Tag Archives: Seiya Suzuki

NPB wrap 4-9-21

Angry Fighters snap skid

Fighters 2, Buffaloes 1

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the Nippon Ham Fighters ended their nine-game winless streak with a two-run eighth-inning that shouldn’t have happened, except it came against the Orix Buffaloes, who have a knack for making the improbable inevitable.

The game started as a scoreless pitchers’ duel between former Buffaloes ace Chihiro Kaneko and Orix right-hander Taisuke Yamaoka until the seventh, when things went half-right for the Buffaloes. Masataka Yoshida, on first from a leadoff single, was put in motion, preventing a double play and allowing him to score when Takahiro Okada chased a high breaking ball out of the zone from Kaneko but pulled it into the gap in right for an RBI double.

The Buffaloes loaded the bases with one out, but Fighters lefty Mizuki Hori made the great escape, and things began to buffalo for Orix in the top of the eighth and Kensuke Kondo on first with a single.

Twenty-year-old second baseman Ryo Ota went for a double play and got no outs instead of one. Veteran shortstop Ryo Adachi got a double play grounder that could have ended the inning but couldn’t get the ball out of his glove and Daiki Asama doubled in both runners.

Tyler Higgins worked a solid ninth for the Buffaloes, but he couldn’t put runs on the board, and the Fighters’ streak was over.

The win was Kuriyama’s 631st with Nippon Ham, tying the franchise record of Keiji Osawa.

“That doesn’t have anything to with anything,” Kuriyama said after the game.

Kuriyama, Nakata simmer

Fighters skipper Hideki Kuriyama had a rare blowup over cleanup hitter Sho Nakata, who hurt his own right eye in an accident on the team’s bench, according to Hochi Shimbun.

Nakata snapped his bat after striking out in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to the SoftBank Hawks and suffered a swollen right-eye in the process — in a Japanese version of the injury that ended Cecil Fielder’s brief career in Japan. Fiedler slammed his bat down in frustration and it bounced up and caught him in the eye.

Kuriyama was angry about it after Wednesday’s game, and again the next day, when he pulled Nakata from the starting lineup.

Nakata started against the Buffaloes on Friday and when reporters asked Kuriyama about the injury before the game, he said, “Don’t ask me. Ask him!”

Lions 7, Marines 4

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Seibu’s Aito Takeda, a man of several names, opened the scoring with his first pro homer, and liked it so much he hit another, capping a five-run Lions eighth with a three-run shot.

Marines right-hander Fumiya Ono (0-1) came in after Opening Day starter Kota Futaki allowed a run over seven innings. Ono loaded the bases with one out for Wu Nien-ting, who singled in two runs. Takeda then took Lions starter, Kona Takahashi, off the hook for the loss with his second home run.

Takeda is registered under his given name, although he turned pro in 2016 as Aito Otaki, and more likely than not changed it to his wife’s family name when he got married, a common practice when marrying into a family with no sons. He entered the game with 83 first-team plate appearances in 61 games.

The Marines took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on rookie Koki Yamaguchi’s two-run homer, his first as a pro.

Eagles 1, Hawks 1

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten’s Hideaki Wakui allowed a run over eight innings but failed to get his third win because SoftBank’s Shuta Ishikawa allowed a run over seven solid innings, and neither bullpen allowed a run.

Tigers 9, BayStars 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Shintaro Fujinami (0-1) walked five batters but didn’t allow a run until the seventh, when he led 9-0 and gave up a two-run shot to Daiki Sekine.

If there were prop bets on who would walk in the first batter in this game, I’m guessing you’d have had to get good odds to bet on Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-2), who walked the No. 8 hitter to cap a three-run first-inning rally. Fujinami, who threw his fourth pitch of the game to the backstop on the fly, didn’t even load the bases until the third inning and then retired both batters he faced without ever getting to three balls on either to keep it scoreless.

Jefry Marte doubled in Koji Chikamoto to open the scoring and came home on a Yusuki Oyama sac fly before Hamaguchi’s bases-loaded walk completed the rally.

Rookie Teruaki Sato launched his third homer, off reliever Yuki Kuniyoshi, out of the ballpark. Kuniyoshi allowed all six runs in Hanshin’s six-run sixth. Marte singled in another run, Oyama doubled in two and Jerry Sands capped the rally with an RBI single.

Carp 2, Giants 0

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Ryosuke Kikuchi and Seiya Suzuki continued to tear it up. Kikuchi, the first batter to face Tomoyuki Sugano (0-1) since the Giants’ ace was deactivated after Opening Day with leg issues, homered to open the bottom of the first, and Suzuki made it 2-0 before Sugano settled down and followed by bowling six scoreless frames.

Daichi Osera (2-1) went six innings, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out six. Lefty Daisuke Moriua walked the first two batters he faced in the seventh and walked Hayato Sakamoto intentionally to load them and got out of the inning against Takayuki Kajitani.

Rookie Carp closer Ryoji Kuribayashi recorded his fourth save, ending it by getting Sakamoto to hit into a double play.

Sasaki rocks on the farm

Rocket-armed 19-year-old Roki Sasaki, whom the Lotte Marines expect to bring up to the first team within a month, allowed a hit over three scoreless innings in Friday’s Eastern League game against the Seibu Lions, Hochi Shimbun reported.

The right-hander with the super smooth delivery touched 95 mph. He allowed a leadoff single and hit a batter while striking out two in his 39-pitch outing.

Punch-drunk Fighters swap 8 players

The Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters, winless over their last nine games with seven losses and two ties, replaced eight players on their active roster on Friday.

Outfielder Chusei Mannami was among the eight activated players. The 21-year-old, the Fighters’ fourth pick in the 2018 draft, is tied for the Eastern League home run lead with five and slashing .340/.421/.745.

The Fighters’ minor league facility in Kamagaya is a hitter’s park in a hitter’s league, and Fighters’ minor leaguers often put up some gaudy numbers before getting reality checks at cavernous Sapporo Dome.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Hayato Yuge (0-0, 2.45) vs Rei Takahashi (0-1, 5.11)

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

Manabu Mima (0-0, 2.31) vs Shota Hamaya (1-1, 3.72)

Buffaloes vs Fighters: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (0-1, 3.60) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (0-2, 8.74)

Central League

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

Taiga Kamichatani (0-0, 22.50) vs Koyo Aoyagi (1-0, 2.08)

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

Yuya Yanagi (0-1, 2.25) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-0, 2.03)

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

Allen Kuri (2-0, 3.00) vs Shosei Togo (1-0, 1.80)

Active roster moves 4/9/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/19

Central League

Activated

GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano
CarpP58Reira Fujii
CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki

Dectivated

CarpP67Yuta Nakamura
CarpOF55Ryuhei Matsuyama
SwallowsOF49Daiki Watanabe

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP60Rikuto Yokoyama
LionsP21Ken Togame
LionsP48Shota Takekuma
FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko
FightersP35Takahiro Nishimura
FightersIF91Yuto Takahama
FightersOF66Chusei Mannami
BuffaloesIF36Tatsuya Yamaashi

Dectivated

MarinesP49Fumiya Motomae
LionsP43Mitsuo Yoshikawa
LionsP64Towa Uema
FightersP31Toru Murata
FightersP40Suguru Fukuda
FightersIF2Kenshi Sugiya
FightersOF4Yuya Taniguchi

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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. 16

Friday’s games

Other news

BayStars pull it out late

The DeNA BayStars made up for their failure to cash in early scoring opportunities by coming from a run down in the eighth inning in their 2-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Yokohama Stadium.

Keita Sano tied the franchise record by homering in his fifth straight game, while tying the game 1-1 with his 20th home run. Jose Lopez singled with one out off Brazilian flame thrower Thyago Vieira (0-1), pinch-runner Tomo Otosaka stole second and Yamato Maeda doubled him home.

Closer Kazuki Mishima surrendered a leadoff triple before striking out the next three batters to lock down his 15th save.

While right-hander Shoichi Ino kept the Giants on-base and the visitors wasted their best chance through seven innings, a second-inning Takumi Oshiro leadoff double, the BayStars hitters got on base but couldn’t score, stranding seven runners from the third to the fifth against lefty Nobutaka Imamura.

The Giants broke through for a run against Spencer Patton (3-2) on a double, a single and a Hayato Sakamoto sac fly. Patton walked Kazuma Okamoto to put two on with one out but then foreshadowed Mishima’s big finish by striking out the next to batters to set the stage for the final fireworks.

Dragons survive Suzuki’s wrecking ball

Seiya Suzuki hit his 22nd and 23rd home runs and drove in five runs, but the Hiroshima Carp bullpen failed to keep it close enough for him to make a difference in an 8-6 loss to the Chunichi Dragons at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Yariel Rodriguez (3-4) allowed three runs over 5-1/3 innings on seven hits and a walk while striking out six. The Dragons took a comfortable 8-3 lead into the ninth but Kento Fujishima faced three hitters, and all scored on Suzuki’s second home run. Raidel Martinez came in and earned his 20th save.

Nishi shuts out Swallows

Yuki Nishi (10-4) threw a five-hitter for his second shutout of the season and catcher Ryutaro Umeno homered and had an RBI double in the Hanshin Tigers’ 5-0 win over the Yakult Swallows at Koshien Stadium.

Hawks pour it on early

Matt Moore (5-3) allowed three runs, two earned, over seven innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 7-3 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Moore struck out eight and walked one while giving up six hits. After facing just three batters in the first, his teammates scored four runs on six straight one-out hits in off Takahiro Shiomi (4-8). Shiomi got ahead in counts and executed most of his pitches, but it didn’t matter.

He took the first step down a slippery slope with a fat 1-2 pitch to Keizo Kawashima, who smashed it into left to start the hit parade.

Yuki Yanagita was fooled on a 1-2 pitch away but got it off the end of the bat for an opposite-field single. Yurisbel Gracial chased an 0-2 forkball at the knees but got the barrel on the ball and singled to left. Ryoya Kurihara hit a tricky inside 1-2 pitch for a single, and on and on it went until the third-place Eagles were nearly out of the game from the get-go.

Marines overcome errors

Kota Futaki (7-2) allowed an unearned run over six innings and Leonys Martin hit a tie-breaking two-run home run as the Lotte Marines overcame four errors to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 5-1 at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Futaki allowed three hits and a walk while striking out one. For the second time this week, rookie Kyota Fujiwara opened the Marines’ first with a home run, only for the Fighters to tie it in the third with the help of an error by first baseman Seiya Inoue.

Fujiwara singled with two outs in the third and scored on Martin’s 25th home run.

Kuriyama lifts Lions past Buffaloes

Takumi Kuriyama’s two-run two-out sixth-inning double brought the Seibu Lions from a run down against Taisuke Yamaoka (2-5) in a 2-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes at MetLIfe Dome.

The Buffaloes broke up a scoreless game in the sixth against Lions starter Tatsuya Imai on an error, a one-out Masataka Yoshida single and a Steven Moya RBI single off rookie Tetsu Miyagawa (2-1).

Sosuke Genda, who was charged with the costly error in the top of the inning, started the Lions’ fightback with his second hit of the game. Tomoya Mori followed with a one-out walk, and both scored on Kuriyama’s second hit of the game.

Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda struck out the first two batters in the ninth, but the Buffaloes made things interesting by loading the bases before he escaped with his 27th save.

Active roster moves 10/16/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/26

Central League

Activated

GiantsP45Nobutaka Imamura
TigersOF63Yutaro Itayama
CarpP43Sotaro Shimauchi
CarpP57Norihiko Tanaka
DragonsOF51Kaname Takino

Dectivated

BayStarsP43Takuya Shindo
TigersIF58Fumiya Araki
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura
CarpP46Mikiya Takahashi
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
DragonsOF42Zoilo Almonte

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesOF46Ko Shimozuru
MarinesIF00Takashi Toritani
MarinesOF1Ikuhiro Kiyota
MarinesOF3Katsuya Kakunaka
MarinesOF63Koshiro Wada

Dectivated

EaglesOF54Ren Wada
MarinesC45Yuito Munetsugu
MarinesIF50Shin Matsuda
MarinesIF59Kei Hosoya
MarinesOF38Akito Takabe

Starting pitchers for Oct. 17, 2020

Pacific League

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

Ken Togame (1-0, 8.10) vs Chang Yi (1-2, 3.78)

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

Takuro Furuya (0-0, 3.00) vs Kohei Arihara (6-8, 3.53)

Hawks vs Eagles: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Nao Higashihama (7-1, 2.52) vs Ryota Ishibashi (1-4, 5.94)

Central League

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

Masaya Kyoyama (1-1, 6.19) vs Seishu Hatake (3-3, 3.16)

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

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

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

Masato Morishita (8-3, 2.28) vs Yuya Yanagi (3-6, 4.47)

NPB 2020 Sept. 30

Other news

Ono throws 4th shutout

Yudai Ono (7-5) threw his second straight shutout, allowing two hits and no walks, while reaching base twice and driving in two runs in the Chunichi Dragons’ 9-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium on Wednesday.

Ono pounded the zone with his fastball kept the Tigers off balance with a two-seamer that sank and tailed away from the right-handed hitters. He didn’t get to three balls on a batter until the ninth inning. It was his first win at Koshien in

“I was able to pitch like this because the fielders made the plays they did,” Ono said.

“For the most part I’ve been able to challenge hitters in the zone, keep my pitch count from getting up around 120 or 130. Working in the zone allows me to do it (complete games).”

The win at Koshien was Ono’s first in five years and his first at an outdoor park in three.

Ono said he didn’t used to like the Koshien mound, which was notorious for being soft and low. But, like the mounds in Hiroshima, Tokyo Dome and Nagoya Dome, Koshien’s mound has been built using harder American clay bricks since last year, making it more uniform.

“The mound here didn’t use to be very good, although I didn’t have a particularly bad feeling about it,” Ono said. “I did think about that fact, and I wanted to end that streak. The team also hadn’t won here this year.”

Ono singled in the second with two outs, a flare that fell just beyond center fielder Koji Chikamoto. With two on in the fifth, he hit another little fly to center, and Chikamoto went all out to get it and missed. The ball rolled toward the fence for a two-run triple.

Veteran Ishikawa earns 1st win

Forty-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (1- ) allowed a run over 5-2/3 innings and Munetaka Murakami belted his 19th home run, a three-run third-inning shot off Taiga Kamichatani (2-2) in the Yakult Swallows’ 5-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium. Taichi Ishiyama recorded his 14th save.

Kamichatani allowed five runs over three innings.

Nomura snaps Carp losing streak

Yusuke Nomura (6-2) tossed five scoreless innings despite allowing base runners in every inning, and Seiya Suzuki blasted a two-run home run as the Hiroshima Carp ended a four-game losing streak to the Yomiuri Giants with a 4-1 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

The Carp scored opened the scoring in the fifth inning against Kazuto Taguchi (5-4). One run scored when the pitcher was unable to start an inning-ending double play, and Seiya Suzuki reached the seats with a two-run home run two pitches later.

Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto hit his league-leading 24th home run.

Ojima outduels VerHagen

The Lotte Marines moved to within winning-percentage points of first place with a 2-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome. Kazuya Ojima (6-6) throwing six scoreless innings to outduel Drew VerHagen (6-5).

Shuhei Fukuda singled in the first, stole second and broke the ice on a Leonys Martin single. Tsuyoshi Sugano doubled to open the seventh, was sacrificed to third and scored on a Yudai Fujioka squeeze.              

Yuki Karakawa worked a scoreless seventh for the visitors, but Hirokazu Sawamura allowed a run on two hits and a walk in the eighth. Naoya Masuda took out the bottom of the order in the ninth to record his Japan-best 26th save.

Wakui wins 10th as Takeda implodes

Hidaki Wakui (10-3) went eight innings, while the Rakuten Eagles took batting practice against SoftBank Hawks right-hander Shota Takeda, who lost control and surrendered seven runs in one-plus inning, the briefest start of his career, in a 9-3 win at Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park Miyagi.

Masui turns back the clock

Hirotoshi Masui (1-2) rocked his starting assignment like it was 2016, throwing six scoreless innings as the Orix Buffaloes shut out the Seibu Lions for the second straight day, 5-0 at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

In 2016, Masui was dropped from his role as the Nippon Ham Fighters’ closer and resurrected that summer as an effective starter in a patchwork rotation while Shohei Ohtani recovered from blisters that limited him to an offensive role. Masui earned his first win as a starter since 2016, despite issuing five walks.

The Buffaloes finished September with a1 13-11-2 record.

Aacting manager, Satoshi Nakajima said, “I think we’re doing well by not thinking beyond the game in front of us.”

“We didn’t start the season well, but we seem to have rallied. I want to win and build some momentum.”

Lions rookie Shota Hamaya (2-1) settled down after allowing two runs in the second and two more in the third, which Adam Jones capped with his 11th home run.

“We are not hitting that badly, but when you get shut out two days in a row, I think guys are trying to do much, trying too hard and perhaps getting a little too tight,” Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji said.

Tigers approach viral cluster status

A member of the Hanshin Tigers’ first-team staff has tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. It is the ninth member of the organization to test positive over the past week.

The Japanese government defines any body where 10 infections occur to be a cluster. So far five players and four staff members have tested positive.

The staff member who tested positive on Tuesday did not travel with the team to Tokyo last week, and is now resting at home. On Wednesday, he reported a fever of 37.5 C.

Leonys Martin blasted another long home run, his 24th, with two outs in the ninth off Ryo Akiyoshi to score an insurance run that came in handy after Marine closer Naoya Masuda surrendered a run in the home half on three singles.

Tigers add 2 lefties from “D” roster

The Hansin Tigers signed two players from the developmental roster on Wednesday, the deadline for making non-waiver roster additions. The two were 26-year-old lefty Yuya Yokoyama, the Tigers’ injury plagued 2014 top draft pick, and 25-year-old southpaw Masaki Ishii, whom they took in the first round of the 2017 developmental draft.

Yokoyama is 2-2 in 13 Western League games this season, having allowed five home runs and 19 walks over 47 innings while striking out 22.

Ishii has struck out 10 batters in 17 innings, while walking seven. He has not allowed a home run.

Active roster moves 9/30/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/10

Central League

Activated

TigersC44Ryutaro Umeno
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga

Dectivated

TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
SwallowsC32Naoki Matsumoto

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesOF51Yuya Ogo
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui
BuffaloesOF41Kodai Sano

Dectivated

EaglesIF5Eigoro Mogi
BuffaloesOF25Ryo Nishimura

Starting pitchers for Oct. 1, 2020

Pacific League

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

Toshihiro Sugiura (5-3, 2.95) vs Daiki Iwashita (5-6, 4.58)

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

Takayuki Kishi (2-0, 7.06) vs Shuta Ishikawa (6-3, 2.44)

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

Daiki Tajima (3-4, 3.57) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 5.74)

Central League

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

Yuta Muto (0-0, 5.75) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (0-1, 8.59)

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

Minoru Iwata (0-0, 5.40) vs Yariel Rodriguez (2-2, 3.77)

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

Tayler Scott (0-2, 22.50) vs Angel Sanchez (5-3, 3.02)

NPB 2020 SEPT. 10

Enter the Sands man

Jerry Sands’ 17th home run of the season overturned a one-run seventh-inning deficit and Robert Suarez recorded a four-out save as the Hanshin Tigers beat the DeNA BayStars 8-7 at Yokohama Stadium on Thursday.

Sands, who lead South Korea’s KBO in RBIs last season, had three for the game, with one out and a man on in the seventh, he drove the first pitch he saw from big right-hander Yuki Kuniyoshi (3-3) for his third home run in six games.

The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third against Michael Peoples, who surrendered a leadoff single to Tigers starting pitcher Yukiya Saito. Tigers captain Kento Itohara’s infield single brought one run in, and Sands’ sac fly made it 2-0.

The BayStars tied it in the home half when they loaded the bases with no outs following a leadoff single by the No. 9 hitter, catcher Yasutaka Tobashira. Saito struck out Neftali Soto, the two-time defending Central League home run king, with no outs and the bags juiced, but a flare single and a sac fly tied it.

Saito was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the third, and Naomasa Yokawa delivered a three-run homer, only for the hosts to get two back on solo homers in the home half. Tobashira, who homered in the fourth, singled with a man on in the sixth to set the table for a three-run outburst against Joe Gunkel (1-2).

Soto’s two-run single put the BayStars up for the first time, but Gunkel earned the win after Sands turned things around in the seventh.

With one on and two out in the eighth, Suarez was called in to face Soto, and retired all four batters he faced to earn his 14th save.

Morishita earns 6th win

Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (6-2) allowed a run over seven innings and Ryosuke Kikuchi broke up a tie game with an RBI double in the Hiroshima Carp’s 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Mazda Stadium.

Morishita allowed five hits and a walk while walking one and striking out seven. The Swallows’ run came on Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s game-tying leadoff homer in the sixth.

“He has a good variety of pitchers, allowing him to navigate through the opposing batting order,” Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu said. “It’s great for a first-year pitcher to see so many batters, because I got the sense he was reading swings as he pitched.”

Seiya Suzuki doubled and scored on a Hisayoshi Chono single against Swallows lefty Keiji Takahashi in the fourth. Kikuchi broke the tie against Scott McGough (3-1) after Minoru Omori opened the inning with a leadoff pinch-hit double.

Geronimo Franzua worked the ninth to record his eighth save.

Dragons tie Giants, put Hara on hold

Naoki Yoshikawa tripled in two runs to eighth-inning runs for the Yomiuri Giants, and reliever Kota Nakagawa surrendered just one run after the Chunichi Dragons loaded the bases with one out in the eighth in their 2-2 10-inning tie at Nagoya Dome.

The tie prevented Giants manager Tatsunori Hara from earning his 1,067th career win that would move him out of a tie for the most in franchise history with Tetsuharu Kawakami, who managed the Giants to nine-straight Japan Series titles from 1965 to 1973.

Hara had praise for the left-hander who issued two one-out walks to load the bases, but allowed only one run to score on a ground out.

“It was amazing he kept them from doing more, considering he walked two and must have been questioning his command. Holding them to one run was really something,” Hara said.

First-year Giants import Angel Sanchez allowed a run over seven innings. Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth, while Yuhei Takanashi shut the Dragons down in the 10th, when the game was called a tie.

NOTE: The story originally said Hara was second in managing wins with the Giants. Former Giants manager Shigeru Mizuhara had nearly 500 more wins in his career, but only 881 of those came with the Giants.

Yanagita pours it on Eagles

Yuki Yanagita brought the SoftBank Hawks from behind with a three-run third-inning home run, and added another for good measure in a 4-2 win over the Rakuten Eagles that was twice delayed by rain at Sendai’s Raktuen Seimei Park Miyagi.

Trailing 2-0 to lefty Yuki Matsui in the third inning, a walk by Keizo Kawashima and an Akira Nakamura single brought Yanagita to the plate with one out and runners on the corners. Matsui missed in the heart of the zone with a decent 1-0 fastball and Yangita drove it out to left for an opposite field home run, his 21st of the season.

The game, which started 37 minutes late, was suspended again for 55 minutes with one out and two on in the bottom of the seventh.

Rookie Masami Iwami, who had opened the scoring with his first career home run faced lefty Livan Moinelo and grounded into a double play. The 26-year-old Iwami, the Eagles’ second pick in the 2017 draft, took SoftBank starter Nao Higashihama deep to lead off the second.

With two outs in the inning, rookie shortstop Hiroto Kobukata doubled and scored on a Daichi Suzuki single. Higashihama, who allowed four runners to reach in the first but no runs, left after five, having allowed six hits and four walks.

Former San Diego Padres right-hander Kazuhisa Makita took the mound for the Eagles in the eighth, and with two outs, surrendered Yanagita’s second home run.

Jones hits’ Japan’s magic milestone

Although he’s only played a few months here, the Orix Buffaloes happily celebrated Adam Jones’ reaching Japan’s iconic 2,000-hit milestone in their 12-4 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.

Jones entered the game with 1,939 career major league hits and 59 in the Pacific League for the Buffaloes. His second hit of the game, an RBI double was his 2,000th, which is in Japan — with it’s shorter seasons — what 3,000 is in the majors.

Only one imported player has ever had 2,000 hits in Japan, DeNA BayStars manager Alex Ramirez. Second on that list is Tuffy Rhodes with 1,792.

Two nights after they were one-hit, the Buffaloes cranked out 16 hits in the one-sided win. Corey Spangenberg hit his 10th home run for the Lions. The first-year import also hit his Japan-best 21st double. Spangenberg also leads both leagues with six triples.

Nakata hits 250th HR in Fighters’ win

Sho Nakata became the 64th player to reach 250 home runs in Japan when he capped a three-run first inning with his 24th of the season in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 5-3 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Marines right-hander Daiki Iwashita (4-5) allowed four runs over six innings to take the loss. He gave up five hits and a walk while striking out eight.

Former Cleveland Indians farmhand Toru Murata (1-1) struck out two over two perfect innings of relief to earn his first win in two years. Nick Martinez struck out three and walked two in a scoreless ninth to earn his first save in Japan. His only other save came with the Single-A Hickory Crawdads in 2012.

Active roster moves 9/10/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/20

Central League

Activated

TigersP48Yukiya Saito
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma
SwallowsC32Naoki Matsumoto

Dectivated

TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
CarpIF45Tatsuki Kuwahara
SwallowsP68Hirofumi Yamanaka
SwallowsC52Yuhei Nakamura

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP16Nao Higashihama
HawksP49Yuto Furuya
MarinesC53Naoya Emura
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu

Dectivated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksP48Yuta Watanabe
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura

Starting pitchers for Sept. 11, 2020

Pacific League

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

Ryota Ishibashi (1-3, 7.71) vs Kosei Yoshida (-)

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

Toshiya Nakamura (1-2, 4.50) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2, 4.15)

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

Matt Moore (1-1, 2.61) vs Zach Neal (3-4, 4.76)

Central League

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

Shosei Togo (7-3, 2.50) vs Albert Suarez (2-0, 0.53)

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

Shoichi Ino (5-3, 3.08) vs Yuya Yanagi (2-4, 3.30)

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

Yuki Nishi (5-3, 2.57) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-4, 6.04)

NPB 2020 8-26 Games and news

Ojima ends Wakui’s win streak

Hideaki Wakui overcame a rough start to work seven innings, but Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima, 10 years his junior, struck out a career-high 11 to deny the 34-year-old his ninth win to open the season as the Lotte Marines beat the Rakuten Eagles and their former teammate 2-0 on Wednesday at Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park Miyagi.

Wakui pitched out of a two-out bases-loaded jam in the first inning with a good inside fastball to Katsuya Kakunaka that the former PL batting champion popped up. After Ojima worked out of a first-inning pickle, Wakui fell behind light-hitting Yudai Fujioka to start the second. The right-hander threw the Marines shortstop a 3-1 fastball down the pipe that he skied to right only for it to reach the seats at the foul pole for his first home run of the season. With two outs, Wakui hung an 0-1 breaking ball and Shuhei Fukuda pulled it down the right-field line for his third home run.

Ojima worked around a defensive mixup in the second that helped Stefen Romero to a leadoff double, and that second zero proved to be the ballgame as he allowed only two more batters to reach through seven innings. Former Eagle Frank Herrmann worked the eighth, while Naoya Masuda notched his 17th save in the ninth.

Wakui also went seven, and though he battled his command more than he has for most of the season, he figured things out as the game went on. He finished with five walks, nine strikeouts and three walks.

Matsuda spearheads Hawks comeback

Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a game-tying seventh-inning home run and singled to give the Hawks a out, ninth-inning beachhead they exploited in their 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Orix Buffaloes at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Masataka Yoshida doubled off 39-year-old Hawks lefty Tsuyoshi Wada to drive in a first-inning run and broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth against Wada with his xth home run.

Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima loaded the bases in the first but allowed no runs, but allowed a single and a home run in the fourth, reserve catcher Hiroaki Takaya’s first of the season. Tyler Higgins kept the Hawks off the board in the bottom of the eighth with the help of backup catcher Torai Fushimi, who cut down lightning-fast pinch-runner Ukyo Shuto trying to steal second.

After a scoreless ninth by Hawks closer Yuito Mori (1-1), Matsuda singled off Buffaloes closer Brandon Dickson (0-3) and Nakamura tripled home pinch-runner Taisei Makihara to end it.

Villanueva lands 1st punch in slugfest

The Nippon Ham Fighters’ Christian Villanueva blasted a three-run, second-inning homer to open the scoring off lefty Daiki Enokida (0-1) who surrendered seven early runs in an 8-5 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.

Fighters starter Toshihiro Sugiura allowed three runs over 5-1/3 innings. He didn’t allow a run until the sixth, when two walks and a single opened the floodgates to a five-run Lions innings, highlighted by a three-run Corey Spangenberg home run.

Wheeler boosts well-coached Giants

Zelous Wheeler hit a two-run first-inning home run and put his team in front with a sixth-inning RBI single for the Yomiuri Giants, who took advantage of an umpire’s inattention in a 12-5 see-saw win against the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

With the game tied 5-5 in the sixth, Wheeler put the Giants in front and cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto, hitless in his first three at-bats, singled in one more. A seven-hit five-run ninth turned the game into a rout.

The Swallows overturned their early deficit via a one-out Tetsuto Yamada home run, a Norichika Aoki walk and Munetaka Murakami’s 11th home run off Nattino Diplan. But the Giants retook the lead in the second with two runs against lefty Keiji Takahashi after a Hiroyuki Nakajima leadoff single and a double by rookie reserve catcher Yukinori Kishida.

The Swallows were denied an inning-ending double play because third base umpire Yoshiharu Yamaguchi wasn’t paying attention. Nakajima was caught between third and home on a grounder to third and beat a hasty retreat only to find Mota occupying the bag. Swallows catcher Yuhei Nakamura did the smart thing and tagged both men. Nakajima, mistakenly thinking he was out, walked off the bag until third base coach Koji Goto yanked him back.

Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu came out to argue but in the ump’s judgement, Goto preventing Nakajima from getting tagged out did not constitute help or he wasn’t looking. Either way, Hayato Sakamoto followed with a two-out two-run double.

Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s two-run homer in the fifth put Yakult back on top, only for Wheeler and the Giants to turn the game around once more.

Kishida walked to open the sixth, pinch-runner Daiki Masuda stole second and scored on Shinnosuke Shigenobu’s single. A walk put two on for Wheeler who singled between third and short.

Giants reliever Yuhei Takanashi (1-0) earned the win, extending his scoreless game streak to 15 with two scoreless innings.

Nomura pitches Carp past BayStars

Yusuke Nomura (3-1) allowed two runs over eight innings, while Shota Dobayashi and Seiya Suzuki each scored twice in the Hiroshima Carp’s 4-2 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohoma Stadium.

The Carp opened the scoring in the fourth on a one-out Dobayashi single, a Suzuki double and Ryuhei Matsuyama’s two-run single. In the home half, Carp center fielder Takayoshi Noma threw out Neftali Soto at the plate to end the inning. The BayStars tied it 2-2 in the fifth on Takayuki Kajitani’s 10th home run, but Dobayashi put the visitors ahead in the sixth. He walked, stole second and scored on Matsuyama’s second RBI single off Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-3).

Suzuki’s 14th home run, off Spencer Patton in the ninth, completed the scoring, and Geronimo Franzua struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to record his seventh save.

Bour, Tigers maul Dragons

Justin Bour homered twice and drove in three runs, while Onelki Garcia (2-5) allowed two runs over six innings in the Hanshin Tigers’ 11-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Koshien Stadium.

Bour dropped his bombs against Dragons right-hander Koji Fukutani (2-2), who hit his first bump in the road in his transition to starting pitcher, allowing six runs in six innings to take the loss after four decent outings. The Tigers took the lead in the second when Bour hit his 11th of the season with two outs and none on. His two-run home run capped Hanshin’s five-run sixth

Hawks drop Despaigne, Higashihama

The SoftBank Hawks deactivated two-time Best Nine Award-winning designated hitter Alfredo Despaigne and Opening Day starter Nao Higashima on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Despaigne has been suffering from pain in his left knee. The right-handed-hitting slugger returned to Japan in July with Cuban teammate Yurisbel Gracial and rejoined the first team on Friday and has appeared in three games.

Higashihama, named to start on Opening Day for the first time in June, was sent down due to a stiff neck. He threw 132 pitches in a five-inning start on Friday against the Lotte Marines in which he allowed three runs. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA. He was replaced on the active roster by Wednesday’s starting pitcher, 39-year-old lefty Tsuyoshi Wada.

Moore back with 1st team

First-year import Matt Moore rejoined the Hawks first team on Wednesday for practice prior their game against Orix in Fukuoka. The 31-year-old lefty suffered a left calf injury on July 7.

“His leg is no issue,” manager Kimiyasu Kudo said. “Once he’s in games, we’ll control his pitch counts to some extent. I’ve watched video. The only thing that concerns me is the number of pitches.”

Elsewhere, the Orix Buffaloes deactivated first-baseman Aderlin Rodriguez, while the Central League’s DeNA BayStars dropped first baseman Jose Lopez.

Active roster moves 8/26/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/5

Central League

Activated

GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa
CarpIF00Kaisei Sone
SwallowsP20Kazuki Kondo

Dectivated

BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
CarpIF63Ryoma Nishikawa
SwallowsP13Hikaru Nakao

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksOF64Yusuke Masago
EaglesP72Shun Ikeda
BuffaloesOF56Yusuke Matsui

Dectivated

HawksP16Nao Higashihama
HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
EaglesP23Hayato Yuge
MarinesP15Manabu Mima
BuffaloesIF42Aderlin Rodriguez

Starting pitchers for Aug. 27, 2020

Pacific League

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

Yuki Matsui (0-1, 5.16) vs Daiki Iwashita (3-3, 4.03)

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

Keisuke Honda (1-4, 3.45) vs Ryusei Kawano (2-3, 4.46)

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

Shunsuke Kasaya (1-2, 3.42) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-0, 1.23)

Central League

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-2, 4.47) vs Shosei Togo (6-2, 2.11)

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

Shoichi Ino (4-3, 2.21) vs Kris Johnson (0-5, 5.83)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (5-3, 3.40) vs Yuya Yanagi (2-3, 2.36)