Tag Archives: Masahiro Tanaka

NPB wrap 9-10-21

The JBU, the Japanese Baseball Universe, on Friday occupied a space in time between the Moody Blues and the X-Men, with a day of future past in Chiba, where Japan’s future met its past in a pitchers’ duel between Roki Sasaki and Masahiro Tanaka that didn’t disappoint.

Marines 3, Eagles 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, the pitchers’ duel between Lotte rookie rocket Roki Sasaki and Rakuten’s former Yankee Masahiro Tanaka didn’t disappoint and neither did another former Yankee, Brandon Laird, who opened the scoring with his 21st home run and closed the scoreline with his 22nd, a two-out walk-off shot against reliever Tomohito Sakai (3-2).

Laird did his sushi thing after feasting on a first-pitch fastball with one out in the second that came in straight and high and went out the same way for a 1-0 Lotte lead. Yudai Fujioka opened the third with a single off a good 0-1 slider from Tanaka and scored on a sacrifice and a one-out Takashi Ogino single. Ogino, whose ninth-inning homer lifted Lotte into a 2-2 tie with Orix on Thursday, fouled off two two-strike pitches before lining a forkball that Tanaka left up in the zone.

Sasaki retired the first 12 Eagles before getting a run on four pitches. Eigoro Mogi hammered Sasaki’s first pitch, a slider above the letters for a double. Three pitches and two ground balls behind the runner and it was a 2-1 game.

Career minor league infielder Tsuyoshi Yamasaki, whose been playing second while cleanup hitter and captain Hideto Asamura is benched due to “poor form” hammered a 151-kph Sasaki left up and drove it out to center for his first home run in two years.

Both starters went eight innings. Sasaki’s command was often not as sharp, but he missed in the zone with better stuff than Tanaka did and touched 158 kph (98.2 mph) — his highest figure on the top team.

Sasaki allowed two hits and struck out nine without allowing a walk and needed just 99 pitches to go eight. Although he got away with a couple of bad mistakes in the first inning, he settled in with that nice easy throwing motion of his, challenging hitters in the zone with his slider, heater and forkball.

Tanaka threw more of his fastball than we’ve seen and threw some really good ones, and though both of the runs scored occurred on mistakes, he didn’t make a ton of them. He struck out seven, walked one and allowed four hits in his 120-pitch outing.

Buffaloes 7, Lions 1

At MetLife Dome, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (13-5, 1.54) struck out nine while allowing two walks and two hits over six scoreless innings, while Takahiro Okada homered to lead off the second with his 11th home run and singled the Buffaloes’ run in the third off Wataru Matsumoto (7-7, 3.72). Yamamoto’s winning decision was his 10th straight.

Kotaro Kurebayashi’s triple made it 3-0 in the fourth. Yutaro Sugimoto opened the fifth with his 25th home run, tying him with Yuki Yanagita and Leonys Martin for the league lead, while rookie Ryoto Kita capped the three-run inning with a two-run single.

Glenn Sparkman worked two innings, surrendering Shuta Tonosaki’s fifth homer in the seventh before retiring six straight. Tyler Higgins followed suit with a 1-2-3 ninth as Orix kept pace with Lotte.

Fighters 4, Hawks 4

At Sapporo Dome, SoftBank’s Nick Martinez pitched out of a couple of tight spots to go six scoreless innings against his former club. The Hawks opened the scoring in the fourth after side-arm lefty Ryusei Kawano hit Yuki Yanagita and Ryoya Kurihara. Alfredo Despaigne’s seeing-eye single brought one run home and another scored on a grounder by Richard Sunagawa, who reached on an error. Masaki Mimori singled and scored in the fifth on a booming double by Yanagita.

With Martinez watching from the bench, the Hawks bullpen gave up four runs in the seventh. Yugo Bando left with two outs and one on after a walk and a Ryusei Sato RBI double on a good 1-2 pitch. Back-to-back singles off two different relievers and a walk loaded the bases and made it a one-run game. The Hawks’ fourth reliever of the inning, rookie Yuto Furuya, gave up a two-run single to Daiki Asama.

Bryan Rodriguez was called on to save the game but hit Sunagawa and issued a walk to start the ninth. Mimori’s two-out single tied it. Yanagita walked to load the bases but Rodriguez averted disaster by striking out Kurihara.

Yuito Mori, in his second game back from injury, worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to lock down the tie.

Tigers 4, Carp 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki failed to match the NPB record of homering in seven straight games, but Hanshin starter Yuki Nishi (5-9, 3.48) allowed a run over five innings, and Jerry Sands, batting for him in the sixth, singled in the go-ahead run, helping him become the 140th pitcher to reach 100 career wins, 74 of which came with Orix.

Koji Chikamoto doubled to open the game off Daichi Osera (6-5, 3.26) and scored. The Carp held Nishi’s feet to the fire in the home half, loading the bases with one out for red-hot Shogo Sakakura, but had to settle for a sacrifice fly and a tie game. In the fifth, Nishi walked Suzuki intentionally to load the bases with two out and Sakakura flied out.

Osera, who drew a leadoff walk in the fifth and spent the entire inning on base, allowed the Tigers to load the bases with one out in the sixth. Sands made it 2-1, and Takumu Nakano singled to make it 3-1.

An eighth-inning Chikamoto RBI single completed the scoring, and the fifth Tigers reliever, Robert Suarez, recorded his CL-leading 30th save.

Dragons 10, Giants 1

At Tokyo Dome, Chunichi’s Yota Kyoda hit the first pitch of the game from Yuki Takahashi (10-4, 3.01) for a home run and made it 5-1 in the fifth with his third home run of the season.

Nobumasa Fukuda, making his first start in forever, led off the second with his sixth home run, and catcher Takuya Kinoshita singled in a run to cap the two-run inning. Kinoshita brought home Fukuda with a sixth-inning sac fly and drove in two in the eighth with his ninth home run.

Yudai Ono (6-8, 2.99) allowed a run over seven innings to win his third straight start.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Saturday’s starting pitchers

Fighters vs Hawks: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takayuki Kato (3-6, 3.88) vs Shuta Ishikawa (5-8, 3.16)

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (6-5, 3.72) vs Cesar Vargas (1-0, 9.64)

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

Kazuya Ojima (6-3, 4.92) vs Takayuki Kishi (7-7, 3.49)

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

Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (7-1, 2.38) vs Yuya Yanagi (8-5, 2.07)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Cy Sneed (2-2, 4.50) vs Masaya Kyoyama (2-4, 4.35)

Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Koya Takahashi (3-4, 5.25) vs Takumi Akiyama (9-5, 2.92)

Active roster moves 9/10/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/20

Central League


GiantsP59Toyoki Tanaka
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersIF4Takahiro Kumagai
DragonsP28Hiroto Mori


TigersP19Shintaro Fujinami
TigersIF8Teruaki Sato
DragonsP41Akiyoshi Katsuno
DragonsP43Takuya Mitsuma
BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto

Pacific League


HawksP17Sho Iwasaki
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
FightersOF12Go Matsumoto


MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
FightersP31Toru Murata
FightersOF69Hokuto Miyata

NPB wrap 9-3-21

There were Friday fireworks in Japanese pro baseball.

Olympians Nick Martinez and Yoshinobu Yamamoto tangled for the second time in eight days in a game decided by Adam Jones in the ninth, while the Yomiuri Giants appeared to be sailing smoothly to victory behind a gem from starter Shosei Togo until the sky — or rather the Hanshin Tigers — fell on them at Koshien Stadium.

Buffaloes 2, Hawks 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Orix managed its second ninth-inning comeback in two days. A day after securing a tie with four late runs in Sapporo, the Buffaloes broke a 1-1 tie on Adam Jones’ two-out RBI single, making a winner out of ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (12-5, 1.61), who allowed a run over eight innings in an atypical start that saw him walk four and strikeout five while allowing three hits.

SoftBank’s Nick Martinez allowed a run over seven innings while striking out nine and walking two.

Yamamoto was on course to throw his second straight shutout and third straight complete game victory until the Hawks tagged him for a run to tie it in the eighth. A single, a bunt and an intentional walk to Yuki Yanagita put two on with two outs, and Ryoya Kurihara tied it with a single.

After a 1-2-3 eighth from Hiroshi Kaino, SoftBank’s Yugo Bando allowed one-out singles to Yuma Mune and Masataka Yoshida, who hobbled off for a pinch-runner before Jones lashed a high 0-2 fastball into center to plate the go-ahead run.

Lions 8, Eagles 4

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Masahiro Tanaka (4-5, 2.73) got some run support for a change, but allowed four runs over eight innings, and Seibu exploited closer Yuki Matsui’s absence, scoring four runs in the ninth to beat Rakuten.

Seibu starter Wataru Matsumoto allowed two runs over six innings and did not figure in the decision after the Eagles rallied to tie it in the eighth against Seibu’s bullpen.

The Lions scored three in the fourth. Sosuke Genda barely got a piece of changeup for a flare single. After a bunt, he scored when Tomoya Mori got the end of his bat on a low fastball and found the gap for a double. Tanaka then left an 0-2 slider over the plate, and Takeya Nakamura served it into the outfield for an RBI single. Takumi Kuriyama, two hits from 2,000 in his career, golfed a low pitch to center for a sacrifice fly.

Takero Okajima doubled in Eigoro Mori in the home half to reduce the arrears. Tanaka followed with three scoreless innings before No. 9 hitter Seiji Kawagoe homered off him to open the eighth.

Okajima tied it in the bottom of the inning, singling in two off Ryosuke Moriwaki after two walks and a sacrifice.

Nakamura singled to open the ninth against Sung Chia-hao (1-3). With two outs, Kuriyama kept the rally alive with a single, Hotaka Yamakawa fell behind 1-2 before walking to load the bases and Wu Nien-ting singled off his countryman to put the Lions ahead.

Marines 7 Fighters 5

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Yudai Fujioka broke an eighth-inning tie, driving in his second run of the game in a three-run inning as Lotte came from behind for the second time to beat Nippon Ham.

Kazuya Ojima (6-3, 4.65) allowed the Fighters to load the bases with one out in the first, and all three runners scored, on singles by Yuto Takahama and Daiki Asama and a groundout.

Leonys Martin (hit by pitch) and Brandon Laird (single) reached to open Lotte’s second and scored on a Hisanori Yasuda double and a Fujioka sac fly. New Fighter Ryusei Sato singled in a run in the fourth, but Martin homered to open the Marines’ home half. His 23rd tied SoftBank’s Yuki Yanagita for the league lead, while Laird singled and scored on a bases-loaded walk from Fighters starter Takahide Ikeda.

Three singles put the Fighters up a run in the fifth, and three relievers held that lead until the eighth. Laird got things started against Kazutomo Iguchi (1-1) with a one-out single, his third. The tying run scored on an error and Yasuda walked before Fujioka singled.

Pinch-hitter Katsuya Kakunaka’s sac fly completed the scoring, and Naoya Masuda worked the ninth to record his Japan-best 29th save.

Tigers 7, Giants 3

At Koshien Stadium, rookie Takumu Nakano’s three-run tie-breaking triple completed a turn-around after Hanshin’s first 15 batters were retired by Yomiuri right-hander Shosei Togo (8-6), who eventually allowed five runs over 6-1/3 innings.

“I wasn’t up there to weakly take a walk,” Nakano said of his swing on a borderline 3-2 pitch that he drove for a triple into the corner.

The Giants broke the scoreless tie in the fifth against Tigers starter Yuki Nishi.

Yasuyuki Kamei had the first of two singles before Seiya Matsubara tripled in two. Kazuma Okamoto doubled with two outs in the sixth and scored on a Kamei triple.

Yusuke Oyama became Hanshin’s first base runner, when he singled to open the sixth, and scored on 40-year-old Yoshio Itoi’s pinch-hit double. Jefry Marte doubled with one out in the Tigers’ seventh, when they loaded the bases on a walk to Mel Rojas Jr. and a single before Oyama doubled to tie it and chase Togo.

Jerry Sands pinch-hit and was walked intentionally after lefty Yuhei Takanashi fell behind 2-0 to load the bases. With two out, Nakano made manager Hara pay for his generosity.

Nishi allowed a run on six hits and a walk over six innings while striking out five. 

Swallows 3, Carp 1

At Tokyo Dome, Albert Suarez (3-3, 4.08) struck out eight while walking two and allowing six hits over 5-1/3 innings.

Yasutaka Shiomi hit the first pitch from Daichi Osera (6-3, 3.09) for his 10th home run, and reached on a one-out infield single to spark a two-run third. Osera loaded the bases on a hit batsman and a walk and Munetaka Murakami doubled.

Suarez left with two on and one out in the sixth, but Koshiro Sakamoto bailed him out. Ryutaro Konno worked a perfect seventh, before setup man Noboru Shimizu surrendered a run in the eighth.

Seiya Suzuki, who’d walked twice and singled, hit his 20th home run to put the Carp on the board in the eighth. It was his seventh over 15 games at Tokyo Dome, matching his total from 42 games at his home park, Mazda Stadium.

Scott McGough pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 19th save.

Dragons 1, BayStars 0

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Chunichi’s lefty ace Yudai Ono (5-8, 3.31) protected a 1-0 first-inning lead by stranding a pair of runners in three different innings as he allowed six hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings while striking out five.

Kosuke Fukudome broke the ice with a two-out, RBI single in the first.

Masaya Kyoyama (2-4, 5.09), who went six innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman.

Katsuki Matayoshi struck out two in the eighth and Raidel Martinez did the same in the ninth as two perfect innings closed out the BayStars with Martinez getting his 14th save.

Saturday’s starting pitchers

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takayuki Kishi (6-7, 3.43) vs Tatsuya Imai (6-4, 3.25)

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

Shota Suzuki (1-4, 4.04) vs Takayuki Kato (3-6, 3.81)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shuta Ishikawa (4-8, 3.02) vs Glenn Sparkman (0-0, 4.00)

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

Cy Sneed (2-1, 4.24) vs Koya Takahashi (2-4, 6.00)

Dragons vs BayStars: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuya Yanagi (8-5, 2.10) vs Fernando Romero (0-2, 4.55)

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

Joe Gunkel (7-1, 2.38) vs Yuki Takahashi (10-3, 2.71)

Active roster moves 9/3/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/13

Central League


GiantsOF39Soichiro Tateoka
DragonsIF45Ryuku Tsuchida
BayStarsC10Yasutaka Tobashira
SwallowsP43Albert Suarez


GiantsOF43Shinnosuke Shigenobu
DragonsIF48Hayato Mizowaki
BayStarsC36Shuto Takajo
SwallowsP19Masanori Ishikawa
SwallowsP28Daiki Yoshida

Pacific League


MarinesP60Rikuto Yokoyama
FightersP35Takahiro Nishimura
BuffaloesOF1Steven Moya


HawksP57Shinya Kayama
FightersP39Ryo Akiyoshi
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu

Subscribe to jballallen.com weekly newsletter