Tag Archives: Neftali Soto

NPB wrap 9-2-21

There were a pair of dramatic ties on Thursday in games with both league leaders with lots of ninth-inning action, but no results. I loved the drama, but the ties are truly getting old.

In one of those games, between the Giants and the Swallows, Yakult manager Shingo Takatsu’s orthodox defensive positioning sabotaged his team’s chance to beat the Giants.

I wrote about this issue, what happens when Japanese teams bring the outfield in with runners on second, and based on that research, Takatsu’s ploy looked like a bad choice even before it backfired on him.

Fighters 6, Buffaloes 6

At Sapporo Dome, Orix avoided a three-game sweep with a four-run ninth-inning rally off Nippon Ham’s Bryan Rodriguez.

Masataka Yoshida’s two-run double after Shuhei Fukuda and Yuma Mune reached with one out, made it a 6-4 game, and Yutaro Sugimoto followed with his 22nd home run. New signing Cesar Vargas worked a scoreless ninth to preserve the tie.

A day after driving in four runs against, Orix, Daiki Asama led off Nippon Ham’s first with his fourth home run, off Orix right-hander Daichi Takeyasu. The Buffaloes, who lost 3-1 on Tuesday and 12-1 on Wednesday, equaled their run production from the first two game in the second inning but left the bases loaded.

Kotaro Kurebayashi doubled and Kenya Wakatsuki singled off Ryusei Kawano . Fukuda’s sacrifice fly tied it, and Ryoichi Adachi’s two-out bases-loaded single put the league leaders ahead.

The Fighters tied in the fourth against Takeyasu on Yuki James Nomura single and a Wang Po-jung double, before taking the lead against career minor leaguer Koki Saito. The lefty got the final out in the fourth, but surrendered Ronny Rodriguez’s second homer leading off the fifth. Saito left with one on and two outs, and rookie Taisei Urushihara allowed a single to Nomura and a two-run Kensuke Kondo double that made it 5-2.

Kazunari Ishii, who drove in four runs on Wednesday, made it 6-2 in the eighth against Tyler Higgins with his second hit of the game.

Hawks 5, Eagles 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, SoftBank ace Kodai Senga (4-1, 3.81) struck out eight while allowing two runs over seven innings to win his third straight start.

Taisei Makihara opened the Hawks’ first with his first homer, off

Takahiro Norimoto (8-5, 3.81), who allowed another run in the first on a pair of walks, an infield single and a throwing error.

After he gave up a one-out second-inning single, Norimoto retired nine straight before the Hawks hurt him in the fifth. Makihara and Akira Nakamura singled with one out and Yuki Yanagita belted his PL-leading 24th home run.

Eigoro Mogi’s two-out two-run double got the Eagles on the board in the sixth before both bullpens locked it down. Hiroshi Kaino, SoftBank’s fourth pitcher worked the ninth for his first save as manager Kimiyasu Kudo continues to look for late-inning solutions that don’t involve his top-three late inning relievers, Yuito Mori, Livan Moinelo or Sho Iwasaki, who are all out hurt.

Giants 2, Swallows 2

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Yakult beat dominating closer Thyago Vieira but couldn’t survive a managing goof by skipper Shingo Takatsu.

With one out and a 2-1 lead Takatsu ordered his outfield in to prevent the runner on second from scoring on a weak single, only for Akihiro Wakabayshi to drive the ball just over the head of center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi to bring in the tying run.

Closer Scott McGough, pitching for the first time in five days, left an 0-2 pitch in the heart of the zone that Naoki Yoshikawa lined into center for a single. A sacrifice moved the runner to second, and Wakabayashi exploited the Swallows’ defensive positioning. McGough got out of the inning to avoid the loss.

Yakult ended closer Vieira’s scoreless game streak at 32, breaking a 1-1 ninth-inning tie after Jose Osuna snapped a 25-at-bat hitless streak with a leadoff double. Pinch-runner Naomichi Nishiura was sacrificed to third and Shingo Kawabata, who had struck out against Vieira the night before, singled him home. Former closer Rubby De La Rosa replaced Vieira after a walk put two on with one out and got the Giants out of jail.

Shun Yamaguchi allowed a run on two hits and three walks while striking out seven, and lefty Kota Nakagawa stranded two in the eighth.

Forty-one-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa went six, allowing three hits while striking out five without a walk. Ryuta Konno stranded a pair of Giants in the seventh before Noboru Shimizu (2-4) worked a 1-2-3 eighth.

Yamaguchi lost his no-hit bid in the first inning without allowing a hit, which only makes sense in Japan. Yakult took the lead on two walks, an error and a groundout, before the Giants responded in more orthodox fashion in the second, when cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto led off with his Japan-best 33rd home run.

Giants-Swallows highlights

Carp 11, BayStars 3

At Yokohama Stadium, Ryosuke Kikuchi homered, singled, drew three walks, scored three runs and drove in three to drive the offense as Hiroshima pulled even with DeNA in fifth place.

Allen Kuri (9-6, 3.78) kept a two-out rally alive with a second-inning single to load the bases and Hisayoshi Chono followed by smashing a 1-1 pitch past short that found the gap for a two-run double. Kikuchi, who walked and scored in the second, made it 3-0 in the fourth with his 11th home run.

Rookie BayStars reserve catcher Yudai Yamamoto led off the fifth with his first homer, but the Carp widened the lead in the sixth. DeNA starter Yuya Sakamoto (4-4, 4.77) left with one out and one on in the sixth after issuing his third walk. Reliever Hiromu Ise issued a walk and surrendered a two-run double to rookie Kota Hayashi. Two-time CL home run champ Neftali Soto matched that in the home half with a two-run homer, his 20th before the BayStars’ bullpen poured oil on the fire.

Hiroshima’s Ryoma Nishikawa hit an eighth-inning solo homer, his eighth, and Kosuke Tanaka hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth, his second.

Tigers vs Dragons

At Koshien Stadium, rained out.

Starting pitchers

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

Masahiro Tanaka (4-5, 2.73) vs Wataru Matsumoto (7-6, 3.44)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Kazuya Ojima (6-3, 4.65) vs Takahide Ikeda (3-9, 3.45)

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

Nick Martinez (7-3, 2.09) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (11-5, 1.64)

Swallows vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (3-3, 4.50) vs Daichi Osera (6-3, 3.09)

Dragons vs BayStars: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yudai Ono (4-8, 3.31) vs Masaya Kyoyama (2-3, 5.09)

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

Yuki Nishi (4-9, 3.50) vs Shosei Togo (8-5, 3.69)

Active roster moves 9/2/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/12

Central League


TigersP19Shintaro Fujinami
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez


TigersIF26Fumiya Hojo
DragonsP24Koji Fukutani

Pacific League


HawksP49Yuto Furuya
HawksIF52Richard Sunagawa
HawksOF51Seiji Uebayashi
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu
BuffaloesP48Koki Saito
BuffaloesP98Chang Yi


HawksP39Shuto Ogata
HawksIF8Kenji Akashi
HawksOF71Dariel Alvarez
MarinesP46Daiki Iwashita
BuffaloesP49Keisuke Sawada
BuffaloesP57Nobuyoshi Yamada

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NPB wrap 6-3-21

Interleague Day 9

The leagues split Thursday’s games, two wins, two losses and one tie after the Carp and Fighters were rained out in Hiroshima with Nippon Ham leading 5-2.

The Central League leads this year 24-20-7 at approximately the half-way mark, while being outscored 211-197. The Chunichi Dragons lead the interleague standings 6-1-2, with the CL’s last-place club, the DeNA BayStars, right behind at 5-2-2.

The BayStars’ win over the Hawks knocked SoftBank out of the PL lead, preventing Friday’s opener at Koshien, where the Hanshin Tigers will play SoftBank, from being a clash between league leaders.

Giants 4, Lions 4

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri right-hander Seishu Hatake loaded the bases with two outs and veteran Takumi Kuriyama tied the game with a two-run single. Hiroyuki Nakajima and Ginjiro Sumitani staked Angel Sanchez to a four-run lead. Sanchez left with two outs and two on in the sixth after surrendering a leadoff homer to Tomoya Mori.

Yomiuri shredded its former ace Tetsuya Utsumi (-) in his return to his old park, with Giants catcher Sumitani getting in the big blow. Going to the plate to the sound of Utsumi’s old walk-up music, Sumitani, whose free-agent signing by the Giants allowed Seibu to grab Utsumi as compensation, belted a two-run second-inning homer against his old team that made it 3-0.

Utsumi allowed only three run over two innings in which he walked four and surrendered five hits, including a home run, thanks to two double plays and a Giants runner stumbling on the bases.

Career minor leaguer Seiji Kawagoe homered for the Lions in the seventh to narrow the gap.

Giants-Lions highlights.

Eagles 4, Swallows 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Daichi Suzuki doubled, walked, scored one run and singled in the go-ahead run as Rakuten came from behind to beat Yakult. The Swallows took the lead on third-inning homers by Yasutaka Shiomi, his seventh, and Norichika Aoki, his first, off Ryota Takinaka (4-2).

Cy Sneed (1-1) allowed the tying runs to score in the fourth, when he issued two walks, allowed two singles and hit a batter. Hiroto Kobukata singled with one out in the sixth, stole second and scored on Suzuki’s single. Kobukata scored an insurance run in the ninth with his second home run. Takinaka went five innings, and the bullpen did the rest of the heavy lifting to close it out with Yuki Matsui striking out three of the four batters he faced to record his 16th save.

BayStars 4, Hawks 3

At Yokohama Stadium, new SoftBank import Colin Rea got a rude awakening in his Japan debut, surrendering a three-run first-inning home run to Tyler Austin, his ninth, but allowed just three more base runners through six, when he left with the game tied 3-3.

Yuya Sakamoto worked six scoreless innings for DeNA, but Nobuhiro Matsuda tagged Edwin Escobar for a three-run homer in the seventh that took Rea off the hook for the loss. Rea threw 74 pitches, walked one and hit one while striking out five, but was pulled for a pinch-hitter after Matsuda’s seventh home run.

Reliever Keisuke Izumi (1-2) surrendered a run on doubles by Neftali Soto and Yamato Maeda. Yasuaki Yamasaki got past the heart of the Hawks order in the eighth, and Kazuki Mishima closed it out in the ninth to earn his ninth save.

Dragons 4, Marines 3

At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi tied the game 3-3 in the seventh inning, Toshiki Abe plating Dayan Viciedo with a squeeze bunt, Yohei Oshima homered off Yuki Karakawa (3-2) in the bottom of the eighth and Katsuki Matayoshi worked the ninth to record his fifth save.

Naomichi Donoue, starting for the first time this season, homered in the first, while journeyman reserve Masataka Iryo homered for the first time in five years to make it 2-0 in the second against Fumiya Motomae.

Akiyoshi Katsuno allowed a run through six for the Dragons, who blew the lead in the seventh with Hiroto Fuku on the mound. Katsuya Kakunaka drew a leadoff walk, and Brandon Laird followed with his 12th home run.

Buffaloes 7, Tigers 3

At Koshien Stadium, 19-year-old rookie Orix shortstop Kotaro Kurebayashi’s third home run of the season, a two-run shot, broke a 3-3 eighth-inning tie off reliever Suguru Iwazaki (1-3).

The Tigers jumped in front on a two-run first-inning Yusuke Oyama off Sachiya Yamasaki and rookie Teruaki Sato hit his 14th homer in the second. Masataka Yoshida doubled and scored in the Buffaloes’ two-run fourth off Raul Alcantara, who allowed three runs over seven innings. Orix leadoff man Shuhei Fukuda walked and scored in the fourth and singled in the tying run in the fifth.

Carp vs Fighters, rained out

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, the rain washed out a game Chihiro Kaneko might have won with Nippon Ham leading Hiroshima 5-2 after Kaneko singled in two runs.


Starting pitchers

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

Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (-) vs Takahide Ikeda (2-5, 2.85)

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

Masanori Ishikawa (0-1, 3.60) vs Kona Takahashi (5-0, 2.77)

BayStars vs Marines: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Masaya Kyoyama (0-2, 7.43) vs Shota Suzuki (1-3, 3.30)

Dragons vs Buffaloes: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yudai Ono (2-3, 3.50) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (4-5, 2.39)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (3-2, 2.50) vs Shuta Ishikawa (3-3, 2.74)

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

Yuta Nakamura (0-2, 11.00) vs Hideaki Wakui (5-3, 3.75)

Active roster moves 6/3/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/13

Central League


GiantsP59Toyoki Tanaka
CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
SwallowsP54Cy Sneed


GiantsP62Kai Yokogawa
CarpC32Yuta Shirahama
CarpOF55Ryuhei Matsuyama

Pacific League


HawksP26Colin Rea
MarinesP49Fumiya Motomae
MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano
LionsP27Tetsuya Utsumi
FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki


HawksP40Kazuki Sugiyama
MarinesIF44Seiya Inoue
FightersP36Drew VerHagen