Tag Archives: Scott McGough

NPB wrap 5-2-21

More Fighters games postponed

NPB announced Sunday that in addition to that day’s canceled game at Sapporo Dome against the Seibu Lions, the virus-hit Nippon Ham Fighters, with 10 first-team infections, have ceased baseball activities until cleared fit by local health authorities.

Their Pacific League series against the Lotte Marines in Chiba from Monday to Wednesday have been postponed with further postponements likely.

Sato cleans up

Tigers 7, Carp 3

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin rookie Teruaki Sato batted fourth, which was salivation material to begin with before he hit a game-changing grand slam. His homer turned a mediocre start from Joe Gunkel (5-0) into a winning effort. Gunkel started the season with four wipe-out starts, but has been more ordinary since, allowing three runs over five innings on Saturday.

Hiroshima’s Yusuke Nomura (0-3) allowed five runs in four-plus innings, leaving after Sato took him deep in the fifth.

Hanshin leadoff man Koji Chikamoto and No. 3 hitter Jefry Marte each reached base five times. Chikamoto stole two bases and scored three runs, while Marte scored one and drove in one.

BayStars 10, Swallows 2

At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA’s Tyler Austin homered off the scoreboard, singled twice walked and scored three runs to help power the BayStars. The home run was his fourth and his third in four days. Neftali Soto doubled in a run in DeNA’s six-run seventh.

Southpaw Edwin Escobar (1-0) struck out two in a 1-2-3 sixth to earn the win and Kevin Shackelford worked a perfect eighth for the BayStars, while Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-1) allowed four runs, one earned, over five-plus innings and took the loss.

Eagles 6, Marines 5

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, the marquee pitching matchup between first-year left-handers was interrupted by rain and turned into a slug fest, that was decided when leadoff man Takashi Ogino slammed a fastball off closer Yuki Matsui (0-1) to break a ninth-inning tie.

Rakuten’s Ryosuke Tatsumi dealt the first big blow, capping a three-run fourth off Shota Suzuki with his sixth home run. Eagles starter Takahisa Hayakawa threw a high straight fastball to Brandon Laird, whose third homer of the year, a three-run shot in the sixth made it a 5-4 game. The Eagles tied it against Frank Herrmann in the seventh with the help of an error.

The game was notable for balls getting stuck in odd places. The Marines opened the scoring after a drive from Hisanori Yasuda got stuck between the padding atop the left field wall and the screen atop it. Another stuck ball, in Rakuten catcher Hikaru Ota’s mask in the ninth, allowed a runner on base to advance.

Buffaloes 5, Hawks 4

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix outslugged SoftBank thanks to two-run homers by Steven Moya, his third, and Yuma Mune, his second, and a solo shot by Torai Fushimi, his first. Sachiya Yamasaki (1-3) allowed two runs in six-plus innings.

Yurisbel Gracial hit his fifth homer of the year for the Hawks, a two-run shot in the eighth, that made it a one-run game.

Pacific League

Starting pitchers

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

Matt Dermody (-) vs Hiroya Miyagi (2-0, 1.26)

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

Akira Niho (-) vs Ryota Takinaka (1-2, 7.90)

Central League

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

Kodai Umetsu (-) vs Michael Peoples (-)

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

Masato Morishita (3-2, 1.80) vs Seishu Hatake (2-1, 4.95)

Active roster moves 5/2/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/12. Players marked with an asterisk are coronavirus activations and deactivations, meaning they can be recalled as soon as they are cleared even before 10 days pass.

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

SwallowsP14Hirotoshi Takanashi

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesP58Kazuyuki Kaneda
BuffaloesOF69Stefen Romero

Dectivated

LionsP40Ichiro Tamura
LionsP45Keisuke Honda
FightersC60Takuya Kori
FightersIF53Ronny Rodriguez*
FightersIF91Yuto Takahama*
BuffaloesP63Soichiro Yamazaki
BuffaloesIF36Tatsuya Yamaashi

NPB Wrap 4-27-21

Today’s Orix

“Rakuten didn’t catch up, Orix gave the game away. It’s like a weekly occurence, or ‘Today’s Orix.'”

–Former Rakuten Eagles manager Dave Okubo on Pro Yakyu News

Buffaloes 5, Eagles 5

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix third baseman Tatsuya Yamaashi’s defensive miss-steps—one miss-throw and one miss-step to be precise—contributed to three Buffaloes relievers allowing three ninth-inning runs to tie it

Eagles veteran Takayuki Kishi had his second straight mediocre start, allowing three runs over six innings, easily outpitched by Daiki Tajima, who gave up a run over seven while striking out seven and walking one.

Steven Moya went 3-for-4 with a double and a sixth-inning home run for Orix, while teammate Yutaro Sugimoto’s two-run eighth-inning homer made it a 5-2 game.

After a leadoff walk, Yamaashi’s wide throw on a potential double play ball pulled his teammate off the bag at second, bringing the tying run to the plate. After a walk loaded the bases, Yamaashi let another double play opportunity slip. He went to step on the bag for the force before throwing home for the tag. Unfortunately, Yamaashi neglected to step on the bag, and only managed to get the first out of the inning at home.

Daichi Suzuki followed with an RBI single and Hiroaki Shimauchi delivered a two-run double. Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui threw a scoreless ninth to lock down the tie.

Fighters 7, Hawks 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Nippon Ham’s Takayuki Kato (2-0) held SoftBank to two runs over seven innings, while Mizuki Hori and Bryan Rodriguez mopped up for the last-place Fighters.

Carter Stewart Jr. entered in long relief with the Hawks losing 3-0 in the fourth and got a lot of work, allowing four runs over 2-2/3 innings in which he allowed five hits, walked two and struck out two.

The Pro Yakyu News crew was fairly annoyed by Fighters skipper Hideki Kuriyama using Sho Nakata in the No. 2 spot, but stopped short of calling it an insult the way Alex Ramirez’s similar use of Yoshitomo Tsutsugo two years ago was treated.

Nakata walked three times doubled and scored two runs. So there.

Lions 3, Marines 1

At MetLife Dome, Towa Uema (1-1) held Japan’s best offense to a run over five innings and Seibu’s bullpen pitched four innings of shutout ball to beat Ayumu Ishikawa (1-1) and Lotte. Ishikawa allowed five hits and a walk and threw 101 pitches in the eight-inning complete-game loss.

Cory Spangenberg was moved up to the No. 2 spot, from where he reached base twice and scored. Reed Garrett, the first of four Lions relievers, worked around a one-out single in a scoreless fifth.

Spangenberg was run out on the bases in the first, but he and leadoff man Sosuke Genda set up the Lions decisive runs in the fourth. After they reached on singles, Genda took second on a fly to the track with Spangenberg taking second, allowing both to score on a Takeya Nakamura single.

Giants 14, Swallows 11

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, with the wind blowing out, there were seven home runs, including four in a ninth inning that started 8-8 and which both teams combined to score nine runs. Yomiuri’s Zelous Wheeler, who entered as a substitute after Eric Thames’ debut was cut short by a ruptured right Achilles tendon rupture, homered to lead off the ninth against Yakult closer Taichi Ishiyama (0-1).

The win lifted the Giants back into second place and snapped Yakult’s first five-game win streak in three years.

Wheeler entered in the bottom of the third and went 4-for-4, tacking on a single in his second at-bat in the ninth inning.

Scott McGough pitched a scoreless eighth for Yakult, but Giants lefty Kota Nakagawa (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth to earn the win, while Ryoma Nogami stopped the bleeding with three solid innings of middle relief.

Thames and Justin Smoak both made their long-awaited debuts. Smoak went 2-for-4 with a single in his first at-bat and another in Yomiuri’s two-run inning against tough middle reliever Noboru Shimizu. Thames struck out twice before injuring his right calf landing on the outfield turf on a Jose Osuna single.

It was one of two high bounces that helped keep the Swallows offense ticking along. The Swallows offense was powered mostly two homers, a single and a walk from slugger Munetaka Murakami, while Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto singled, doubled, walked, had a sacrifice fly and hit a two-run ninth-inning homer.

On Pro Yakyu News, Yutaka Takagi attributed the Swallows’ loss in the wild slug fest to a missed two-strike sacrifice in the eighth inning.

Dragons 2, Tigers 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi’s Sawamura Award winner Yudai Ono (1-2) allowed a run over eight innings to outduel Yuki Nishi (3-1). Hanshin rookie Teruaki Sato hit a massive bomb for his seventh home run, and the Tigers’ only score, in the second.

Dayan Viciedo and Akira Neo each had two hits for the Dragons to help set up their runs. Closer Raidel Martinez struck out three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to earn his second save.

“I earned my first win this season in my fifth game, that’s a whole lot better than last year when I didn’t win until my seventh, so I’m pretty pleased,” said Ono, who earned won his seventh straight decision against Hanshin in Nagoya.

Carp 10, BayStars 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Masato Morishita (3-2) went 2-for-3 with a an RBI single in the Carp’s seven-run third when Shinichi Onuki (1-2) was sent packing after 2-1/3 innings.

Rookie Ryutaro Hatsuki opened the big inning with an infield single and capped the rally with a three-run triple. Morishita struck out seven, hit a batter, and allowed three hits.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Tatsuya Imai (1-2, 2.74) vs Kazuya Ojima (0-1, 4.30)

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

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-2, 1.73) vs Takahiro Norimoto (2-1, 2.81)

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

Tsuyoshi Wada (2-1, 2.55) vs Hiromi Ito (0-2, 2.77)

Central League

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

Albert Suarez (1-1, 2.05) vs Yuki Takahashi (4-0, 1.29)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (2-1, 4.19) vs Koyo Aoyagi (2-1, 2.08)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (1-1, 3.74) vs Masaya Kyoyama (0-2, 9.00)

Active roster moves 4/27/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/7

Central League

Activated

GiantsP23Ryoma Nogami
GiantsIF10Justin Smoak
GiantsOF44Eric Thames

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

HawksOF30Naoki Sato
FightersP58Masaki Tanigawa
FightersOF3Wan Po-jung 
BuffaloesP63Soichiro Yamazaki

Dectivated

HawksP28Rei Takahashi
BuffaloesP52Tyler Higgins

NPB wrap 4-15-21

6 of one half dozen of the other

I don’t know what’s more surprising, the Yomiuri Giants starting pitchers allowing any runs this past week against the Chunichi Dragons and Hiroshima Carp, or those two teams managing to score at all.

Through their first 17 games, the Dragons are last in runs in Japan with 39, while the Carp, who have not scored for 31 consecutive innings, are 10th. The Nippon Ham Fighters have scored 45 to the Carp’s 47 but have played one less game.

Giants 5, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri lefty Yuki Takahashi (3-0) allowed his only earned run of the season in eight innings. Seiya Matsubara opened the Giants’ first with a homer off Koji Fukutani (0-1), who allowed five runs four innings. Hayato Sakamoto doubled and scored on a Takyuki Kajitani double. Matsubara singled in two runs in the second and Kajitani doubled and scored in the third and that was the ballgame.

With Rubby Da La Rosa having returned to the United States to complete his citizenship process, Brazilian flame thrower Thyago Vieira surrendered Ariel Martinez’s second hit of the game but struck out two and stranded two in the ninth.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Tigers 4, Carp 0

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin Tigers right-hander Takumi Akiyama (2-1) delivered his second straight solid start with seven innings against the Carp, who as mentioned above haven’t scored since April 10.

Yusuke Oyama cracked a two-run first-inning homer and rookie Teruaki Sato blasted his second two-run homer in two days in the fourth to account for the scoring.

Jefry Marte and Jerry Sands each singled twice and scored on the two home runs off Hiroki Tokoda (1-1), who was yanked after the fourth. Sato doubled and struck out twice in four trips to the plate.

Swallows 2, BayStars 1

At Jingu Stadium, DeNA lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-3) struck out 10 over six innings, but surrendered first-inning homers to Yuhei “He’s too good to be batting second in Japan” Nakamura and cleanup hitter Munekata Murakami.

Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-0) put together a good start for Yakult, escaping one jam when he loaded the bases after two were out and surrendered just one run in the fourth. Takanashi left in the sixth with one out. Hiroki Kondo, however, survived a two-one, one-out jam to get out of the inning. Noboru Shimizu, Scott McGough and Taichi Ishiyama each delivered a scoreless inning with Ishiyama getting his fifth save.

Neftali Soto and Tyler Austin were in the starting lineup for the first time, allowing us to answer the question: Who makes room for them? Speedy left-handed hitter Taiki Sekine was bumped into center, where he’ll likely platoon with Masayuki Kuwahara, so Austin could start in right. Rookie Shugo Maki, who’s been tearing up the league, surrendered first base to Soto and moved to second, where he played a lot in the spring.

Hawks 4, Buffaloes 3

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Kenta Imamiya made a terrific play to end a fortunate Orix Buffaloes’ three-run fifth-inning rally of Shota Takeda (1-1) who has done well this season pitching against the Pacific League’s two worst clubs.

The Hawks came back in the bottom of the fifth against Hirotoshi Masui (1-2), who had pitched well twice this season and beat SoftBank on March 31. In contrast to the Buffaloes’ string of scratch hits, the Hawks stung the ball in their four-run rally, culminating in a two-run Ryoya Kurihara double when he put a good swing on a 1-2 pitch.

After the game, Kurihara said Hawks head coach Hiroki Kokubo told him to not sweat batting cleanup, which may or may not have been a thing with Kurihara, but definitely is with the media, who treat batting fourth with the same idiotic solemnity they do batting practice home runs in spring training.

Takeda left after five and without right-handed closer Yuito Mori–expected to miss a handful of games while they figure out what’s what what with his swollen left elbow—lefty Livan Moinelo gave the Buffaloes hope with two one-out singles before crushing those dreams and notching his first save.

Marines 7, Eagles 3

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Lotte Marines right-hander Daiki Iwashita (2-1) delivered his third solid start despite the four walks. He left the bases loaded in the first and finished with five scoreless innings but now has has 11 walks in 17 innings.

Rakuten starter Ryota Takinaka (1-2), who was overrun and taken prisoner by Marines on April 1, fell somewhere between that outing and his sterling April 8 start against Seibu, allowing two runs over five innings. Shogo Nakamura walked and scored the first of his two runs when Brandon Laird broke the ice with a fourth-inning sac fly. Yudai Fujioka then doubled in Hisanori Yasuda and it was 2-0 Marines until the ninth.

Frank Herrmann and Yuki Karakawa worked scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth for Lotte before the visitors crushed out five runs in the top of the ninth on a three-run Leonys Martin double and a two-run Laird single. That made it 7-0 to all but ensure the Eagles wouldn’t play their fourth tie in six games.

Starting pitchers

Friday will see Drew VerHagen make his season debut for the Fighters against the Eagles’ Hideaki Wakui at Tokyo Dome, while a pair of Opening Day starters will go at it at MetLife Dome as the Seibu Lions send Kona Takahashi against the SoftBank Hawks’ Shuta Ishikawa.

In the Central League, Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano will see if he can keep their streak of superb starts going against the BayStars in Yokohama. At Koshien Stadium, Shintaro Fujinami will go for his second straight win against Masanori Ishikawa, who will make his season debut for the Yakult Swallows against the Hanshin Tigers, with both clubs having swept their weekday series.

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (-) vs Hideaki Wakui (2-0, 1.23)

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

Kona Takahashi (2-0, 3.80) vs Shuta Ishikawa (1-1, 3.60)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2, 3.94) vs Kota Futaki (1-1, 2.84)

Central League

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

Yuya Sakamoto (-) vs Tomoyuki Sugano (0-1, 3.46)

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

Takahiro Matsuba (0-1, 3.27) vs Atsushi Endo (-)

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

Shintaro Fujinami (1-0, 2.50) vs Masanori Ishikawa (-)

Active roster moves 4/15/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/25

Central League

Activated

GiantsP50Chiaki Tone

Dectivated

GiantsP12Rubby De La Rosa

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

FightersP43Ryota Hasegawa
FightersOF12Go Matsumoto

NPB 2020 Nov. 6

Friday’s games

Other news

Watanabe goes out in style at Seibu’s expense

Retiring player-coach Naoto Watanabe got a heck of a send-off from fellow former Lion Takayuki Kishi (7-0) as the Rakuten Eagles beat Seibu 4-2 at Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park Miyagi.

The Lions fell back into a tie for second and the Pacific League’s final playoff spot with the Lotte Marines. Both teams have three games remaining, with the Lions holding the advantage in a tie-breaker.

Watanabe who spent five seasons with the Lions from 2013 to 2017 before returning to Sendai where he began his career in 2007, the same year Kishi debuted as a rookie with the Lions and finished a distant runner-up in the rookie of the year voting to Masahiro Tanaka.

Batting leadoff and starting at DH, the 40-year-old Watanabe doubled, scored the game’s first run, singled and took over at shortstop in the ninth inning, where he helped Kishi out of a jam by starting a double play and earned a standing ovation from the home crowd.

“I wanted to stay in the game long enough for Naoto to take the field on defense,” said Kishi said, who struck out 11 over the distance.

Lions rookie Shota Hamaya (3-3) allowed all four runs to suffer the loss.

Buffaloes sock it to rookie Kawano

The Orix Buffaloes tagged Nippon Ham Fighters rookie Ryusei Kawano (3-5) for four runs, three earned, over six innings in a 4-3 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome between the PL’s bottom-two clubs.

Orix’s first draft pick last autumn, 19-year-old Hiroya Miyagi (1-1) allowed three runs, two earned, over five innings to earn his first career win. Twenty-three-year-old righty Yu Suzuki, who showed some tremendous stuff if inconsistent command in his first real playing time this season, earned his first save.

Swallows spoil Yoshimi’s exit

Taishi HIrooka homered and squeezed in a run in the 10th inning as the Yakult Swallows outlasted the Chunichi Dragons 5-4 at Nagoya Dome that was the last for former ace Kazuki Yoshimi.

The 36-year-old right-hander who went 69-26 over a five-year stretch from 2008 to 2012, was limited by injury over his last eight seasons. He started Friday’s game with a strikeout before turning the ball over to rookie Yariel Rodriguez, who surrendered three runs through 4-2/3 innings.

Scott McGough (4-1) worked a scoreless ninth, and slugger Munetaka Murakami doubled to lead off the 10th with a drive near the top of the wall in dead center and scored on Hirooka’s safety squeeze. Swallows closer Taichi Ishiyama recorded his 19th save.

Active roster moves 11/6/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/16

Central League

Activated

DragonsP19Kazuki Yoshimi
SwallowsP16Juri Hara
SwallowsP47Keiji Takahashi

Dectivated

GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
BayStarsP53Spencer Patton
BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
BayStarsIF6Keito Mori
BayStarsIF23Tyler Austin
TigersP16Yuki Nishi
TigersP34Masaki Tanigawa
CarpP57Norihiko Tanaka
CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki
CarpOF59Minoru Omori
SwallowsP15Yuma Oshita
SwallowsP48Yuto Kanakubo

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesIF26Naoto Watanabe
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi
BuffaloesC62Katsuki Yamazaki

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Nov. 7, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ryota Takinaka (2-1, 3.18) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-4, 5.31)

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

Kota Futaki (8-3, 3.53) vs Tsubasa Sakakibara (1-3, 4.89)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (4-2, 3.43) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (10-7, 4.50)

Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuta Nakamura (3-3, 2.21) vs Takumi Akiyama (10-3, 3.09)

NPB 2020 Oct. 30

Friday’s games

Other news

Giants tie up title

The Yomiuri Giants got exactly what they needed to clinch their second straight pennant on Friday after the second-place Tigers tied. Knowing Hanshin had been held to a 3-3 tie in Yokohama. The Giants began celebrating as soon as they held the Yakult Swallows scoreless in the top of the 10th at Tokyo Dome in their own 3-3 tie.

The Swallows tied it 3-3 in the eighth, and Scott McGough allowed the Giants to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth but kept them from scoring, which was pretty much the story of the game as both team had big chances to score but failed at the last hurdle.

Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, whose team remained mired in a five-game losing streak and who barely scraped out a tie, said the game was a fitting pennant clincher in a season that only barely happened and said he was proud of the effort baseball had made to get it in.

The Swallows tied it in the fifth but failed to break the game open, stranding multiple runners in scoring position in the fifth and seventh.

The Giants, turned away in the fourth by starter Hiroaki Saiuchi, took the lead in the sixth when Yoshihiro Maru doubled and scored on a Takumi Oshiro single but left the bases loaded against rookie Naruki Terashima.

Kazuma Okamoto put some juice with a one-handed swing on a low straight fastball from Saiuchi in the bottom of the third to raise his league-leading home run total to 29 and make it a 2-1 game after Taishi Hirooka homered off Nobutaka Imamura in the top of the third.

Hirooka singled in the fifth, stole second and scored the tying run on singles by 19-year-old rookie Hideki Nagaoka and Yasutaka Shiomi.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto, their 31-year-old shortstop, moved within four hits of 2,000 in his career. Giants flame thrower Thyago Vieira hit 101 mph on the gun in the Swallows’ scoreless 10th.

Giants-Swallows highlights

BayStars tackle Tigers

Jose Lopez tied it in the ninth with a two-run home run off Tigers closer and fellow Venezuelan Robert Suarez. Lopez’s homer was his 10th of the season and his 999th hit since coming to Japan in 2013 with the Giants. With one more hit he will join Hideki Matsui and former Seattle Mariners teammate Ichiro Suzuki as third player with 1,000 hits in both MLB and NPB.

Joe Gunkel started for the Tigers and allowed a run over six innings and got the Tigers first-run started with a third-inning leadoff single. Jefry Marte went 2-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and an RBI, while Gunkel sacrificed a runner to contribute to the Tigers’ third run. Jon Edwards pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the visitors.

Carp blow up Dragons

Rookie leadoff man Minoru Omori and No. 2 hitter Kosuke Tanaka each drove in four runs and Seiya Suzuki came off the bench to deliver a game-tying seventh-inning single before hitting a two-run homer in the eighth as the Hiroshima Carp flayed the Chunichi Dragons in a 17-3 whipping at Nagoya Dome.

Rookie catcher Ariel Martinez marked his first-team return after a 10-week injury layoff by coming off the bench to bat for Cuban compatriot Yariel Rodriguez and delivered tie-breaking pinch-hit double in the fifth. Rodriguez allowed two unearned runs over five innings.

More zeros for Higashihama

Nao Higashihama (9-1) threw eight scoreless innings and Yuito Mori closed it out for his 30th save after Takeya Nakamura’s two-run ninth inning homer made it a one-run game as the SoftBank Hawks held off the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome 4-3.

Higashihama, the Hawks’ Opening Day starter has now thrown 24 consecutive scoreless innings, and has allowed two runs over his last 39-2/3 innings. Ukyo Shuto extended his record streak of consecutive games with a stolen base to 13.

The Lions’ loss left them in third place, one game out of the second and final Pacific League playoff spot and only half a game ahead of the fourth-place Rakuten Eagles.

Eagles go back to basics with Matsui

Former closer Yuki Matsui struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to preserve a 2-1 Rakuten Eagles win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium in his first save of the season after Takayuki Kishi (6-0) allowed a run over eight innings.

Kishi struck out 10 without issuing a walk while allowing four hits. Hideto Asamura drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Hirokazu Sawamura (0-2). Matsui’s return to the starting rotation was a key part of the Eagles plans this season, but he moved to middle relief after making 10 starts.

Yamaoka goes distance

Orix Buffaloes Opening Day starter Taisuke Yamaoka (4-5) allowed two runs over the distance while striking out eight to outduel Nick Martinez (2-7) in a 3-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome. Steven Moya halved the Fighters’ 2-0 lead in the fourth with an RBI double.

Active roster moves 10/30/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/9

Central League

Activated

BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa
TigersP49Joe Gunkel
DragonsC57Ariel Martinez

Dectivated

BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP36Sho Ito
LionsOF53Aito Takeda
HawksOF32Tatsuru Yanagimachi
EaglesP15Jon Thomas Chargois
EaglesP20Tomohiro Anraku
FightersC22Shinya Tsuruoka

Dectivated

LionsP57Tsubasa Kokuba
LionsOF72Seiji Kawagoe
HawksP37Matt Moore
EaglesP52Taisei Tsurusaki
EaglesOF46Ko Shimozuru
FightersIF44Christian Villanueva

Starting pitchers for Oct. 31, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ryusei Kawano (2-4, 5.59) vs Andrew Albers (4-7, 3.55)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ken Togame (1-1, 6.16) vs Shuta Ishikawa (9-3, 2.54)

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

Kota Futaki (7-3, 3.50) vs Ryota Ishibashi (1-5, 6.05)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Tomoyuki Sugano (13-2, 2.05) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (10-6, 4.29)

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

Shoichi Ino (6-6, 3.56) vs Takumi Akiyama (9-3, 3.00)

Dragons vs Carp: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahiro Matsuba (3-7, 4.24) vs Yuta Nakamura (3-3, 2.08)

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)