Hawks 10, Marines 1: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Lotte went into a crucial game against SoftBank having deactivated seven players on COVID exemptions over three days including Roki Sasaki, and then ran into a good game from 42-year-old Tsuyoshi Wada (7-6), who struck out eight while allowing a run over five innings.
Kensuke Kondo hit a solo homer, his 24th, in the second off Kazuya Ojima (8-6), who must have only been a close contact when he was deactivated for COVID on Friday. Mike Brosseau, whom I interviewed for this week’s Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast, doubled to set up the tying run in the fourth.
SoftBank took the lead for good on 20-year-old Tomoya Inoue’s first major league homer leading off a three-run fourth. Inoue was the Hawks’ first-round 2020 draft signing after they failed to win the rights to Teruaki Sato in a four-way lottery. Back-to-back walks forced in another run before Kondo delivered a sac fly. The Hawks put this one in the bank in a five-run seventh.
Eagles 9, Fighters 1: At Kitahiroshima Taxpayers Burden Field, Masahiro Tanaka left with the score tied 1-1 after seven innings against Hiromi Ito (7-10), who was charged with five ninth-inning runs with veteran pinch-hitter Ginji Akaminai delivering a one-out RBI single to break the deadlock. Tanaka struck out seven without a walk, while allowing three hits.
The win lifted the Eagles into third place, one back of the Hawks while leading Lotte on winning-percentage points.
Deniers 1, Giants 0: At Yokohama Stadium, fourth-place Yomiuri fell three games back of DeNA after rookie shortstop Takuma Hayashi singled in Toshiro Miyazaki in the second inning off Yohander Méndez (5-5). DeNA’s Shinichi Onuki (4-4) struck out 11 over 6-1/3 innings, and the bullpen carried the rest of the load with Yuhei Morihara getting his 17th save.
Buffaloes 4, Lions 3: At Osaka UFO Dome, Seibu took a 3-2 fourth-inning lead after rookie Ryuhei Sotani walked the bases loaded with no outs, but a Marwin Gonzalez single and a Yuma Mune triple for his second RBI of the game tied it in the seventh. Former Lion Tomoya Mori broke the tie in the eighth with a solo homer, his 18th.
Dragons 2, Tigers 1: At Nagoya Dome, Teruaki Sato led off Hanshin’s second with his 22nd homer, but Tigers starter Shoki Murakami (10-6) had one tough inning in the home half. A one-out Takaya Ishikawa single and a Takuya Kinoshita double set up Ryuku Tsuchida’s two-run single, and that was all for the CL’s meaningless game of the night.