Tag Archives: Neftali Soto

NPB Wrap 4-13-21

Starting pitchers

Flooding back

The DeNA BayStars and Chunichi Dragons each welcomed back two essential workers on Tuesday, as DeNA activated second-year slugger Tyler Austin and two-time Central League home run champ Neftali Soto while the Dragons called up catcher Ariel Martinez and closer Raidel Martinez.

The Yomiuri Giants introduced new sluggers Eric Thames and Justin Smoak, while the Hawks held a press conference for right-hander Nick Martinez, who joins this season from the Fighters.

Ishikawa wins debut

Marines 6, Eagles 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa (1-0) allowed a run over seven innings to outduel Takayuki Kishi (2-1) in his season debut. Ishikawa surrendered back-to-back two-out first-inning doubles to Hiroaki Shimauchi and Hideto Asamura. The right-hander allowed seven singles, and struck out five without issuing a walk, while his teammates scored four unearned runs against the Pacific League leaders.

Kishi surrendered Koki Yamaguchi’s game-tying solo homer in the second and allowed in a pair of unearned runs in the seventh on a walk, a two-out error, a passed ball and a Yamaguchi flare single. The Marines tacked on three more against former Padres and Lions submariner Kazuhisa Makita with the help of another two-out error. The Marines took a five-run lead into the ninth but had to call on closer Naoya Masuda with two outs and the bases loaded. The right-hander allowed an RBI single before closing out his second save.

Fighters 3, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, Journeyman right-hander Takahisa Ikeda (1-2) earned his first win since the Nippon Ham fighters acquired him in a March trade from the Rakuten Eagles. The 26-year-old allowed a run on three hits and two walks over six innings.

Seibu Lions starter Wataru Matsumoto (1-2) resumed living on the wild side of life with five walks, only the last of which cost him in a three-run Fighters sixth. After a fluke single, he hit a batter and walked another.

Matsumoto handed lefty Yasuo Sano a no-out, bases-loaded predicament and Kensuke Kondo didn’t try to do too much with a hittable pitch, lining it up the middle to tie it. Tetsu Miyagawa walked Sho Nakata, and surrendered a sac fly.

The Fighters’ bullpen has been making games lively recently, and Tuesday was no exception, allowing a run on two hits before earning his third save.

Buffaloes 7, Hawks 4

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Orix Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima (1-1) allowed five walks but just one run on one hit, Ryoya Kurihara’s first-ining RBI single, over 6-1/3 innings. The Buffaloes tied it in the second on a walk by lefty Shunsuke Kasaya (1-1) and three scratch singles before Keita Nakagawa doubled to open the sixth and scored on Takahiro Okada’s pinch-hit single off reliever Yuki Tsumori.

The Buffaloes blew the game open in a five-run ninth. Nakagawa had a a two-run double, while Adam Jones, who walked twice and scored the tying run in the second, singled in two more. The Hawks scored three in the ninth, the last coming on veteran pinch-hitter Yuya Hasegawa’s single off new pitcher Tyler Higgins, who then ended the game with a strikeout for his first save.

Giants 2, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri Giants right-hander Angel Sanchez (1-1) allowed a run on four walks and a hit batsman over 7-1/3 innings, and Taishi Hirooka broke a 1-1 seventh-inning tie with his first home run since he was traded from the Yakult Swallows in March.

Giants manager Tatsunori Hara pulled Sanchez after Dragons catcher hit a broken-bat fly to deep left. Lefty Kota Nakagawa entered and allowed the Dragons’ only hit before striking out two. Rubby De La Rosa worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth.

The Giants scored in the home half of the first on a walk and two singles off Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono (0-2), who allowed two runs and five total hits over seven innings.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Swallows 5, BayStars 1

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Albert Suarez (1-1) struck out nine while allowing two singles and a walk over six innings, while Kengo Ota broke a scoreless tie with a two-run fourth-inning double off Shinichi Onuki (1-1), who threw the world’s worst changeup to Munetaka Murakami. The slugger’s home run was his sixth, a three-run shot in the fifth. Tetsuto Yamada had three hits and scored twice for the Swallows.

The BayStars threatened to tie it in the top of the fifth after Suarez allowed a leadoff walk and a single but with one out and two runners in scoring position, the right-hander got a comebacker and a strikeout.

Pacific League

Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takahiro Norimoto (2-0, 2.03) vs Kazuya Ojima (0-1, 5.25)

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (0-1, 2.70) vs Hiromi Ito (0-1, 2.08)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 4.26) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-1, 0.78)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Seishu Hatake (0-1, 7.36) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-0, 3.24)

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

Yuto Kanakubo (0-0, 0.00) vs Taisei Irie (0-2, 5.40)

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

Masashi Ito (1-0, 2.25) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-0, 3.09)

Active roster moves 4/13/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/23

Central League

Activated

GiantsP11Ryuta Heinai
GiantsIF00Dai Yuasa
DragonsP97Raidel Martinez
DragonsC57Ariel Martinez
BayStarsIF99Neftali Soto
BayStarsOF23Tyler Austin

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
LionsOF58Masato Kumashiro
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
FightersIF48Kyohei Ueno

Dectivated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura

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NPB wrap 4-10-21

Senga out 2-3 months

SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga will likely be out two to three months with ligament damage in his left ankle, suffered when he caught a line drive back to the box in his April 6 season debut.

Kuri, Kikuchi, Carp stop Giants

Carp 4, Giants 2

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Ryosuke Kikuchi singled three times, stole a base and scored three times, and Allen Kuri (3-0) allowed two runs, one earned over seven innings to earn the win for Hiroshima. Yomiuri starter Shosei Togo (1-1) allowed four runs in 3-2/3 innings.

Kuri struck out five, walked two and allowed three hits, although he did participate in the “let’s throw the ball into the outfield game” the Carp infield participated in that cost them a first-inning run.

Haruki Omichi worked a 1-2-3 eighth against the heart of the Giants order, and fellow rookie Ryoji Kuribayashi worked around a one-out walk to record his fifth save.

With the scored tied 2-2 in the fourth, Carp rookie Ryutaro Hatsuki reached for the second time, on a wild pitch uncaught third strike, was sacrificed to second by Kuri and scored on Kikuchi’s single. Kikuchi stole second and scored an insurance run on a Tomohiro Abe single.

The Giants have scored three runs or fewer for 12 straight games, matching a franchise record set in 1993.

Tigers 4, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, side-armer Koyo Aoyagi (2-0) allowed three singles and two walks over seven innings, and Jerry Sands iced the game with his fifth home run, a two-run shot in the ninth. Central-League-leading Hanshin took the lead off Taiga Kamichatani (0-1) in the fourth on a Kentaro Itohara double and a one-out Yusuke Oyama single.

Jefry Marte went 0-for-3, but walked in the ninth to put a runner on ahead of Sands’ homer. Robert Suarez worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Tigers.

Swallows 2, Dragons 2

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi surrendered a one-out two-run fourth-inning homer to Munetaka Murakami but stranded two runners that ended the Yakult Swallows’ scoring chances. The hosts scored an unearned run in the first against Yasuhiro Ogawa but got even in the sixth when Nobumasa Fukuda led off with a double and scored on Toshiki Abe’s single.

Hawks 8, Eagles 8

At Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park, the SoftBank Hawks came back to tie it in the seventh on an Akira Nakamura RBI single after the defending Pacific League champs blew a seven-run lead and had to settle with their second straight tie against the Rakuten Eagles, finishing 8-8 after they played to a 1-1 draw in Friday’s series opener.

The Eagles chased submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi after 4-1/3 innings. He’d allowed solo homers in the third and fourth to make it 7-2 before the hosts mashed out back-to-back three run innings.

Eagles closer Yuki Matsui stranded a pair in the top of the ninth to ensure Rakuten couldn’t lose –due to this year’s lack of extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Livan Moinelo showed that he might be slowing down.

After striking out three batters on 12 pitches in Wednesday’s season debut, the Cuban lefty only struck out two in a 12-pitch perfect inning on Thursday, and needed 18 pitches and only struck out one batter in his perfect inning against the Eagles. Man’s losing it.

Marines 6, Lions 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Leonys Martin hit a pair of solo homers and singled for the Lotte Marines. He now leads both leagues in home runs with seven. Martin opened the scoring in the first against Shota Hamaya (1-2) who left the bases loaded but surrendered a Martin’s leadoff homer in Lotte’s three-run third.

Manabu Mima (1-2) allowed two runs over seven innings to get the win.

The Lions’ Aito Takeda, a sixth-year pro who has had only glimpses of action on the first team, hit his third career homer one day after hitting his first two.

Fighters 5, Buffaloes 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, a day after winning their second game of the season, the Nippon Ham Fighters have their first win streak of the year after Yuki James Nomura’s ninth-inning RBI double broke a 2-2 tie.

Masataka Yoshida’s first-inning RBI double pushed across Yuma Mune for the first run. Mune doubled and scored the tying run in the sixth on a Yoshida single. Fighters starter Naoyuki Uwasawa and Buffaloes lefty Sachiya Yamasaki each worked six innings.

Orix’s Atsushi Nomi and Tyler Higgins kept the game tied for two innings before rookie Taisei Urushihara (0-1) let the game get away in the ninth. Fighters lefty Naoki Miyanishi (1-1) got the win, and Toshihiro Sugiura got his second save.

At 40 years, 10 months of age, Nomi became the oldest Orix pitcher to earn a hold. The former Tigers’ ace is also the oldest Hanshin pitcher to earn a hold.

BayStars’ Soto, Austin to join workouts

Two-time Central League home run champ Neftali Soto and slugging second-year import Tyler Austin will work out with the DeNA BayStars’ first team on Sunday, manager Daisuke Miura said Saturday according to Sponichi Annex.

Miura, the report said, spoke with the two at the club’s minor league facility in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and that they reported no issues and were keen to rejoin the club.

“We’ll see how they look,” Miura said. “They were practicing before they arrived in Japan, but haven’t played in games, so we’ll see what’s what.”

Miura said pitcher Michael Peoples would join the team after pitching some EL games for the farm team.

The BayStars were unable to get any of their returning players into Japan before the start of the season. Most new imported players, unless they arrived before a state of emergency was declared in January like Hiroshima’s Keven Cron, have only recently been able to enter Japan.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Takahisa Hayakawa (1-1, 3.00) vs Yuki Matsumoto (1-0, 0.00)

Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shota Suzuki (0-0, 1.50) vs Katsunori Hirai (2-0, 1.54)

Buffaloes vs Fighters: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Hiroya Miyagi (2-0, 0.60) vs Takayuki Kato (1-0, 2.08)

Central League

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kosuke Sakaguchi (1-0, 0.00) vs Joe Gunkel (2-0, 0.73)

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

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (0-1, 1.54) vs Kazuto Taguchi (0-1, 4.82)

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

Yusuke Nomura (0-1, 1.80) vs Nobutaka Imamura (1-0, 1.29)

Active roster moves 4/10/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/20

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP41Shuto Sakurai

Dectivated

BayStarsP59Kentaro Taira
BayStarsP92Yuki Kuniyoshi
CarpP43Sotaro Shimauchi

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP20Taiki Tojo
EaglesOF27Takero Okajima
FightersC60Takuya Kori

Dectivated

MarinesP37Fumiya Ono
LionsIF4Kakeru Yamanobe
EaglesOF25Kazuki Tanaka
FightersC22Shinya Tsuruoka

NPB 2020 Nov. 4

Through their first 16 games, the Lotte Marines have been the SoftBank Hawks’ worst nightmare, but all that appears to be changing.

Wednesday’s games

Other news

Senga goes to top of class

Kodai Senga (11-6) got a late start to the season but qualified for the Pacific League’s ERA title with eight innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 2-0 win on Wednesday at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, over the Lotte Marines, who fell into third place, a game behind the Seibu Lions for the final playoff spot.

The Hawks’ win left them tied in their season series against Lotte after the three-time defending Japan Series champs starting the season 4-11-1 against the Marines.

With nine strikeouts over eight innings, Senga now leads the league with a 2.16 ERA and is tied with Orix’s Yoshinobu Yamamoto for the strikeout lead with 149 and tied with Hideaki Wakui for the lead in wins.

The Hawks scored on solo homers by Alfredo Despaigne, his sixth, and Ryoya Kurihara, his 17th, off former major leaguer Chen Wei-yin (0-3), and have now beaten the Marines in seven straight games. Yuito Mori notched his 32nd save.

Spangenberg, Lions feast on rookie Yoshida

Corey Spangenberg homered for the second straight night and drove in four runs as the Seibu Lions tattooed rookie Kosei Yoshida (0-2) for eight runs over two innings in a 10-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at MetLife Dome.

Zach Neal (6-8) allowed three runs over five innings to pick up the win. Shuta Tonosaki homered, drove in two runs and scored three, and Reed Garrett worked a scorless inning of relief for the Lions.

Buffaloes bounce Eagles

The Orix Buffaloes broke an eighth-inning tie with two runs off Alan Busenitz (1-4) in an 8-7 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome over the Rakuten Eagles, who fell 3-1/2 games out of the final playoff spot with four games left to play.

Orix lit up Hideaki Wakui for six runs over five innings before the visitors came back to tie it.

Endo goes distance for Carp

Atsushi Endo (5-6) threw a four-hitter for the Hiroshima Carp in a 5-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Hisayoshi Chono went 2-for-3 with two walks a homer three RBIs and his first stolen base since he was with the Giants two years ago, while Jose Pirela had three hits for the Carp.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto went 0-for-4 to remain three hits shy of 2,000 in his career.

Fujinami goes 6 scoreless innings in Tigers’ win

Shintaro Fujinami overcame three two-out walks to go six scoreless innings in the Hanshin Tigers’ 3-2 walkoff win over the Yakult Swallows at Koshien Stadium.

Yusuke Oyama homered in the ninth off Yugo Umeno (4-2) to end it and make a winner out of closer Robert Suarez (3-1) after the Swallows tied it with single runs in the seventh, off Suguru Iwazaki, and in the eighth, off Jon Edwards.

Takahashi lifts Dragons over ‘Stars

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi scored twice and hit a tie-breaking eighth-inning home run in a 5-4 win at Nagoya Dome after the DeNA BayStars tied it on home runs by Neftali Soto and Jose Lopez.

Soto’s 25th made it a 4-1 game in the fifth and Lopez’s 12th, with two on, tied it in the sixth.

Kodai Senga fastest NPB starter to 1,000 Ks

SoftBank Hawks right-hander Kodai Senga, whose family name literally means “1,000 celebrations,” notched his 1,000th strikeout in his 855-1/3 inning on Wednesday night at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Only Kyuji Fujikawa, the longtime former closer of the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers, who will retire this year, reached 1,000 in fewer innings. Fujikawa notched 92 of his strikeouts in 102 career innings as a starter, but he was primarily used as a reliever whose 243 saves are fourth-most in NPB history.

Senga, however, took over the Pacific League record from Hall of Famer Hideo Nomo. Senga started his career as a reliever and has pitched 82 career innings out of the bullpen. Signed after being taken in the developmental draft, Senga notched his first strikeout on April 30, 2012, fanning Lotte catcher Tomoya Satozaki, who was working the game as an analyst on TV Tokyo.

NameTeamInnings
Kyuji FujikawaHanshin Tigers771-2/3
Kodai SengaSoftBank Hawks855-1/3
Hideo NomoKintetsu Buffaloes913

Active roster moves 11/4/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/14

Central League

Activated

GiantsP95Hayato Horioka

Dectivated

GiantsP49Thyago Vieira

Pacific League

Activated

HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu

Dectivated

HawksP44Rick van den Hurk
HawksOF4Wladimir Balentien
HawksOF60Go Kamamoto
FightersP35Takahiro Nishimura

Starting pitchers for Nov. 5, 2020

Pacific League

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Manabu Mima (9-4, 4.21) vs Nao Higashihama (9-1, 2.02)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (4-6, 4.21) vs Wataru Karashima (1-3, 5.46)

Central League

Dragons vs BayStars: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yudai Ono (10-6, 1.91) vs Kentaro Taira (4-5, 2.30)

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

Yuki Nishi (11-5, 2.03) vs Yuto Kanakubo (0-0, 0.00)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuki Yabuta (1-2, 4.75) vs Angel Sanchez (8-4, 3.05)

NPB 2020 Nov. 1

Sunday’s games

Other news

Lions stop streaking Hawks

Wataru Matsumoto (6-6) and four relievers held the SoftBank Hawks to a run on hour hits and no walks in the Seibu Lions’ 3-1 Pacific League win at MetLife Dome on Sunday to move to within 1-1/2 games of the second-place Lotte Marines, who came from behind to tie the Eagles 3-3.

Shunsuke Kasaya (4-4) walked four and hit one, and three of those five free passes scored as the Hawks saw their six-game win streak end. The Hawks jumped out to 1-0 lead after Taisei Makihara’s leadoff double.

Takumi Kurihara singled in the tying run in the first for the Lions and contributed to Seibu’s third-inning go-ahead run with his second single. Takeya Nakamura drove in Seibu’s final runs, with a hard-hit ball the Hawks did well to get an out on and a double.

Marines come back to tie Eagles

The Lotte Marines’ Ikuhiro Kiyota hit a two-run first-inning home run and singled in the seventh to set up the tying run and complete the scoring in a 3-3 10-inning tie against the fourth-place Rakuten Eagles at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Kazuhisa Makita took over for the Eagles in the seventh with one out and two on. He walked Seiya Inoue to load the bases and surrendered Hisanori Yasuda’s game-tying single before pitching out of trouble.

Yuki Matsui took the mound in the ninth for the Eagles and prevented a loss by throwing two scoreless innings.

Nomura, Arihihara beat Buffaloes

Kohei Arihara (8-9) allowed a run in five innings and Yuki James Nomura drove in four runs with a single and a triple to pace the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 7-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome.

Twenty-one-year-old Orix starter Hitomi Honda (0-1) gave up seven runs, three earned, in four innings in his pro debut.

BayStars win 2nd virus test

For the second straight day, the DeNA BayStars threw open the doors to Yokohama Stadium as 24,537 on Friday and 27,850 on Saturday became the first normal-sized crowds to watch a sporting event in Japan since February. Although asked to refrain from cheering and chanting, the home fans got to witness their team come from behind in a 6-5 walk-off win over the Hanshin Tigers.

The stadium is scheduled to be the main venue for softball and baseball when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics start in July 2021.

Just think. The rest of the world can put 2020 behind them when January arrives, but Tokyo will still be advertising “Tokyo 2020” on banners all over the metropolis through much of 2021 to remind of this shit storm of a year—at least until the whole thing is canceled and those banners go the way of the money wasted to secure this fiasco in the first place.

In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, in which people were crammed together to test the effectiveness of removing social distance, the Tigers showed that they could load the bases and not pose a threat to the BayStars, juicing the bags in the fifth, eighth and ninth without a run to show for it.

Otherwise, Neftali Soto, who likely won’t win a third straight CL home run title, hit his 23rd and 24th, closer Kazuki Mishima (2-1) earned the win for the hosts and Takayuki Kajitani singled in the game-winner off Jon Edwards (0-1).

Jerry Sands doubled twice and drove in a run for the Tigers, and Jefry Marte singled in a run in the Tigers’ four-run seventh.

Giants scrape past Swallows

Seishu Hatake (4-4) threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout and Albert Suarez (4-4) allowed an unearned run in five innings to take the loss in the Yomiuri Giants’ 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

Giants-Swallows highlights

Get the rookie trophy ready for Morishita

Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (10-3) pitched out of a couple of tight spots to go eight innings in the Hiroshima Carp’s 3-0 win at Nagoya Dome over the Chunichi Dragons. Geronimo Franzua finished up for his 18th save.

Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi (5-7) allowed three runs, two earned, while striking out 11 over 6-2/3 innings to take the loss.

Active roster moves 11/1/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/11

Central League

Activated

GiantsP62Kai Yokogawa
GiantsIF93Dai Yuasa
GiantsOF2Yang Dai-kang
BayStarsP12Kousuke Sakaguchi
BayStarsP93Koh Nakagawa
BayStarsC50Yuudai Yamamoto
SwallowsP15Yuma Oshita
SwallowsC30Akihisa Nishida
SwallowsIF0Ryota Fujii
SwallowsOF50Tsuyoshi Ueda

Dectivated

GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano
GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki
GiantsIF98Estamy Urena
BayStarsP58Yuta Muto
BayStarsP92Yuki Kuniyoshi
BayStarsC36Shuto Takajo
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga
SwallowsIF58Hideki Nagaoka
SwallowsIF60Ryusei Takeoka

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP50Shunta Nakatsuka
HawksP67Shunsuke Kasaya
BuffaloesP46Hitomi Honda

Dectivated

LionsP21Ken Togame
FightersP17Hiroshi Urano
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Starting pitchers for Nov. 1, 2020

Pacific League

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Enokida (0-1, 7.13) vs Tsubasa Nabatame (0-0, 27.00)

NPB 2020 Oct. 29

Thursday’s games

Other news

‘Stars relievers stuff Giants again

For the second straight night, a Yomiuri Giants hitter who had tied the game earlier with a home run came up with a chance to turn the game around with the bases loaded but were turned away by the BayStars bullpen. Two straight sixth-inning strikeouts stemmed the tide in DeNA’s 5-2 win at Yokohama Stadium.

The Giants loss completed a three-game sweep and prevented them from clinching the pennant in Yokohama. Their magic number, however, dropped to one after the Dragons lost to the Tigers.

Yoshiki Sunada struck out slugging on-base machine Yoshihiro Maru swinging on a 3-2 changeup and right-hander Shingo Hirata got Hiroyuki Nakajima looking at a 3-2 strike to enable starter Kentaro Taira (4-5) to earn the win after allowing a run in 5-1/3 innings.

Taira, who turned pro with the Giants, only pitched in one game for them before he was plucked from among the unprotected players on Yomiuri’s roster as compensation for the signing of free agent and current Toronto Blue Jay Shun Yamaguchi. This puts Taira in the same boat as his outgoing manager, Alex Ramirez, who finished his career in Yokohama after being discarded by the Giants, for whom he won two CL MVP awards.

And while Ramirez tends to be egregiously positive and would have congratulated his former skipper Tatsunori Hara had they clinched in Yokohama, you had to think that sweeping them and preventing them from celebrating in their home park had to be sweet.

Angel Sanchez (8-4) allowed two runs over six innings to take the tough loss and the BayStars piled three runs on after Sanchez was replaced with lefty Kazuto Taguchi. Tyler Austin and Neftali Soto each drove in a run in the inning.

Maru’s home run was his 26th of the season and the 200th of his career.

Jose Lopez had two hits, moving within two of 1,000 in Japan, a milestone that would make him one of three players with 1,000 in both MLB and NPB along with Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto also had two hits, moving him within five of Japan’s iconic 2,000-hit milestone.

Nishi takes cue from Ono

Yuki Nishi (11-5) allowed six hits and a walk over the distance as the Hanshin Tigers took advantage of poor control from Yudai Ono (10-6) to beat the Chunichi Dragons lefty in a 3-1 win at Koshien Stadium.

The irony is that Nishi’s fourth complete game came against Ono, the guy they’e now calling “Mr. Complete Game” because he’s gone the distance in 10 of his 19 starts — a figure that seems incongruous in this age.

Nishi gave up the opening run, a leadoff shot in the first when Yota Kyoda barreled up a waist-high changeup and just cleared the fence at the right-field pole for his fifth home run. The right-hander overcame a two-out “triple” on a miss-played single to right and then shut down the Dragons the rest of the way.

Ono took the mound without his pin-point location but the Tigers only barreled up one of his mistakes in a two-run first. It went: bad pitch + bad swing = leadoff single; bad pitch + good swing = RBI double; tough pitch + good swing = infield single; and an RBI groundout when Yusuke Oyama chased Ball 4 but grounded to short.

The Tigers runs snapped Ono’s streak of 45 consecutive scoreless innings, and the loss dropped the Dragons into third place behind Hanshin.

Chono spoils Swallows’ rookie’s starting debut

Yakult Swallows 20-year-old rookie Yuto Kanakubo, their fifth pick in 2017, threw five scoreless innings in his first career start, but Hisashi Chono’s pinch-hit homer tied it in the Hiroshima Carp’s three-run seventh and both teams left the bases loaded late in the 3-3 10t-inning tie at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Hawks speed past Marines

The SoftBank Hawks’ Ukyo Shuto set an NPB record by stealing a base in his 12th consecutive game and pinch-runner Go Kamamoto scored the winning run from second on a two-run wild pitch from closer Naoya Masuda (3-5) in a 4-3 win over the Lotte Marines at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Matt Moore went eight innings for the Hawks, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits while striking out nine and walking none. Marines reliever Hirokazu Sawamura allowed the Hawks to close within a run in the eighth on a home run by Takuya Kai.

Eagles keep Lions at bay

The Rakuten Eagles took extra BP after the first pitch, hammering Zach Neal (5-8) for five runs over two innings on six hits and three walks in a 13-5 win at MetLife Dome over the Seibu Lions, who remain one game back of the Marines in the battle for the PL’s second and final playoff spot.

Rookie Eagles catcher Takaya Tanaka, a 28-year-old purchased from the Giants on Sept. 28 after two games with them, went 3-for-3 with his first career home run, a squeeze and three RBIs.

Fighters squeak past Buffaloes

Christian Villanueva tied it with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly, and Haruki Nishikawa manufactured the winning run in the 10th in a 4-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome.

The Buffaloes’ back-of-the-bullpen duo, setup man Tyler Higgins and closer Brandon Dickson, kept the game tied 3-3 through nine with one perfect inning apiece. Nishikawa singled with one out and stole second. He slid headfirst and took third after catcher Torai Fushimi’s throw hit off him and into right field for an error. Ryo Watanabe then did his duty with a drive to right to score Nishikawa.

Bryan Rodriguez worked a scoreless inning of relief for the Fighters.

Viciedo out with shoulder injury

Chunichi Dragons’ first baseman Dayan Viciedo injured his left shoulder making a diving catch in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game against the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium and was deactivated on Thursday.

The Dragons, who are the least forthcoming of Japan’s 12 teams regarding player injuries, said he was deactivated due to “insufficient upper body fitness.” This makes me wonder whether would use that catch-all to describe a player losing an arm in a traffic accident.

Active roster moves 10/29/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/8

Central League

Activated

DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Dectivated

TigersP64Kentaro Kuwahara
DragonsC52Takuma Kato
DragonsIF66Dayan Viciedo

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP58Wataru Karashima
MarinesP15Manabu Mima
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
FightersIF24Yuki Nomura

Dectivated

EaglesP12Hiroki Kondo
FightersP36Drew VerHagen
FightersP49Katsuhiko Kumon
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui

Starting pitchers for Oct. 30, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Nick Martinez (2-6, 4.83) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (3-5, 2.69)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Katsunori Hirai (5-4, 4.24) vs Nao Higashihama (8-1, 2.18)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuya Ojima (7-8, 3.84) vs Takayuki Kishi (5-0, 3.75)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Nobutaka Imamura (4-2, 3.48) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-2, 4.18)

BayStars vs Tigers: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masaya Kyoyama (2-1, 4.88) vs Joe Gunkel (1-4, 3.54)

Dragons vs Carp: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yariel Rodriguez (3-4, 4.38) vs Hiroki Tokoda (3-8, 5.37)

NPB 2020 Oct. 28

Wednesday’s games

Other news

Ise saves the day, delays Giants march to “C”

Reliever Hiromu Ise (3-0) helped delay the Yomiuri Giants final push toward their second straight Central League pennant on Wednesday when he got league-home run leader Kazuma Okamoto to hit into a double play, allowing the DeNA BayStars to pull out a 10-6 win at Yokohama Stadium.

The result kept the Giants from lowering their magic number to one following a loss by the second-place Chunichi Dragons. To clinch on Thursday, the Giants will need to win and the Hanshin Tigers will need to come out on top in what could be a great pitchers’ duel between Yudai Ono (10-5) and Yuki Nishi (10-5).

Okamoto, whose 27th home run, a three-run third-inning shot, tied the game 4-4 came up in the fifth with no outs, the bases loaded and the BayStars leding 8-4. But Ise got him to ground to third. A run scored as Okamoto beat the throw to first that would have completed a triple play.

Tyler Austin and Neftali Soto each had two hits for the BayStars, with Soto’s two-run double highlighting a four-run first. Spencer Patton worked an inning of scoreless relief for the hosts.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto went 1-for-2 with a walk and a sac fly to move within seven of Japan’s iconic 2,000-hit milestone.

The BayStars’ Jose Lopez went 0-for-4 with a walk to remain four hits shy of becoming the first imported player with 1,000-plus hits in both MLB and NPB. Two Japanese players, Ichiro Suzuki, and Hideki Matsui, have accomplished the feat.

Fujinami overcomes shaky start

Shintaro Fujinami, making his first start since Sept. 13, cruised after leaving the bases loaded in a one-run first inning and left after four innings in the Hanshin Tigers 9-1 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Koshien Stadium.

Fujinami, once considered the top pitching prospect in a draft class that included Shohei Ohtani, is only now rebuilding his career after a four-year skid. At the end of September, he was put into middle relief, and was impressive.

“He was good in that role,” manager Akihiro Yano said according to Sponichi Annex. “So I thought about keeping him there, but I also wanted to see him start once. Now I want him to start next time.”

Fujinami issued a bases-loaded walk in the first inning after he lost a good-looking third strike on an umpire’s call, but retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced and notched six strikeouts.

Jerry Sands singled and scored the tying run for the Tigers in the sevond, and Jefry Marte doubled in a run and scored in the fifth, and delivered a seventh-inning sacrifice fly. Jon Edwards worked a scoreless inning for the Tigers.

Carp withstand Murakami homers

Atsushi Endo (4-6) allowed a run over seven innings and the Hiroshima Carp scored three runs in the first off lefty Masanori Ishikawa (2-8) in a 3-2 win over the Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Munetaka Murakami moved into a tie for second place in the race for the CL home run title with his 25th and 26th home runs, tying him with Hanshin’s Yusuke Oyama.

Geronimo Franzua recorded his 17th save.

Hawks knock off Marines

SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (10-6) struck out 12 over eight innings in a 2-0 win on Wednesday over the Lotte Marines at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The loss by the second-place Marines left them just one game ahead of the third-place Seibu Lions in the fight for the Pacific League’s final playoff spot after the Hawks clinched the pennant on Tuesday.

Senga allowed four hits and three walks in a 128 effort, while former major leaguer Chen Wei-yin (0-2) also went eight innings. Ryoya Kurihara opened the scoring with his 15th home run to lead off the fifth. Yurisbel Gracial doubled to open the seventh and pinch-runner Yusuke Masago scored on a Nobuhiro Matsuda single.

A day after throwing 39 pitches in a marathon ninth inning, Hawks closer Yuito Mori worked the ninth for his 29th save.

Shuto ties record 11-game stolen base streak

SoftBank’s Ukyo Shuto tied Hall of Famer Yutaka Fukumoto’s NPB record of stealing a base in 11-straight games when he broke toward second base before a pickoff throw to first by the lefty Chen and then slid in safely. Fukumoto, who played his whole career for the PL’s Hankyu Braves, set his record in 1974.

Shuto, like a number of Hawks regulars including Senga and catcher Takuya Kai, turned pro on a non-roster developmental contract. He leads both leagues in steals with 47.

Lions hold off Eagles, close on 2nd

Fumikazu Kimura homered and Takumi Kuriyama hit a two-run double off former Lions ace Hideaki Wakui (11-4) and Seibu closer Tatsushi Masuda overcame a leadoff homer in the ninth inning to close out his 31st save in a 4-3 win over the Rakuten Eagles at MetLife Dome.

The win pulled the Lions to within a game of the Marines for the second and final playoff spot and a berth in the best-of-five PL Climax Series.

Kimura opened the scoring with his seventh home run, a two-run second-inning shot, and Lions rookie Shota Hamaya (3-2) was saved a run in the fourth when first baseman Hotaka Yamakawa threw a runner out at the plate on a groundball to first. Kuriyama’s sixth-inning double off his former teammate made it 4-1 in the sixth.

VerHagen shuts out Buffaloes

Drew VerHagen (8-6) struck out 13 while allowing two hits and no walks, and catcher Shingo Usami singled home the only run in the ninth inning off Orix Buffaloes closer Brandon Dickson (0-4) in a 1-0 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Buffaloes setup man Tyler Higgins struck out all three Fighters he faced in the ninth, including Kensuke Kondo and Sho Nakata, but Dickson walked two in the ninth to set up the tie-breaking run.

Active roster moves 10/28/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/7

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki
GiantsIF98Estamy Urena

Dectivated

GiantsP40Yuri Furukawa
GiantsOF39Soichiro Tateoka

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP18Shota Takeda
FightersP62Daiki Mochizuki
FightersOF3Wang Po-jung
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui

Dectivated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko
FightersC60Takuya Khri
BuffaloesP61Tsubasa Sakakibara

Starting pitchers for Oct. 29, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kosei Yoshida (0-1, 5.84) vs Daiki Tajima (4-6, 4.20)

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Zach Neal (5-7, 4.89) vs Wataru Karashima (0-3, 5.81)

Hawks vs Marines: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Matt Moore (6-3, 2.69) vs Manabu Mima (9-4, 4.40)

Central League

BayStars vs Giants: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kentaro Taira (3-5, 2.35) vs Angel Sanchez (8-3, 3.05)

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

Yuki Nishi (10-5, 2.10) vs Yudai Ono (10-5, 1.79)

Carp vs Swallows: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuki Yabuta (1-2, 4.66) vs Yuto Kanakubo (0-0, 0.00)