Higashihama mows down Marines
SoftBank Hawks Opening Day starter Nao Higashihama (7-1) allowed a run over eight innings in a 5-1 win over the Lotte Marines on Saturday at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome that kept his team atop the Pacific League standings.
The win was SoftBank’s fifth in16 tries this season against their nemeses, who pulled into a virtual tie with a 3-1 win on Friday.
Higashihama gave up three hits and three walks while striking out eight. Rookie Kazuki Sugiyama pitched around a pair of one-out singles in the ninth to close it out.
Keizo Kawashima opened SoftBank’s account in the second with a one-out single off rookie lefty Toshiya Nakamura (2-5). He scored on a Nobuhiro Matsuda double, and Ryoya Kurihara capped the inning with his 14th home run.
The Marines changed pitchers in the third, with rookie Takuro Furuya making his first-team debut. The right-hander issued a one-out walk to Akira Nakamura. A wild pitch and a Yuki Yanagita single made it 4-0.
A base-running out by Matsuda allowed Furuya to work around a single and three straight walks in the fourth. The Marines got their lone run in the sixth on a Kenji Nishimaki double and a Kyota Fujiwara single. Both were called up Tuesday, when the Marines switched out 11 players following a series of coronavirus infections.
Yurisbel Gracial completed the scoring in the seventh with his ninth home run.
Arihara throws 1st shutout
Nippon Ham Fighters ace Kohei Arihara (6-8) did everything right in his six-hitter except get Pacific League batting leader Masataka Yoshida out in a 4-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome.
Yoshida went 3-for-4 with a double to raise his average to .354, but his teammates couldn’t solve the right-handed Arihara.
“Their hitters came in ready to swing at the first pitch and I used that to my advantage,” said Arihara, who walked two and struck out six.
Buffaloes right-hander Taisuke Yamaoka (2-4) allowed three runs over six innings on six hits, a walk and a hit batsman but got zero run support for the second straight outing. He gave up a one-out solo homer to Ryo Watanabe in the second and two more runs in the sixth before making his exit.
“I was the one who allowed the first run. And that was the ballgame,” said Yamaoka.
Hatake silences Dragons
Yomiuri Giants right-hander Seishu Hatake extended a pre-game moment of silence at Nagoya Dome, muting the Chunichi Dragons’ offense for seven innings in a 7-1 win.
With the home team wearing the No. 88 of late Dragons manager and Hall of Fame second baseman Morimichi Takagi, who passed away in January, a moment of silence was observed in his memory.
Hatake (3-3) overcame an awkward start as he worked seven scoreless innings after allowing five this and three walks. Dragons starter Yariel Rodriguez (2-4) kept the Giants in check until the wheels fell off in a four-run fifth.
Rodriguez, who had impressed in his first two outings this season against the Giants, allowed a second-inning run on a Yoshihiro Maru single and a Zelous Wheeler double.
The right-hander struck out the side in the third and fourth before Wheeler singled to open the fifth. Wheeler was caught stealing for the second out on a busted run-and-hit, but Gerardo Parra followed with the first of five straight hits.
Wheeler homered in the sixth, while Zoilo Almonte cashed in the Dragons’ only run with an eighth-inning RBI single.
Austin, Soto overpower Tigers
Tyler Austin hit his 16th home run and Neftali Soto continued to climb back into the home race with his 20th and 21st homers as the DeNA BayStars overcame an early two-run deficit to beat the Hanshin Tigers 5-3 at Koshien Stadium.
Tigers starter Joe Gunkel (1-4) allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits over six innings. He struck out four without a walk.
Austin homered in the third and Soto went deep in the fourth to make it a 2-2 game. Hanshin’s Yusuke Oyama singled in his second run of the game in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead for the Tigers. Austin re-tied it in the fifth with an RBI single, Soto homered in the sixth and Austin singled in another run in the seventh.
Rookie Hiromu Ise (1-0), the BayStars’ third pick last autumn, struck out two in two perfect innings to earn his first career win. Spencer Patton and Edwin Escobar followed with one scoreless inning apiece before Kazuki Mishima earned his 13th save.
Jon Edwards allowed one run in an inning of relief for the Tigers.
Rookie Morishita dodges bullets for 8th win
The Hiroshima Carp’s top pick in last year’s draft, Masato Morishita extricated from a pair of bases-loaded predicaments to go six innings in a 3-0 victory over the Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.
Morishita (8-3) allowed four hits, issued three walks and hit a batter while striking out eight. Koki Ugusa, the Carp’s second pick last autumn, had two hits, driving in two in the fifth with a high chopper over the head of the shortstop.
“It’s not like we didn’t have an approach planned for him (Morishita),” Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu said. “We just didn’t do a very good job of executing it.”
Tsuji slams decision to start in rain
Seibu Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji was not in a forgiving mood on Saturday when Daiki Enokida, called up to bolster his depleted starting rotation, needed to throw 75 pitches against the Rakuten Eagles in a game that began in the rain Sendai and was called after three innings.
The game is to be replayed on Tuesday, putting Tsuji in a bind.
“This is a problem, because we simply don’t have the pitchers,” Tsuji said.
The game started in a steady rain, with water standing in pools.
“Common sense would tell you we couldn’t play baseball in that,” Tsuji said.
Active roster moves 10/10/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/20
Starting pitchers for Oct. 11, 2020
Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
Hawks vs Marines: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
Dragons vs Giants: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Carp vs Swallows: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT