- Buffaloes deactivate Adam Jones
- Swallows’ Igarashi goes out on top
- Active roster moves
- Announced starting pitchers
Shuto speeds Hawks into postseason
Kotaro Otake (2-0) came up from the farm, surrendered one run over five innings and Ukyo Shuto sparked the offense as the SoftBank Hawks clinched a postseason spot for the seventh straight year with a 7-2 win over the Seibu Lions at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.
Otake allowed three singles, all in the Lions’ second, and five relievers finished up while the Hawks offense scored early and often.
Shuto opened the bottom of the first with a single, stole his Japan-best 45th base, and scored on a Yuki Yanagita single to center. Lions center fielder Yuji Kaneko charged his hardest to keep Shuto from scoring, but failed to collect the ball, and Yanagita–even with his diminished 32-year-old wheels–circled the bases easily and scored standing up.
The Hawks put the game away in a four-run second, with Shuto singling home the first run off Lions starter Wataru Matsumoto (5-6). Yanagita walked with the bases loaded and Yurisbel Gracial doubled in two runs.
The Hawks have a magic number to clinch the franchise’s 21st pennant and will play the second-place Lotte Marines at home starting on Tuesday.
Iwashita returns to plague Buffaloes
Daiki Iwashita, Patient Zero in the Lotte Marines recent novel coronavirus outbreak, returned to duty with five scoreless innings in a 10-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.
Iwashita (6-7) allowed four hits and a walk while striking out four. On the other side of the equation Taiwan’s Chang Yi (2-3) gave up an unlucky run in the first before the roof caved in on him in the third.
“In the third and fifth innings, I made mistakes with my out pitches,” he said after allowing seven runs on 11 hits but now walks over five innings. “I threw fat pitches and that was it.”
Romero steals show in Sendai
Stefen Romero did everything except hit for the cycle, playing great defense in left field while going 4-for-4 with a double and a triple in the Rakuten Eagles’ 13-4 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.
Romero robbed Sho Nakata of an RBI extra-base hit to end the first with a catch near the top of the fence in left. He singled and scored the game’s first run in the third off Fighters ace Kohei Arihara (7-9) and tripled in two and scored in Rakuten’s three-run fourth.
A single off a big swing in his final at-bat ended Romero’s day as he failed to put his name in the record books next to baseball’s stupidest accomplishment.
Ryota Takinaka (2-1) walked five but allowed no runs over seven innings to earn the win. Rakuten’s D.J. Johnson allowed no hits or walks but gave up an unearned run in the eighth.
Akiyama stops Giants
Right-hander Takumi Akiyama (9-3) allowed six hits over the distance and Yusuke Oyama powered the Hanshin Tigers’ offense in a 4-2 win over the Central Legue-leading Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo Dome.
Akiyama struck out five and allowed both runs on Yoshihiro Maru’s 24th home run. He struck out five without issuing a walk.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the first against Seishu Hatake (3-4) on three straight one-out singles by Kento Itohara, Jefry Marte and Oyama.
Oyama doubled in the fifth and scored on Naomasa Yokawa’s fifth home run.
The Giants’ magic number to clinch the pennant remained at four after the second-place Chunichi Dragons won their late game at nearby Jingu Stadium.
BayStars bullpens Carp in shutout
In the first game since DeNA BayStars manager Alex Ramirez announced he would leave at the end of the season, a parade of six relievers held the Hiroshima Carp to six hits in a 3-0 win at Yokohama Stadium.
With the BayStars leading 1-0 after Toshiro Miyazaki’s first-inning RBI single off Yuta Nakamura (3-3), Neftali Soto drove in an eighth-inning insurance run with his 22nd home run. Tyler Austin followed with a single and scored on a Yamato Maeda single.
Kinoshita doubles down for die-hard Dragons
Takuya Kinoshita doubled in three second-inning runs as the Chunichi Dragons refused to roll over and give up the pennant race in a 5-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.
Dayan Viciedo homered, singled twice and scored twice for the Dragons, who got 6-1/3 scoreless innings from Yuya Yanagi (5-6). The right-hander allowed four hits, three walks and hit a batter while striking out seven.
Swallows starter Albert Suarez (4-3) also had trouble with location as he allowed three runs over five innings after walking four, hitting one and giving up three hits.
Igarashi goes out on top
Ryota Igarashi threw one pitch in his 823rd and final NPB game, entering the game between the Yakult Swallows and Chunichi Dragons in the eighth inning and left after throwing one pitch and getting an out thanks to a good play at third by Alcides Escobar.
He entered the game to hugs from his teammates, left to a standing ovation, and tossed the ball he threw into the fans at Jingu Stadium.
Buffaloes deactivate Jones
The Orix Buffaloes deactivated outfielder Adam Jones on Sunday due to the season’s most overused catch-all reason, “a lack of lower-body fitness.”
In 87 games, Jones has posted a .331 on-base percentage with a .417 slugging average. He has hit 12 home runs, scored 29 runs and driven in 43.
Meanwhile, the Yakult Swallows activated reliever Ryota Igarashi for the express purpose of allowing him to pitch in his retirement game and for that reason were allowed to exceed the 31-man active roster limit.
Active roster moves 10/25/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/4
Starting pitchers for Oct. 25, 2020
Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT
Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT
BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT