gave up an infield single, and after a sacrifice, Sosuke Genda and Takumi Kuriyama walked to load the bases. The Fighters pulled the infield and outfield in tight, and Yamakawa lined a pitch just past left fielder Kenshi Sugiya to win it.
Kasaya gives Hawks 5 in win over Buffs
Shunsuke Hara (2-2) earned his first win as a starter, striking out seven, while allowing one run over five innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 4-2 win over the Orix Buffaloes.
Catcher Takuya Kai hit a two-run homer, while Seiji Uebayashi hit a sacrifice fly and a solo homer. Hawks closer Yuito Mori surrendered three-straight singles to open the ninth, but got Adam Jones to hit into a double play before ending it and earning his 15th save.
Buffaloes Opening Day starter Taisuke Yamaoka (0-1) returned to duty for the first time in two months following an oblique muscle injury in his second start. On a short pitch count, he allowed three runs in three innings.
Yanagita DH with stiff legs and neck
Hawks superstar Yuki Yanagita failed to get a hit in the three-game series with the Buffaloes, was used as a DH on Thursday due to neck and leg stiffness.
“The move (to DH) was because of what the trainer told me,” manager Kimiyasu Kudo said. “I’m not worried about him not getting a hit. I don’t think it’s related. Sometimes hitters don’t hit.”
Ino doubles BayStars past Carp
Right-hander Shoichi Ino (5-3) allowed two runs over 5-1/3 innings and brought the DeNA BayStars from a run down with a fourth-inning double in a 3-2 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Yokohama Stadium.
Kris Johnson (0-5) lacked his best command and fell behind in counts as he surrendered three runs on six hits, three walks and a hit batsman over six innings.
Carp skipper Shinji Sasaoka said of the lefty who in 2016 won the Eiji Sawamura Award as Japan’s most impressive starting pitcher, “One win and he’ll turn things around.”
Ino left with runners on the corners and one out in the sixth, handing off to Spencer Patton, who worked around a two-out walk to escape the inning with the lead intact, and said afterward he was surprised 155 kph (96.3 mph) during his stint.
Edwin Escobar, Yuki Kuniyoshi and acting closer Kazuki Mishima finished up with three scoreless innings. Mishima earned his eighth save.
What you don’t see in the postgame “hero interview” is that Ino and Patton each received a refrigerator from the interview sponsor, Nojima Electric, which set BayStars Twitter abuzz because Patton missed a chunk of last season when he struck the door on the little refrigerator used for drinks on the BayStars bench and broke a bone in his hand.
Sands blasts Dragons with 2 homers
A day after Justin Bour hit two home runs for the Hanshin Tigers, it was teammate Jerry Sands’ turn as he drove in four runs in a 6-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Koshien Stadium.
Koyo Aoyagi (6-3) allowed two runs over seven innings to earn the win, and Robert Suarez struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 10th save for the Tigers. Dayan Viciedo doubled in a run and scored another in the Dragons’ two-run first, only for Aoyagi to face just 18 hitters over his final six innings.
Togo’s Giant juggling act beats Swallows
Rookie Shosei Togo improved to (7-2) with five scoreless innings despite giving up four hits and five walks in the Yomiuri Giants’ 5-2 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.
The right-hander was spared a run in the fourth when with two outs and a runner on third, Swallows pitcher Hirotoshi Takanashi hit a bullet to right. Giants right fielder Seiya Matsubara fielded the ball on a hop and fired to first for the 9-3 groundout to right field.
Active roster moves 8/27/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/6
Starting pitchers for Aug. 28, 2020
Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Hawks vs Fighters: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT