The way to win a pitching Golden Glove in Japan is more or less just to be a successful pitcher.
I keep records of how many times players lead their leagues in different offensive categories in a given season. For pitchers, that’s wins, losses, saves, holds, winning percentage, innings pitched, strikeouts and ERA.
Lotte Marines right-hander Kota Futaki (6-2) improved to 3-0 this season against the SoftBank Hawks in a 3-1 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.
The Marines, who improved to 11-4-1 this season against the Hawks, pulled into a virtual tie with the league leaders, trailing only by winning-percentage points.
Futaki struck out nine, walked one and allowed three hits. The Hawks’ only run came when Akira Nakamura connected with a high straight fastball in the first inning and launched his sixth home run into the home run terrace in right field.
The right-hander located his fastball and had a particularly nasty slider that he used to change speeds and stay ahead of the game.
Hawks lefty Matt Moore (4-3) fought a gutsy rearguard action after fate conspired against him in the Marines’ two-run first. He allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits, three walks and a hit batsman.
He notched three of his eight strikeouts in the third after Leonys Martin was on third with no outs in a bad night for Hawks catcher Takuya Kai, who gave up three steals and bobbled a throw to the plate that allowed a run to score in the first.
Marines rookie Kyota Fujiwara, their first pick out in the 2018 draft, singled in an insurance run in the sixth after catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura singled and stole his first base of the year.
Hirokazu Sawamura dialed his fastball up to 157 kph in a 1-2-3 eighth and Naoya Masuda worked an easy ninth to record his league-best 29th save. Yuki Yanagita, who struck out three times against Futaki, completed a nightmare evening by grounding into a double play.
Neal hangs in to earn win
Zach Neal and the Seibu Lions did some expert damage control, keeping the first inning from blowing up on them in a 5-2 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.
Neal (4-6) allowed two runs over six innings on five hits, two walks and a hit batsman, while Eagles starter Takahiro Shiomi (4-7) gave up three runs in the third, when he allowed three hits and a walk.
The Eagles’ D.J. Johnson struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth, but Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda ended the game with the tying run at the plate to record his 26th save.
Tajima holds off Fighters
Lefty Daiki Tajima (4-4) allowed two runs over six innings as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.
Tajima gave up three hits and two walks while striking out two. Kensuke Kondo accounted for both of the hosts’ runs off him with a two-run sixth-inning homer.
Adam Jones drove in two runs for the Buffaloes with a walk and a single, while Takahiro Okada homered and drove in three. Tyler Higgins worked a 1-2-3 eighth before the Fighters scored twice off Brandon Dickson in the ninth.
Swallows outlast Carp
Twenty-year-old rookie Taiki Masuda broke a sixth-inning tie by leading off a six-run sixth with a home run in the the Yakult Swallows’ 12-7 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.
Each team used seven pitchers in the 4-hour, 16-minute game that saw the teams combine for 31 hits.
Active roster moves 10/9/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/19