Tag Archives: Robert Suarez

NPB 2020 Oct. 21

Wednesday’s games

Other news

Senga deals Hawks to victory

The SoftBank Hawks turned a pitchers’ duel into a rout with seven runs off the Nippon Ham Fighters’ bullpen in a 9-1 win at Sapporo Dome on Wednesday. The Hawks, looking to win their first Pacific League pennant in three years, lowered their magic number to eight.

The Japanese news on Thursday will be the Hawks HAVE a magic number. But don’t be confused. That’s just the way they do things here.

Hawks ace Kodai Senga (9-6) allowed a run in the second on three ground balls that weren’t particularly well hit. He left after 6-1/3 innings having allowed seven hits and a walk while striking out five.

Drew VerHagen (7-6) allowed three runs over 6-2/3 innings. He gave up eight hits and a walk while striking out six.

Until the bullpen got involved everything revolved around the Hawks’ Ukyo Shuto and the Fighters’ Taishi Ota.

Shuto dropped a ground ball at second, allowing second-inning leadoff hitter Sho Nakata to reach on an error. Ryo Watanabe reached on a grounder to third. Ota smacked a breaking ball up in the zone through the infield, and Nakata just beat the throw home.

The Hawks took the lead in the fifth. Takuya Kai singled and scored when Shuto burned around the bases on a triple to the gap in left center. The Hawks’ speedster then scored on Akira Nakamura’s fly to right, barely beating the tag after a strong throw from Ota arrived on the first-base side of the plate.

With one out and two on in the bottom of the sixth, Ota hit a fly to medium deep right field,  Nakata barreled home, but Ryoya Kurihara’s throw was on the third-base side of the plate, and lacking Shuto’s speed, Nakata was out. Shuto sparked a three-run seventh with a two-out walk that chased VerHagen. Reliever Mizuki Hori walked Nakamura and surrendered an RBI single to Yuki Yanagita. Takahiro Nishimura came in and gave up a two-run double to Yurisbel Gracial.

Déjà vu all over again

For the second straight night, Shuta Tonosaki led off the bottom of the ninth against Lotte Marines closer Naoya Masuda (3-4) and scored the winning run on a ball hit by Kakeru Yamanobe to lift the Seibu Lions to a 2-1 win at MetLife Dome.

For the second straight night, Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda (5-0) worked dangerously. A night after he blew a one-run save, he pitched out of trouble to keep the game tied. Tonosaki drew a leadoff walk and instead of scoring on a dropped fly ball as he did on Tuesday, scored on a Yamanobe single.

Ernesto Mejia’s fourth-inning RBI single opened the scoring, and the Marines tied it in the seventh on a double play after Ikuhiro Kiyota and Hisanori Yasuda singled to open the inning.

Oshiro HR lifts Buffaloes

Koji Oshiro homered in the ninth inning off Yuki Matsui (4-5) to lift the Orix Buffaloes to a 6-5 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Buffaloes setup man Tyler Higgins (3-3) earned the win after he surrendered the tying run in the bottom of the eighth. Brandon Dickson loaded the bases in the ninth but allowed no runs to notch his 15th save.

The Eagles’ Stefen Romero capped a four-run first inning with a three-run home run, his 21st.

Swallows win battle for the ages

Forty-year-old Masanori Ishikawa (2-7) allowed a run over six innings and Munetaka Murakami, who is 20 years, 11 days younger, brought the Yakult Swallows from a run down with his 24th home run to beat the Central League-leading Yomiuri Giants 2-1 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto broke up the scoreless game with a fourth-inning home run, his 17th. The visitors blew a chance for a fifth-inning insurance run when Yoshihiro Maru was put out trying to score from third when Takumi Oshiro failed to bunt a breaking ball in the strike zone.

With Norichika Aoki aboard in the sixth, Murakami hit an improbably low pitch from Giants lefty Yuki Takahashi and hit a nine-iron into the left-field stands for an opposite-field home run.

Dragons centurian Viciedo beats BayStars

Dayan Viciedo’s three-run home run, his 16th of the season and the 100th of his Japan career, overturned a 2-1 deficit and lifted the Chunichi Dragons to a 4-2 win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome.

Tyler Austin singled in both of DeNA’s runs in the first and third, but Edwin Escobar surrendered one-out hits to Yohei Oshima and Yota Kyoda before Viciedo took him deep with two outs. The Dragons bullpen, weakened by the loss of closer Raidel Martinez, allowed six of the BayStars’ final 13 batters to reach but no runs.

Marte returns, homers in Tigers’ win

Jefry Marte returned after a 3-1/2 month absence to smash a two-run homer that lifted the Hanshin Tigers to a 2-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium.

Koyo Aoyagi (7-8) worked 5-1/3 innings. He gave up a hit, two walks and hit a batter while striking out eight. Closer Robert Suarez, the Tigers’ fifth pitcher, worked a 1-2-3 ninth to take over the CL saves lead with his 22nd.

Carp starter Atsushi Endo (3-6) allowed two runs over six innings. He struck out nine.

Tigers may be done with Fukudome

Kosuke Fukudome, who at 43 is the oldest player in Nippon Professional Baseball, has been notified by the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers that he is not in their plans for next year, the Nikkan Sports reported Wednesday.

Such notices usually mean a player will be released or sold, but that is not always the case. It is noteworthy that when the Tigers became a novel coronavirus cluster in September, Fukudome had been one of those who had broken team protocols by dining out in a group of eight — twice the team’s limit.

As happens in Japan, at least one head had to role when a problem occurred in conjunction with rulebreaking and team president Kenji Ageshio announced on Oct. 9 that he would step down.

Another thing that happens in Japan is that the punishment and blame handed to athletes who break the rules is in inverse proportion to their competitiveness.

When a number of Japanese badminton players were found to have visited a casino–which are illegal in Japan–the most lenient treatment was reserved for world No. 2 Kento Momota, who missed the 2016 Olympics but has since returned to competition.

When a number of Yomiuri Giants pitchers were found to have bet on baseball, the lightest punishment was reserved for the only one who was any good. And after sitting out for one year and showing remorse, lefty Kyosuke Takagi resumed his career.

In 2019, Fukudome posted a .347 on-base-percentage, his worst as a regular in Japan. This year, his struggles have intensified, making him vulnerable to pay a price for his failure to follow the rules.

A former CL MVP, Fukudome spent five seasons in the United States, where he may have had the worst NPB-to-MLB translated value in history.

An on-base machine with good power (career .383 OBP .495 slug), who was killed by his first pro home park, Nagoya Dome, Fukudome’s offensive numbers in the majors (.359 .395) fell off considerably despite playing in excellent hitters’ parks.

Using Bill James Win Shares, most Japanese players lose some value going to the States, and after coming back past their prime, regain a little or stay about where they were in terms of value. Fukudome dropped sharply when he left and rebounded sharply when he returned.

I haven’t had a chance to speak with him about it, but MLB’s more challenging travel requirements and training routines may have been particularly hard on him. These differences can be very tough on Japanese players–regardless of Hideki Okajima‘s assertion that it was easy for him and “if it’s hard to adjust, you don’t belong in MLB.”

Marines: Laird has undergone surgery

Lotte Marines third baseman Brandon Laird underwent surgery for a lumbar disk hernia on Monday in Arizona, the Pacific League club announced Wednesday. The 33-year-old is in his sixth Japan season and his second with the Chiba-based Marines.

He was deactivated on Aug. 5 and traveled to the States 11 days later. He has played in 39 games this year with six home runs, giving him 169 in Japan. Laird was instrumental in the Nippon Ham Fighters winning the 2016 PL pennant and Japan Series, and is well known in Japan for his “sushi-making” home run celebration.

TIme for sushi.

Buffaloes drop ace Yamamoto

A day after yet another sharp outing in which he allowed two runs over seven innings, the Orix Buffaloes dropped ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Wednesday.

Yamamoto was taken off the hook for the loss when Orix came back to tie it 2-2 in the ninth inning. The 22-year-old leads both leagues with 149 strikeouts and tops the Pacific League with a 2.20 ERA and 126-2/3 innings. The move, according to the Daily Sports, was made out of consideration for his lower-body fitness and overall fatigue.

The Chunichi Dragons also made a move, dropping closer Raidel Martinez, who has struck out over 11 batters per nine innings and is tied for the league saves lead with Robert Suarez of the Hanshin Tigers.

As usual, the Dragons failed to specify any reason for Martinez’s move other than saying it was due to a lack of lower-body fitness.”

Active roster moves 10/21/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/31

Central League

Activated

TigersP66Ippei Ogawa
TigersIF31Jefry Marte
TigersIF55Naomasa Yokawa
DragonsP53Luis Gonzalez

Dectivated

TigersP77Onelki Garcia
TigersP92Kazuo Ito
TigersOF32Kota Inoue
DragonsP97Raidel Martinez

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesP61Tsubasa Sakakibara
BuffaloesP68Yu Suzuki

Dectivated

HawksP67Shunsuke Kasaya
FightersP15Naoyuki Uwasawa
BuffaloesP18Yoshinobu Yamamoto
BuffaloesP28Ryoga Tomiyama

Starting pitchers for Oct. 22, 2020

Pacific League

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

Kosei Yoshida (0-0, 8.53) vs Matt Moore (5-3, 3.00)

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

Takayuki Kishi (4-0, 3.74) vs Daiki Tajima (4-5, 4.01)

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

Zach Neal (4-7, 5.13) vs Kazuya Ojima (7-7, 3.50)

Central League

Swallows vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Yoshida (2-6, 4.82) vs Angel Sanchez (7-3, 3.34)

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

Yudai Ono (9-5, 1.92) vs Kentaro Taira (3-4, 2.48)

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

Minoru Iwata (1-1, 4.58) vs Kazuki Yabuta (0-2, 4.99)

NPB 2020 Oct. 19

Monday’s games

PL

  • Marines vs Fighters, postponed, rain

Other news

Iwakuma to call it quits

Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma said Monday that this season will be his last. The 39-year-old turned pro out of high school after being taken in the fifth round of the 1999 draft by the now defunct Kintetsu Buffaloes.

Iwakuma went 107-69 in Japan and 63-39 in six seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He joined the Yomiuri Giants as a free agent in 2019, when he appeared in two Eastern League games. He has not played this year.

When the Buffaloes merged with the Pacific League rival Orix BlueWave in 2004, triggering Japanese baseball’s lone labor action, Iwakuma was sold to the Rakuten Eagles after a long dispute with Orix.

One of the key issues that summer was whether the owners could unilaterally remake NPB’s established format of two six-team leagues after the owners accepted a merger without any plan about how to move forward with 11 teams.

After players went on strike and forced the cancellation of two weekends worth of games, the owners agreed to expedite the creation of an expansion franchise. This was something they originally argued was possible — and in so doing honor an age-old pro baseball tradition of owners telling something is impossible only to turn around and do just that when they have the will to do so.

Another part of the agreement, although not written, but spoken at the Nagoya Castle Hotel press conference, was a statement from Orix’s official representative that no Kintetsu player would be taken by Orix in the merger if they refused to play for the new club.

Iwakuma along with Kintetsu players rep Koichi Isobe was the most vocal of the Buffaloes about refusing to sign with Orix. But when the distribution draft was held to allow the new Rakuten Eagles access to surplus talent on the Orix and Kintetsu rosters, Iwakuma was among those protected from selection.

Orix’s explained its decision “We promised but you can’t expect us to honor it when a player is actually important to us.”

Iwakuma, however, stuck to his guns and refused to go to Orix, eventually forcing the team to sell him to the fledgling Eagles.

After the 2010 season, the Rakuten Eagles posted Iwakuma, but he returned to the Eagles after failing to reach a deal with the Oakland Athletics, who won the sole right to negotiate with him in the bidding.

Ties can be thrillers, too

Although not enjoyable because of its see-saw nature, the Hanshin Tigers’ 10-inning 1-1 tie with the Yakult Swallows on a Monday makeup game at Koshien Stadium was just a terrific game.

It was well pitched, well played, some good swings on tough pitches, a personal speed record by one of Japan’s fastest pitchers, two brothers pitching on opposing sides and both teams seeing their 10th-inning rallies on nice catches.

Joe Gunkel started for the Tigers and went five innings. He did well to allow only a run after allowing four hits in the fourth inning, but a sharply hit grounder to third with the bases jammed was turned for an inning-ending double play.

The game also saw the Tigers’ Justin Bour bunt in attempt to beat the shift before smashing a pitch to the left of second for a single.

Albert Suarez allowed an unearned run over six innings when pinch-hitter Kento Itohara did well to put the bat on the ball for an RBI game-tying single. Shintaro Fujinami hit 162 kph on the radar gun as he struck out the side in the top of the seventh.

Scott McGough answered with a 1-2-3 inning in the home half for the Swallows and so it went. Suarez’s younger brother Robert struck out two in the top of the ninth for the Tigers, while Swallows closer Taishi Ishiyama worked around a Jerry Sands single in the home half.

Both teams put the potential go-ahead run on base in the 10th, but the Swallows’ rally died with the runner on second as shortstop Ryuhei Kobata made an outstanding catch to snare a liner. The Swallows returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, when second baseman Tetsuto Yamada caught a one-out liner with the runner going for an easy game-ending double play.

Active roster moves 10/19/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/29

Central League

Activated

SwallowsP24Tomoya Hoshi

Dectivated

BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
DragonsP50Tatsuya Shimizu
SwallowsOF51Taiki Hamada

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

MarinesP15Manabu Mima
MarinesIF40Koki Fukuda
MarinesOF10Shohei Kato
FightersP20Kenta Uehara
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi
FightersP39Ryo Akiyoshi
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi
BuffaloesIF0Shoki Katsumata

Starting pitchers for Oct. 20, 2020

Pacific League

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

Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-5, 2.54) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (3-3, 2.93)

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

Takahiro Norimoto (5-5, 3.84) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (8-4, 2.18)

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

Kona Takahashi (7-8, 3.87) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (7-4, 4.15)

Central League

Swallows vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-5, 4.72) vs Shosei Togo (8-5, 2.76)

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

Koji Fukutani (6-2, 2.78) vs Shinichi Onuki (9-4, 2.21)

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

Onelki Garcia (2-5, 4.11) vs Allen Kuri (6-5, 3.44)

NPB 2020 OCT. 18

Sunday’s games

Other news

Hawks score 9 off Eagles’ pen

The SoftBank Hawks inched closer to their first Pacific League pennant in three years on Sunday, when a seven-run eighth inning lifted them to an 11-4 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Leadoff man Ukyo Shuto energized the Hawks attack with a double, a triple, two singles, three steals, three runs and two RBIs.

Both starters, the Eagles’ Ryota Takinaka and the Hawks’ Tsuyoshi Wada looked really good at times, but both were too inconsistent. Neither made it through the fifth inning, which ended in a 4-4 tie after D.J. Johnson surrendered two runs in the fifth.

The only consolation in Johnson’s outing was the lone out he recorded, when Yuki Yanagita’s bat broke and landed at the edge of the outfield on his groundout to first.

Nobuhiro Matsuda’s leadoff walk in the eighth started the winning rally, and pinch-hitter Kenji Akashi’s one-out double plated a pinch-runner with the go-ahead run off Kazuhisa Makita (1-2).

Livan Moinelo (2-2), SoftBank’ fifth pitcher, earned the win in relief, while Cuban compatriot Yurisbel Gracial had a pair of RBI singles.

The win moved the Hawks 5-1/2 games ahead of the Lotte Marines, 5-2 losers in Chiba to the Nippon Ham Fighters, and 11 games ahead of the Eagles, who are struggling to reach the PL playoffs, limited this year to two teams.

Arihara repels Marines

Kohei Arihara (7-8) allowed a run over seven innings, and the Nippon Ham Fighters scored four fifth-inning runs off Manabu Mima (9-4) in their 5-2 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Kotaro Kiyomiya walked twice and scored twice for the Fighters, while Shingo Usami and Kensuke Kondo each drove in two.

Teenager Miyagi impresses in loss

Nineteen-year-old lefty Hiroya Miyagi suffered a three-run second-inning hiccup in an otherwise solid six-inning starting debut for the Orix Buffaloes in a 3-2 loss to the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Seibu Lions leadoff hitter Yuji Kaneko chased a 1-2 pitch just before it bounced and lined it to left with an Ichiro-caliber swing for a two-run single.

Sosuke Genda hit the next pitch, a high straight fastball into left to complete the damage. Miyagi (0-1) then retired the last 13 batters he faced before leaving after six.

“I allowed runs when I left pitches up,” Miyagi said, showing he has already mastered the Japanese excuse to the media that every bad pitch is “up.”

“After I gave up the two-run single, I had to shut them down, and I have to address that (one pitch that actually was up).”

Miyagi was taken in the first round of last year’s autumn draft although he was actually Orix’s third pick after they lost draft-day lotteries for slugging high school third baseman Takaya Ishikawa (Chunichi) and corporate league lefty Ryusei Kawano (Nippon Ham).

“He pitched plenty well,” Buffaloes acting manager Satoshi Nakajima said. “He’s going to contribute to wins.”

The Buffaloes nearly came back in the ninth, when Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda allowed one run and got the last two outs with tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first. Masuda earned his 28th save, while Wataru Matsumoto (5-5) earned the win after allowing a run over six innings.

Kajitani KOs Giants

Takayuki Kajitani’s seventh-inning grand slam brought the DeNA BayStars from behind and his two-run eighth-inning blast turned the game into a rout in a 10-6 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Yokohama Stadium.

Kajitani’s two home runs give him 19 for the season, two shy of the career-high 21 he hit in 2017.

It was the second-straight come-from behind win for the BayStars.

Despite their loss, the Giants retained their 11-game lead over the Chunichi Dragons, while their magic number to clinch their second straight pennant dropped to seven.

Tigers survive Murakami onslaught

Munetaka Murakami hit his 23rd home run, hit three doubles and drove in all of the Yakult Swallows’ runs but it wasn’t enough as the Hanshin Tigers scored early and often against Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-6) to outlast the visitors 6-5 at Koshien Stadium.

Justin Bour capped a four-run Tigers first with his a two-run homer, his 17th, while Jon Edwards worked a scoreless inning of relief for the Tigers. Closer Robert Suarez allowed a run in the ninth but held on for his 21st save when Murakami was unable to score on Akihisa Nishida’s two-out single.

Scott McGough worked a scoreless eighth for the Swallows.

Carp emerge from bullpen hell

After surrendering four late runs in each of their previous two games, the Hiroshima Carp bullpen locked out the Chunichi Dragons in a 5-0 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium behind a three-run Seiya Suzuki homer and a pair of Ryoma Nishikawa solo shots.

Yuta Nakamura (3-2) allowed seven hits, two walks and hit a batter but pitched out of four tight spots in his seven innings to earn the win. Makoto Kemna worked the eighth to protect a 4-0 lead and Geronimo Franzua  worked around a pair of singles in the ninth.

Active roster moves 10/18/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/28

Central League

Activated

GiantsP28Kazuto Taguchi
GiantsC38Yukinori Kishida
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama

Dectivated

GiantsC22Seiji Kobayashi
GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesC55Takaya Tanaka
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi

Dectivated

EaglesC44Yuichi Adachi

Starting pitchers for Oct. 19, 2020

Pacific League

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

Takuro Furuya (0-0, 3.00) vs Kenta Uehara (1-3, 3.73)

Central League

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

Joe Gunkel (1-4, 3.74) vs Albert Suarez (4-2, 2.66)

NPB 2020 Oct. 15

Thursday’s games

Other news

Hasegawa slams clinches Hawks sweep

After being shutout in two straight games, the Orix Buffaloes finally managed to score, but 14-year veteran Yuya Hasegawa broke up a close game in the sixth inning with his first career grand slam in the SoftBank Hawks’ 9-4 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

The three-game sweep moved the Hawks four games clear atop the Pacific League standings ahead of the Lotte Marines, who lost 6-0 at home to the Rakuten Eagles. The Hawks have won the last three Japan Series, but haven’t won a PL pennant since 2017.

Hawks right-hander Shuta Ishikawa (8-3) was hard to hit as usual with his customary lack of command. He allowed two runs over five innings on three hits, two walks and three hit batsmen.

Akira Nakamura singled in the tie-breaking run in the sixth and Hasegawa, pinch-hitting for Wladimir Balentien, faced new pitcher Motoki Higa after Taiki Tajima (4-5) loaded the bases with one out.

Yurisbel Gracial went 3-for-4 with two runs for the Hawks, while Steven Moya went 2-for-4 with an RBI double for Orix.

Eagles close on 2nd behind Kishi shutout

Takayuki Kishi threw his first shutout in two years as the Rakuten Eagles moved to within four games of the second-place Lotte Marines with a 6-0 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

At the same park where in May 2014 he threw his only no-hitter while a member of the Seibu Lions, Kishi (4-0) struck out 13, one shy of his career high, set in 2018. The right-hander allowed two hits and walked one.

Good breaks and good swings put the visitors in front in a four-run second against Kazuya Ojima (7-7). Stefen Romero hit a flare off the end of the bat for a leadoff single. Kazuki Tanaka chased a pitch out of the zone but hit it well for a single. A fielders choice on a sacrifice loaded the bases with no outs.

Rookie Hiroto Kobukata lined a fastball down the pipe for a two-run double and Daichi Suzuki followed with a two-run single off his former team. Romero went 3-for-4 with two runs for the Eagles.

Double-time Kondo ravages Lions

Kensuke Kondo doubled four times, singled, scored twice and drove in four early runs in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 8-3 win over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome.

The Fighters’ top two hitters, Haruki NIshikawa and Shota Hiranuma each reached in the first and second, helping the Fighters build a quick 5-0 lead against Zach Neal (4-5).

Nick Martinez (2-6) allowed three runs over six innings on three hits and three walks to earn the win. 2019 MVP Tomoya Mori accounted for all three Lions runs with a three-run, third-inning home run, his eighth.

Takahashi picks up Dragons pen

The Chunichi Dragons’ bullpen blew a lead for the first time in ages, but Shuhei Takahashi belted a three-run walk-off homer against Hanshin Tigers closer Robert Suarez (2-1) in a 5-3 win at Nagoya Dome.

After back-to-back shutout wins in the series’ first two games, Takahiro Matsuba worked five scoreless innings despite putting two men on in three of them. Yoichi Oshima singled to open the Dragons’ first and scored on a Zoilo Almonte single.

Matsuba also had two hits and contributed to one of Chunichi’s runs, when Oshima doubled in a run in the fourth to make it 2-0.

Dragons relievers Keisuke Tanimoto and Hiroto Fuku kept the Tigers scoreless through seven before Daisuke Sobue blew the lead in Hanshin’s three-run eighth. Jon Edwards worked a scoreless eighth to preserve the visitors’ only lead of the series, but things went south in the ninth.

With one out and two on, Dayan Viciedo lined out to second. Reserve second baseman Kai Ueda’s throw to double off the runner at second was wild and put the winning run at second with two outs

Suarez threw Takahashi a 1-1 159-kph fastball down the pipe, and he hit it off the end of the bat. The fly ball sliced but just stayed fair down the left-field line for an opposite-field three-run home run.

Matsuyama salvages draw for Carp

Ryuhei Matsuyama hit a Tokyo Dome special, a high opposite-field fly to the the dome’s invitingly close walls in straight-away left and right, for a two-run game-tying home run for the Hiroshima Carp in their 5-5 10-inning tie against the Yomiuri Giants.

The Carp had a golden opportunity to break the tie in the eighth but it died in a failed squeeze attempt.

Ryosuke Kikuchi, the Carp’s seven-time Golden Glove Award-winning second baseman, set a Central League record by recording 434 consecutive errorless chances.

“If you ask me, a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage is boring, since human beings make mistakes and you want to know the guy out there is human.”

–Pro Yakyu News analyst Yutaka Takagi, when asked about Kikuchi’s chances of surpassing his own single-season record for highest fielding percentage at second base.

Giants-Carp highlights.

Rookie Yoshida holds off BayStars’

Rookie right-hander Daiki Yoshida (2-6) allowed two runs over six innings and drove in one run with a sacrifice fly in the Yakult Swallows’ 4-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Keita Sano opened the scoring in the second inning by homering for the fourth straight game, but the Swallows took the lead in the home half on Yoshida’s sac fly. The Swallows’ Munetaka Murakami hit his 22nd home run, while Takayuki Kajitani hit his 17th for DeNA.

Active roster moves 10/15/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/25

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP59Kentaro Taira
TigersP22Kyuji Fujikawa
DragonsP38Takahiro Matsuba
SwallowsP28Daiki Yoshida

Dectivated

GiantsP47Takahiro Fujioka
SwallowsP64Ren Kazahari

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesP66Ryo Yoshida

Dectivated

BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki
BuffaloesP15Yudai Aranishi

Starting pitchers for Oct. 16, 2020

Pacific League

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

Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 6.08) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (2-4, 2.76)

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

Kota Futaki (6-2, 3.33) vs Toshihiro Sugiura (6-4, 3.09)

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

Matt Moore (4-3, 3.06) vs Takahiro Shiomi (4-7, 4.41)

Central League

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

Shoichi Ino (6-6, 4.07) vs Nobutaka Imamura (3-2, 3.99)

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

Yuki Nishi (9-4, 2.18) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-1, 4.82)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (3-6, 5.92) vs Yariel Rodriguez (2-4, 4.12)

NPB 2020 OCT. 11

Sunday’s games

Other news

Hawks take 2 from nemeses Marines

Tsuyoshi Wada (7-1) survived uncharacteristic command issues to work five innings and a parade of six relievers completed a combined three-hitter as the SoftBank Hawks beat the Lotte Marines 3-0 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome and knocking their nemeses two games back in the Pacific League pennant race.

Wada walked four batters and struck out six while allowing his only hit with two outs and none on in the fifth inning. Yuito Mori worked around a ninth-inning single to record his 26th save of the year and the 100th of his career.

Manabu Mima (9-3) allowed three runs over seven innings on eight hits and three walks. Ukyo Shuto got things started for the Hawks in the third with a one-out single. He’d reached in the first on a bouncer to short, and Mima jammed him in the third but his flare fell into shallow center. He then scored on an Akira Nakamura double.

Nobuhiro Matsuda homered to open the fourth, Wladimir Balentien singled, was sacrificed to second and scored from third on Shuto’s second infield hit of the game. Shuto also stole two bases to raise his league-leading total to 34.

No cigar in Sendai

Ryota Takinaka, the Rakuten Eagles’ sixth pick in the 2019 draft, earned his first career win but lost his shutout bid with two outs in the ninth inning of an 8-2 win over the Seibu Lions at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

throwing a particularly nasty curve and a good changeup, the 25-year-old Takinaka (1-1) allowed five hits while striking out eight and walking none. Whem Takinaka gave up Ernesto Mejia’s two-out two-run double in the ninth on his 129th pitch, Eagles manager Hajime Miki finally pulled the plug on the youngster’s bid to go the distance.

“I really wanted him to go all the way, but considering his pitch count, his current fitness and some other things I decided we’d try for that next time,” Miki said. “He mixed his pitches well and changed speeds.”

“Of course, his curve was as advertised but I thought the big thing was his command of the fastball.”

After Saturday’s game was called after three innings and cost both the Eagles and the Lions a starting pitcher, Takinaka’s going into the ninth gave Rakuten a break going into Monday’s makeup game, while the Lions needed three of their second-tier relievers after starter Wataru Matsumoto (4-5), who gave up five runs in four innings.

Hideto Asamura hit his PL-leading 30th home run for the Eagles.

Higgins KO’s Fighters in 7th

Tyler Higgins faced off with one of the Nippon Ham Fighters more dangerous hitters, coming in with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh and kept the hosts off the board in the Orix Buffaloes’ 7-5 win at Sapporo Dome.

Higgins struck out Ota on six pitches with three swinging strikes at his changeup to end the inning. Ota had helped the Fighters close the gap with a two-run double in their four-run sixth. In the eighth, the right-hander struck out cleanup hitter Sho Nakata, who’d homered in the sixth, en route to a 1-2-3 eighth.

Buffaloes starter Hirotoshi Masui (2-2) returned to his old stomping grounds and earned the win after allowing three runs in 5-1/3 innings on a day when Orix skipper Satoshi Nakajima, a longtime player and coach with the Fighters, gave his imported hitters the day off.

Dragons get past rookie Togo

Tatsuya Shimizu (1-0) scattered four walks and three hits over 5-2/3 innings and got some big help from the bullpen to earn the win as the Chunichi Dragons beat Yomiuri Giants and rookie of the year candidate Shosei Togo 7-0 at Nagoya Dome.

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi broke the scoreless deadlock in the fourth with an RBI single, and 35-year-old right-hander Keisuke Tanimoto retired Zelous Wheeler with two on and two outs in the top of the sixth to preserve a 1-0 Chunichi lead.

With two outs in the sixth, Dayan Viciedo doubled and scored on a Takahashi double off Togo (8-5), who allowed four hits, a walk and hit a batter over six innings.

With a game scheduled for Monday, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara did not turn the game over to his best after Togo left and the Dragons scored five in the seventh.

Oyama clinches HR derby

Hanshin Tigers cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama pulled into a tie for the Central League home run lead with his 25th home run, a two-run fifth-inning blow that gave the hosts the lead in a 4-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Koshien Stadium.

The BayStars got solo home runs from Keita Sano, his 16th, Tyler Austin, his 17th and Jose Lopez, his eighth.

Oyama doubled and scored on a Jerry Sands single as Hanshin took a 2-1 lead in the second. Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Oyama went deep off starter Taiga Kamichatani (2-3).

Takumi Akiyama (7-3) started and earned the win for the Tigers, while Jon Edwards, Shintaro Fujinami and Robert Suarez each worked one perfect inning of relief. Suarez earned his 20th save.

Carp terrorize Swallows’ little river

The Hiroshima Carp overwhelmed Yakult Swallows starter Yasuhiro Ogawa in a six-run fifth inning en route to a 7-4 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Hiroshima’s Yuta Nakamura (2-2) held the visitors to a run over six innings, and Kosuke Tanaka gave him the lead in the fourth, when he tripled and scored on a Seiya Suzuki single.

Ogawa (9-5) then allowed five straight runners to reach in the fifth, with Nakamura chasing him with an RBI single that made it 3-0. The Swallows battled back against the Carp bullpen before closer Geronimo Franzua worked around two hits in a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save.

Swallows Igarashi to call it quits

Yakult Swallows right-hander Ryota Igarashi will retire at the end of the 2020 season, multiple media outlets reported on Sunday.

The 41-year-old Igarashi, who played most of his career with the Central League club, pitched two seasons for the Mets in 2010 and 2011 before appearing in two games each for the Blue Jays and Yankees in 2012.

He returned to Japan in 2013 and spent six seasons with the SoftBank Hawks before returning last year to Tokyo and the Swallows.

In 2002, he and fellow hard-throwing middle reliever Hirotoshi Ishii became known as the Rocket Boys. His 822 games are seventh most in Japan.

Active roster moves 10/11/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/21

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
CarpP46Mikiya Takahashi
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
CarpIF63Ryoma Nishikawa

Dectivated

BayStarsP26Haruhiro Hamaguchi
CarpP30Ryuji Ichioka
CarpIF44Kota Hayashi
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP47Kouki Matsuoka
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui

Dectivated

LionsP30Daiki Enokida

Starting pitchers for Oct. 12, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Yuya Fukui (0-4, 5.26) vs Katsunori Hirai (5-4, 4.50)

Central League

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

Koji Fukutani (5-2, 2.76) vs Toshiki Sakurai (2-3, 4.89)

NPB 2020 Oct. 2

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Nishi masters Giants again

Yuki Nishi (8-4) failed to shut out the Yomiuri Giants for the second straight time, but did hold them to a run over eight innings to improve to 3-0 against the league leaders in the Hanshin Tigers’ 4-1 win at Koshien Stadium.

Yusuke Oyama hit a high straight forkball deep into the left-field stands for his 23rd home run to lead off the second against Nobutaka Imura (3-2). Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto leads the league with 24.

Nishi became the 179th pitcher in Japanese pro baseball history to pitch 1,500 innings. He allowed five hits and struck out eight without allowing a walk. Robert Suarez pitched an easy ninth inning against the heart of the Giants order to earn his 19th save.

Twelve days after his 20th birthday, Tigers shortstop Ryuhei Kobata had his first three-hit “modasho” game.

Viciedo HR beats BayStars

Dayan Viciedo broke a 5-5 tie with a three-run eighth-inning home run off lefty Kenta Ishida (1-3) in the Chunichi Dragons’ 8-5 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium.

First-year DeNA import Tyler Austin, playing in just his 35th game, hit his 10th home run, a two-run shot in the third that broke a 1-1 tie.

Carp outlast Swallows

Matt Koch (0-3) allowed three runs over three innings in long relief of Hirotoshi Takanashi to take the loss as the Yakult Swallows fell 7-5 to the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Reserve Swallows catcher Akihisa Nishida tied the game 3-3 with a one-out solo homer in the fourth inning. Nishida hit the seventh pitch he saw from lefty Hiroki Tokoda (3-6), and then did his best impression of Kirk Gibson impersonating Walter Brennan running the bases, having been helped off the field after fouling the second pitch off his thigh.

Matsuda, Kawashima lead Hawks

Nobuhiro Matsuda homered, doubled, walked, scored twice and drove in two in the SoftBank Hawks 7-5 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Light-hitting utility infielder Keizo Kawashima batted fourth for the first time in his 15th pro season. Perhaps manager Kimiyasu Kudo held a lottery to decide. Whatever the reason, Kawashima singled in a first-inning run off right-hander Kenta Uehara (1-2).

“I thought, ‘Please don’t put me there.’ No. I’m just kidding. I went up there to hit. I wonder how I’ll do tomorrow,” he told fans in the postgame hero interview.

No sooner was the Fighters’ Christian Villanueva declared concussion-free than he began concussing baseballs, hammering one to the wall in center where Yuki Yanagita made a good catch, and one into the left-field stands in the fourth. The home run, his fourth, put the Fighters in front. It was his first since Aug. 26.

On Sept. 25, Villanueva was in the field when he collided with injury-plagued Orix Buffaloes teenager Ryo Ota, causing both to be deactivated. Players deactivated due to concussion concerns do not have to sit out 10 days once they complete the concussion protocol program.

Matt Moore (4-2) allowed four runs over six innings to earn the win. Livan Moinelo worked the eighth inning and made it 21 games without allowing a run as he recorded his league-leading 33rd hold. Yuito Mori earned his 24th save.

Matsui gets win in 6-pitcher shutout

A day after blowing the lead and taking the loss in his first relief outing of the season, Yuki Matsui (4-4) earned the win for the Rakuten Eagles by retiring both batters he faced in the seventh inning of a 4-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Takahiro Shiomi started and worked 5-1/3 innings and five relievers completed a nine-hit shutout without issuing a walk. Buffaloes lefty Taisuke Yamaoka worked seven scoreless innings, thanks to the dome’s ground rules and a failure to communicate by the umpires.

Hiroaki Shimauchi singled in a run in the eighth, and Ryosuke Tatsumi added a three-run homer.

The Eagles opened each of the first two innings with extra-base hits but failed to score. Rookie Hiroto Kobukata tripled to open the first, and former Buffalo Stefen Romero doubled in the second in his old park.

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Romero hit a drive above one of the rings suspended from the dome’s ceiling. The ball fell in play, and the umpires stood there like dummies instead of signaling “fair ball.” Romero cruised around the bases, while the ball was retrieved and thrown back to the infield. Orix third baseman Shuhei Fukuda took a chance and tagged Romero as he approached the third base bag, when the umps finally acted–and called him out.

This was reminiscent of Game 1 of the 2004 Japan Series. infamous umpire Atsushi Kittaka called the batter out on a ball hit in front of the plate but didn’t tell anyone, leading to a missed double play opportunity for the fielding team and a 50-minute disruption. Kittaka was removed from the series umpiring crew the following day.

Mejia answers call

Ernesto Mejia did as he was asked in the 10th inning at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, lifting the Seibu Lions to a 1-0 win over the Lotte Marines by leading off the 10th inning with his 10th home run of the year.

In the postgame interview, Mejia said second baseman Shuta Tonosaki asked him to hit one out.

Active roster moves 10/2/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/12

Central League

Activated

GiantsP45Nobutaka Imamura
CarpIF44Kota Hayashi

Dectivated

GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki
CarpP70Tayler Scott

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP17Sho Iwasaki
HawksOF4Wladimir Balentien
FightersIF44Christian Villanueva

Dectivated

HawksP63Hiroyuki Kawahara
FightersC64Yua Tamiya

Starting pitchers for Oct. 3, 2020

Pacific League

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

Toshiya Nakamura (2-4, 5.08) vs Reed Garrett (3-2, 3.53)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Chang Yi (1-2, 3.86) vs Ryota Ishibashi (1-4, 5.93)

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

Nao Higashihama (5-1, 2.81) vs Kohei Arihara (5-7, 3.96)

Central League

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (4-0, 1.75) vs Masato Morishita (6-3, 2.63)

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

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (6-4, 3.69) vs Koji Fukutani (4-2, 2.47)

Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Joe Gunkel (1-2, 2.87) vs Seishu Hatake (1-3, 4.45)