Tag Archives: Tatsushi Masuda

NPB 2020 Oct. 27

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Hawks clinch 21st pennant

The SoftBank Hawks won the 21st championship in franchise history on Tuesday with a 5-1 win over their nemeses all season long, the Lotte Marines, at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Tsuyoshi Wada (8-1) struck out eight while allowing three hits and a walk over six innings. Wada, the winning pitcher in the team’s last clinching game, when they won the 2019 Japan Series, came out firing on all cylinders, pumping a fastball that usually sits at 87 mph up to 92. The lefty.

“I think we were all a little nervous today, so for Wada to come out and do what he did, it gave us all courage,” Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo said.

“This was a year that we didn’t even know would start, but we hung in there amid all the difficulties and uncertainty. We wanted to win so badly, but I don’t know if we could have done it without the players taking such good care of their conditioning during this very difficult year.”  

Tail-end hitter Hikaru Kawase put the hosts on the board in the fifth inning against Ayumu Ishikawa (7-5). He led off with a double, was sacrificed to third and scored on Akira Nakamura’s sacrifice fly. Hawks catcher Takuya Kai made it a 3-0 game in the sixth with his 10th home run, a two-run shot that plated Kenji Akashi.

Reliever Sho Iwasaki won an epic at-bat against pinch-hitter Katsuya Kakunaka to get out of the seventh inning with two men on, and lefty Livan Moinelo worked a 1-2-3 eighth.

Closer Yuito Mori took the mound in the ninth and the Marines held his feet to the fire.

The right-hander allowed one run on Shogo Nakamura’s leadoff walk, and an error by center fielder Yuki Yanagita on Ikuhiro Kiyota’s one-out double. After a two-out walk, Mori appeared to be out of the woods on a bouncer to third, but Taisei Makihara, who entered the game for his speed and defense, fumbled the ball to load the bases.

That brought Shuhei Fukuda to the plate as the potential tying run. For years, the Hawks fourth outfielder, Fukuda moved to the Marines over the winter as a free agent. Mori finally got him on his 39th pitch of the inning.

The Hawks have now won three straight against Lotte but still trail in their season series 7-11 with one tie.

Lions ground Eagles on Mori homer

Tomoya Mori’s three-run home run off Rakuten Eagles ace Takahiro Norimoto (5-6) lifted the Seibu Lions to a 4-3 win at MetLife Dome that moved them to within two games of the Pacific League’s final playoff spot.

Mori’s ninth home run made a winner out of Kona Takahashi (8-8), who allowed three runs on four hits and three walks over seven innings. Kaima Taira and Tatsushi Masuda finished up with one scoreless apiece with Masuda earning his 30th save.

Fighters get past Buffaloes

The top two hitters in the Nippon Ham Fighters lineup, Haruki Nishikawa, who reached base five times, and Shota Hiranuma each scored twice in a 5-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Steven Moya tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the first for the Buffaloes with his 10th home run, while Bryan Rodriguez threw a scoreless inning of relief as the Fighters used seven pitchers on a bullpen day.

Nishikawa, who said last winter that he’d like to move to the majors in 2021 by way of the posting system, made his second costly base running mistake in a few days.

Lopez slams Giants

Jose Lopez, who spent his first two Japanese seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, hit a grand slam off his former team for his 996th career hit in Japan as the DeNA BayStars clobbered rookie Shosei Togo (8-6) in a 9-2 win at Yokohama Stadium.

The Giants’ magic number to clinch their second straight Central League pennant dropped to three thanks to the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-1 loss to the Hanshin Tigers.

Over the weekend, Lopez achieved his 2,000th hit between the majors and NPB, and is now four hits shy of joining his former Seattle Mariners teammate Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui as the third player to achieve 1,000-plus hits in both the majors and Nippon Professional Baseball.

Lopez’s home run was his ninth, while Tyler Austin hit his 19th for the BayStars. Shinichi Onuki (10-5) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the win.

Tigers win on grab bag of mistakes

The Chunichi Dragons’ bullpen which has been, after lefty starter Yudai Ono, the team’s biggest story this season, was snake-bit in a three-run, error-filled eighth inning in a 4-1 Hanshin Tigers win at Koshien Stadium.

With two outs and none on in the eighth, first baseman Dayan Viciedo dove to make a stop, and threw to the pitcher, who took his eye off the ball, allowing a runner to reach. On the next play, Fuku threw wide to first to put two on.

Dragons rookie Kaname Takino, whose first career hit over the weekend was unexpectedly greeted by fireworks at Jingu Stadium from a nearby event, made it a trifecta for Tigers fans. He tried to make a shoestring catch on a flare off the bat of Koji Chikamoto but kicked it away. The Tigers leadoff man was credited with a two-run triple before another run scored on a smashed infield single.

Tigers closer Robert Suarez surrendered a Viciedo leadoff double in the ninth before striking out the last three batters to record his 24th save.

Hanshin left fielder Jerry Sands, who was ejected on Sunday for abusive language toward a home plate umpire and fined 100,000 yen ($950) had two hits.

Kuri stuffs Swallows

Allen Kuri (8-5) threw his fifth straight solid start, hurling 7-2/3 innings for the Hiroshima Carp in a 2-0 win over the Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Kuri struck out 10 but loaded the bases in the eighth on a single and two walks, forcing lefty Atsuya Horie to come in and strike out Swallows batting star Munetaka Murakami to preserve the two-run lead. Geronimo Franzua worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save.

Over his last five starts, Kuri has allowed three runs, two earned, over 40 innings. During that stretch, he’s walked nine but struck out 38 and allowed no home runs.

Swallows right-hander Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-6) worked seven innings and took the tough loss.

Giants’ Mercedes out for season

Yomiuri Giants lefty Cristopher Mercedes is out for the season after having surgery to clean out his left elbow, the Daily Sports reported Tuesday.

The 26-year-old is 4-4 this season with a 3.10 ERA in 11 games. He will probably will be unable to resume training for at least a month.

Former Red Sox pitcher Tazawa goes undrafted

Junichi Tazawa, the 34-year-old right-hander who made history by snubbing Nippon Professional Baseball’s draft and becoming the first marquee Japanese amateur to turn pro with a major league club, was in turn snubbed by NPB teams in Tuesday’s draft.

As a Japanese citizen, Tazawa is only eligible to sign his first NPB contract after being selected in the draft. For years, he hoped to play for Japan’s national team but was blacklisted because of NPB’s infamous Tazawa Rule, which was recently revoked.

He is currently playing for the Musashino Heat Bears of the independent Baseball Challenge League, Japan’s largest independent circuit. He was not even selected in the developmental draft, from which a team could sign him to a non-roster contract with a 240,000-yen minimum salary (roughly $2,200).

There was some speculation that he was passed over because teams don’t wish to deal with players who are represented by agents.

Active roster moves 10/27/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/6

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP41Shuto Sakurai
BayStarsIF6Keito Mori
BayStarsOF00Shumei Miyamoto
DragonsP25Yu Sato
DragonsP36Yuichiro Okano

Dectivated

BayStarsIF44Keita Sano
BayStarsOF61Tatsuo Ebina

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP42Frank Herrmann
BuffaloesIF67Keita Nakagawa

Dectivated

MarinesP49Chen Kuan-yu

Starting pitchers for Oct. 28, 2020

Pacific League

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

Shota Hamaya (2-2, 5.31) vs Hideaki Wakui (11-3, 3.20)

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

Hirotoshi Masui (2-2, 3.60) vs Drew VerHagen (7-6, 3.51)

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

Kodai Senga (9-6, 2.49) vs Chen Wei-yin (0-1, 2.25)

Central League

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

Yuya Sakamoto (4-1, 4.81) vs Yuki Takahashi (1-1, 2.77)

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

Shintaro Fujinami (1-6, 4.99) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (4-4, 3.61)

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

Atsushi Endo (3-6, 4.35) vs Masanori Ishikawa (2-7, 4.61)

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. 20

Lions come back to beat Buffaloes

Tomoya Mori snatched the victor’s laurels from Orix Buffaloes center fielder Hayato Nishiura with a three-run eighth-inning double that lifted the Seibu Lions to a 5-4 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Nishiura saved three runs with in the first, robbing Ernesto Mejia of a two-out double at the wall. He went up to get it before it hit the ball and caught it between his arms, cradling it for the out after he crashed to the turf.

Ryo Ota, a former top draft pick whose 2019 debut season was limited by injury, homered off Wataru Matsumoto in the first to put the Buffaloes up 1-0. Another rookie, 2018 fifth-rounder Sho Gibo, doubled in a run with two outs in the third. Steven Moya’s second homer of the year made it 3-0.

Nishiura preserved a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Playing shallow with two outs and a runner on second as Japanese teams do, Nishiura had to race back into the gap in right-center, making an over-the-shoulder basket catch for the final out.

He followed that by leading off the bottom of the fifth with home run into the second deck.

Orix starter Andrew Albers allowed two runs over six innings on seven hits, a walk and a hit batsman.

The Lions finally got to the lefty in the sixth when Sosuke Genda singled and scored on Hotaka Yamakawa’s 22nd home run.

Right-hander Ryo Yoshida, the Buffaloes’ third reliever, took over in the seventh with one on and one out but walked the bases loaded with two outs and gave up Mori’s double.

On the other side, four Lions relievers followed Matsumoto and combined to allow one walk and one hit. Tatsushi Masuda recorded his 20th save.

Eagles survive Hawks comeback

Eagles closer Alan Busenitz came within a hair of blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead, earning the save when a rocket off Ryoya Kurihara’s bat was caught by first baseman Daichi Suzuki for the final out as Rakuten beat the SoftBank Hawks 3-2 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome on Sunday.

Suzuki tied the game 1-1 on the first pitch in the fourth. Shuta Ishikawa (6-3) left a fastball up and Suzuki lined it off the wall behind the right-field home run terrace. Hawks catcher Takuya Kai, who’d homered to open the scoring minutes earlier tried not to shake his head but failed.

Eagles veteran Takayuki Kishi got out of a sixth-inning jam when Akira Nakamura, who swings and misses as infrequently as any hitter in Japan, struck out swinging for the second out. After an intentional walk to Yuki Yanagita, Kishi got out of the inning with an easy groundout.  

Stefen Romero put the Eagles up by one in the seventh, hitting an 0-1 power curve. Ishikawa supplied the curve by hanging it up in the zone and Romero supplied the power, launching it 10 rows back into the permanent seats.

Former San Diego submariner Kazuhisa Makita surrendered a two-out two-strike single to Nakamura. Yanagita came up with a chance to put the hosts in front, but went down swinging. Hiroaki Shimauchi then took out some insurance by taking reliever Yuki Matsumoto’s first pitch out to left for a solo homer to open the ninth.

Takayuki Kishi allowed a run over a season-high six innings in his fifth start of the Eagles.

The Hawks loaded the bases against closer Alan Busenitz with one out in the ninth on two singles and a fielder’s choice. Go Kamamoto singled in one run, but Busenitz got a force out at the plate before Suzuki was impaled by Kurihara’s liner.

Fighters give one away

Shohei Kato scored the tying run from second on a passed ball-throwing error with his team down to their last strike and then tripled in two runs in the 10th to lead the Lotte Marines to a 5-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

Rookie catcher Toshiya Sato’s two-run sixth-inning homer brought Lotte to within a run, after Marines starter Manabu Mima allowed three runs in the first but lasted eight innings.

Kato came on to run after Seiya Inoue singled with one out off Taisho Tamai. A two out walk put runners on first and second.

Tamai got ahead of Tsuyoshi Sugano 0-2, but catcher Yushi Shimizu failed to catch a 1-2 changeup. It popped up off the heel of his glove and by the time caught it Kato was on third, but the runner on first was well of the base. Sensing a chance to end the game, Shimizu gunned a throw to first that glanced off first baseman Kotaro Kiyomiya’s glove, allowing Kato to score.

Marines closer Naoya Masuda (2-2) got into trouble in the bottom of the ninth. Regular cleanup hitter, Sho Nakata, who started the game on the bench, came on to pinch hit flew out to short for the third out.

With two out and two on in the 10th, Kato drilled a pitch from Kenya Suzuki (0-1) to the gap to plate two. Recently acquired reliever Hirokazu Sawamura took over in the bottom of the 10th. He issued three two-out walks before getting a groundout to record his first save of the year.

Hatake plows under BayStars

Right-hander Shusei Hatake (1-3), making an emergency start in place of lefty Cristopher Mercedes, worked six innings and Yoshihiro Maru homered twice and drove in three as the Yomiuri Giants beat the DeNA BayStars 5-0 at Yokohama Stadium. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Giants.

DeNA right-hander Shinichi Onuki (6-4) allowed four runs, three earned, over six innings to take the loss. A single, a stolen base, a throwing error and a Hayato Sakamoto single put the Giants up in the first. Maru hit his 16th homer in the fourth with a man on and went deep again in the sixth.

Dragons light up Nakata in win over Tigers

The Chunichi Dragons scored three runs in two innings off veteran right-hander Kenichi Nakata (0-2) en route to a 4-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.

After a 1-2-3 first against the team for which he won the bulk of his 100 career games, Nakata allowed four straight hits in the second, bringing in two runs, while a third scored on a safety squeeze.

Takahiro Matsuba (3-4) allowed two runs over five innings. The only two runs came when pinch-hitter Kenya Nagasaka homered with a man on after his foul pop was dropped but not ruled an error. Four relievers combined to allow one hit and two walks over the final four innings with Raidel Martinez earning his 13th save.

Swallows survive ninth-inning horror show

The Yakult Swallows opened the home half of the first with three straight home runs before nearly blowing a seven-run ninth-inning lead with starter Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-3) on the mound in an 8-6 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Ogawa worked a 1-2-3 first, and in a sense, so did Carp starter Yuta Nakamura (0-1), who watched three of his first 14 pitches end up as souvenirs for the Carp fans in the left-field bleachers. It was the fifth time a team had homered in its first three plate appearances and the first time since the Dragons did it at Yokohama Stadium in 1995.

The Swallows entered the top of the ninth with an 8-1 lead and kept Ogawa on the mound after he had thrown just 101 pitches. After a double, a single and a double play, things were still looking good for manager Shingo Takatsu’s plan not to use his bullpen with the last three of nine straight games looming.

But five straight hits off straight fastballs and hanging breaking balls, the last off Ogawa’s 123rd pitch, finally forced a change. Closer Taishi Ishiyama allowed the tying run on with a single before getting a strikeout that ended the game and earned him his 11th save.

Active roster moves 9/20/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/30

Central League

Activated

GiantsP31Seishu Hatake
GiantsP58Ryosuke Miyaguni
TigersP20Kenichi Nakata
CarpP67Yuta Nakamura

Dectivated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsIF00Daiki Yoshikawa

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP63Hiroyuki Kawahara
HawksOF60Go Kamamoto
EaglesIF6Kazuya Fujita
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo

Dectivated

HawksOF51Seiji Uebayashi
EaglesIF66Itsuki Murabayashi
MarinesP30Tsuyoshi Ishizaki
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino
BuffaloesOF56Yusuke Matsui

Starting pitchers for Sept. 21, 2020

Central League

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

Daisuke Naoe (0-0, 2.35) vs Allen Kuri (4-4, 4.06)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-3, 3.66) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1, 5.33)

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

Minoru Iwata (-) vs Masaya Kyoyama (1-0, 9.00)

NPB 2020 Sept. 13

Lions’ Matsumoto turns back Hawks

Shuta Tonosaki opened the game with a home run and Wataru Matsumoto (3-3) worked seven scoreless innings to outduel Shuta Ishikawa (6-2) in the Seibu Lions’ 1-0 win over the SoftBank Hawks at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Tonosaki appeared to geared up for a fastball and when Ishikawa threw a straight 1-0 pitch down the pipe, the Lions super utility man drove it well back into the permanent seats in left for his fifth home run.

The Hawks threatened to score in the home half when Taisei Makihara squared up a first-pitch center-cut fastball for a leadoff double. But Matsumoto’s fastball was too much for Akira Nakamura who continually hit under it, fouling it off twice before a popping up for the first out. After a cautiously walking Yuki Yanagita, Yurisbel Gracial grounded a low fastball into a double play.

Matsumoto got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, again with some extra mustard on his fastball, as the normally deadly Nakamura miss-hit a heater to second for an inning-ending groundout.

Ishikawa allowed four hits, two walks and hit a batter while striking out six in a typically solid performance, but after Lions middle reliever Kaima  Taira set the Hawks down in order, the hosts wasted a two-on no-out chance in the ninth against closer Tatsushi Masuda.

A sacrifice advanced two pinch-runners into scoring position, Masuda overpowered grinding right-handed hitter Keizo Kawashima for the second out, and then came within a hair of disaster. The right-hander missed up with a 1-0 fastball that Makihara hammered down the third base line where it was caught by Wu Nien-ting for the final out instead of going for a game-winning two-run single. The save was Masuda’s 17th.

Eagles outpunch Fighters

The Rakuten Eagles tattooed Kohei Arihara (4-7) for nine runs over 2-1/3 innings, who wasted a six-run second inning against Takayuki Kishi in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 14-6 loss at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Hideto Asamura opened the scoring for the hosts in the first inning with his 22nd home run, a two-run shot, but the Haruki Nishikawa’s three-run shot capped the visitors’ six-run second.

The Eagles tied in the third and took the lead in a three-run third on rookie Hiroto Kobukata’s RBI single. Kobukata, who singled and scored in the second, added a two-run double in the third.

The loss snapped a streak of four-straight solid outings for Arihara. Kishi stayed on the mound for 3-1/3 innings.

Fan-favorite Watanabe to hang it up

The game broadcast repeatedly cut to shots of Eagles player coach Naoto Watanabe, who announced he would retire at the end of the season.

A native of Miyagi Prefecture where Sendai is located, the 39-year-old Watanabe is a serviceable middle infielder. In his first few years was a good on-base percentage hitter and efficient base stealer for the Eagles before stints with the BayStars and Lions. A fan favorite in Sendai, he returned to Rakuten in 2018, but had played in 88 games since.

But if Japan likes melodrama more than almost anything, so when asked about Watanabe, manager Hajime Miki gushed during his postgame interview.

“We have a lot of emotions when it comes to Naoto and the players all agreed we should dedicate the rest of this season to him, so that his last year as a player is something special.”

–Eagles manager Hajime Miki on player-coach Naoto Watanabe’s announcing he would retire at the end of the season.

Marines breakthrough against Buffaloes pen

Manabu Mima (7-2) allowed two runs over seven innings and the Lotte Marines scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh off lefty reliever Nobuyoshi Yamada (2-3) to break up a tie game in a 9-2 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Hisanori Yasuda doubled in single runs in the first and third off Taiwan right-hander Chang Yi, who left after allowing two runs on two hits and four walks over five innings.

The Buffaloes tied it in the top of the seventh on a Masataka Yoshida RBI double, but Yoshida was gunned down at the plate trying to score against Leonys Martin’s arm to end the inning.

In a game twice interrupted by rain delays, Mima struck out seven without issuing a walk. He collected the win when the Marines began their seventh-inning rally after two were down. Yasuda capped the inning with a two-run single. The Marines’ 21-year-old rookie cleanup hitter has been struggling since a hot start to the season.

“Mima did a great job of shaking off the rain delays and staying on his game,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “Real veteran stuff from him. Yasuda, has been having a hard time of it, and sure this game is a big relief to him, so he can mover forward now with a refreshed outlook.”

Martin piled on in the eighth with a three-run double for the Marines.

Dragons ride lucky bounce past stars

The DeNA BayStars lost a big first-inning double play when a batted ball deflected off the second-base bag, costing them two runs in their 3-2 loss to the Chunichi Dragons at Yokohama Stadium.

With two on and no outs, and the BayStars left-handed hitter Zoilo Almonte’s grounder was headed straight up the middle to where shortstop Yota Kyoda was poised to pick it and start an easy double play until the ball struck the bag and rolled into shallow left for an RBI single. With no outs, Dayan Viciedo supplied a sac fly before starting pitcher Shinichi Onuki (6-3) got out of the inning with a double play.

Neftali Soto homered off former ace Kazuki Fushimi in the first, but both bullpens shut the door after the fourth inning. Onuki lasted six innings, allowing three runs. Dragons closer Raidel Martinez struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 12th save.

“Onuki pitched a really good game today. The first inning he gave up a couple of hits, but those balls were good pitches and they just put good swings on good pitches. Other than that, he did a tremendous job today,” BayStars manager Alex Ramirez said. “Sometimes the ball bounces like that. It’s baseball. After he (Soto) hit a home run, I thought we would be able to score more runs. But we’re hitting pretty good. We couldn’t just come up with the big hit at the right moment. That happens.”

Maru homer lifts Giants past Swallows

Yoshihiro Maru’s 15th home run overturned a 1-0 fourth-inning deficit as the Yomiuri Giants came back to beat the Yakult Swallows 3-1 at Tokyo Dome.

Cristopher Mercedes (4-4) allowed a run over 5-1/3 innings, leaving after a one-out sixth-inning walk put two on with one out. Yohei Kagiya struck out both batters he faced and with Monday a day off, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara made liberal use of his bullpen, finishing with Rubby De La Rosa, who earned his 12th save.

Swallows right-hander Yasuhiro Ogawa (8-3) allowed three runs over six innings on seven hits and two walks. He struck out eight.

Giants-Swallows highlights

Suarez, Yokawa boost Tigers

Closer Robert Suarez (2-0) who has recently been tasked with getting four-out saves, entered a tie game in the eighth inning and earned the win after Naomasa Yokawa homered in the bottom of the eighth in the Hanshin Tigers’ 7-6 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium.

Seiya Suzuki’s three-run homer in the top of the first put the Carp in front against Shintaro Fujinami, but the Tigers came back to score five runs, four earned, off Hiroshima starter Kazuki Yabuta.

Kento Itohara and Justin Bour singled in one run apiece in the first and third innings to put the Tigers in front briefly before the game turned into a battle of the bullpens, which the Tigers eventually won.

Active roster moves 9/13/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/23

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF51Shunta Tanaka
DragonsP19Kazuki Yoshimi

Dectivated

GiantsP33Ryu Ota

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP11Takayuki Kishi
FightersP49Katsuhiko Kumon

Dectivated

HawksP18Shota Takeda

Starting pitchers for Sept. 14, 2020

Pacific League

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

Takahiro Shiomi (4-5, 4.60) vs Drew VerHagen (5-3, 4.16)

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

Kota Futaki (3-2, 4.73) vs Andrew Albers (3-5, 3.62)

The kotatsu league: Lions bag former Tiger reliever Garrett

The Seibu Lions have acquired former Detroit Tigers right-hander Reed Garret, the two-time defending Pacific League champions announced Tuesday according to Kyodo News in Japanese.

Garret pitched 15-1/3 innings for the Tigers over 13 games in 2019, but has spent most of his career in the Texas Rangers organization. He’ll turn 27 on Jan. 2. According to a Nikkan Sports report, general manager Hisanobu Watanabe wants to use the 1.88-meter, 95-kilogram Garret in a setup role.

“He imparts a lot of force on his pitches,” Watanabe said. “He has a breaking ball and a slider that drops and that he can miss bats with. He is really quick to the plate so that’s a non-issue. If possible we want to use him to get us to (closer Tatsushi) Masuda.”

If Garret is a power pitcher, as Watanabe suggests, he is one who has only struck out nine batters per nine innings once in his career, in 2014 with Double-A Frisco. Having said that, Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas learned to get strikeouts in Japan after being a pitch-to-contact guy in the States, and Watanabe – who won 125 games in NPB — knows a bit about pitching.

Garrett is the third new import the Lions have signed this winter following the acquisition of former Mariner Sean Nolin, and do-it-all utility man
Cory Spangenberg. The club is bringing back first-baseman/pinch-hitter Ernesto Mejia and right-hander Zach Neal.