Tag Archives: Tyler Austin

NPB Wrap 5-8-21

Japanese baseball is hard

Masahiro Tanaka will attest to this after he got hit hard on Saturday in his fourth start. All that despite locating most of his pitches pretty well and having good velocity on his fastball and the Nippon Ham Fighters coming off a week in which they were barely able to practice.

Tanaka spills on his 2nd loss

In a country where practice volume is considered the most important factor in success, every failure is often attributed to a lack of practice. The Fighters are now 2-0 since a coronavirus cluster shutdown the club after their game on May 1. But because lack of practice is fatal, their next loss, whenever that comes, will be attributed to their layoff, while every win between now and then will be treated as an anomaly.

Fighters 4, Eagles 1

At Sapporo Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (3-2), the Opening Day starter for the last-place Nippon Ham Fighters, beat Tanaka for the second time, holding Pacific League-leading Rakuten to a run over seven innings, while his teammates tagged Masahiro Tanaka (2-2) for five runs over seven.

Tanaka lacked command of his splitter and threw a lot of straight fastballs that the Fighters were able to square up, and after three games of announcers and analysts wondering when we might see the two-seamer he used to throw a lot in the majors, that pitch finally made its debut.

A Kenshi Sugiya single and doubles by Kensuke Kondo and Wang Po-jung made it 2-0 in the first. A Sho Nakata single, a Wang double and a walk set the table for Shingo Usami’s RBI single. After Eigoro Mogi opened the Eagles’ fifth with his sixth homer, Kondo hit his sixth in the home half to complete the scoring. “There was nothing positive to take away from my pitching today but that (going seven innings),” Tanaka said according to Tokyo Sports Web reported.

Buffaloes 5, Marines 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Orix’s Daiki Tajima (2-1) allowed two runs, one earned, over six innings, while the Elmore Leonard gang, Yuma Tongu and Yuma Mune, each homered for the Buffaloes. Tongu hit a two-run shot in the second, his fifth, and Mune a solo shot in the sixth for his fourth of the year. Adam Jones also had a pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth, when Steven Moya and Stefen Romero both singled and scored.

Tajima allowed four hits while striking out six without issuing a walk. Marines starter Manabu Mima (2-1) struck out nine but allowed three runs on five hits and a hit batsman over seven innings. Leonys Martin had a hand in both Lotte runs, singling in the first and doubling to help set up the second.

Three weeks shy of his 42nd birthday, Orix’s Atsushi Nomi earned his second save and struck out Brandon Laird to become the 57th pitcher with 1,500 career strikeouts and the oldest in history when he reached the milestone.

Lions 2, Hawks 0

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Seibu’s Reed Garrett walked the bases loaded in the ninth inning before jamming SoftBank star Yuki Yanagita with a 98-mph fastball for the final out.

After scoring nine runs for Nick Martinez (1-1) in his Hawks debut, SoftBank managed just five hits and a walk over six innings against Wataru Matsumoto (3-3). Takumi Kuriyama singled in a first-inning run, and Wu Nien-ting singled with two on and two outs, but Yanagita threw a strike to the plate from right field to end the inning. A Cory Spangenberg walk, a sacrifice and an Aito Takeda double made it 2-0 in the fifth. Martinez last seven innings. He allowed five hits and a walk while striking out four.

SoftBank Hawks outfielder-infielder Yurisbel Gracial left the game with a hand injury that was diagnosed as a broken right ring finger that will likely keep him out of action for a month.

Tigers 4, BayStars 1

At Yokohama Stadium, the Hanshin Tigers gave the DeNA BayStars the rookie treatment as lefty Masashi Ito (3-0) allowed a run over eight innings, while striking out five and Teruaki Sato singled twice and drove in a run each time. Sato was the Tigers’ top pick last autumn and Ito their second, while shortstop Takumu Nakano, Hanshin’s sixth pick, singled and scored a run.

Jerry Sands also singled twice for the visitors, while Robert Suarez earned his eighth save.

First-year import Fernando Romero (0-1), who tested positive for coronavirus when he arrived in Japan, allowed four runs over five innings in his NPB debut.

Tyler Austin singled and doubled for the BayStars, while DeNA rookie Shugo Maki accounted for his team’s run with his seventh home run. Mel Rojas Jr, who led KBO in RBIs in 2020 after Sands led that league in 2019, made his Japan debut, too, going 0-for-4 with two punchouts and gdp.

Carp 4, Dragons 3

And speaking of rookies, at Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome rookie Hiroshima closer Ryoji Kuribayashi earned a five-out save after entering the eighth inning with the bases loaded, getting a double play and then stranding two runners in the ninth for his ninth save.

Carp starter Allen Kuri (4-3) allowed two runs over six innings to earn his first win since April 10, while Chunichi’s Opening Day starter, Koji Fukutani (1-3) gave up four runs over 6-1/3 innings to take the loss. Fukutani did, however, contribute to two Dragons runs with a sacrifice and a game-tying RBI single.

Carp rookie Ryutaro Hatsuki homered and then singled in his team’s second run, while Ryosuke Kikuchi doubled in the tie-breaking run and scored an insurance run in the seventh. 

Starting pitchers

Sunday is going to see a tasty Central League matchup between two pitchers who had mixed results in their 2020 debut seasons but who have started 2021 on the right foot, Hanshin’s Joe Gunkel and DeNA’s Michael Peoples.

In the Pacific League, the Fighters-Eagles game will be a matchup between the phenom and the castoff, as lefty Takahisa Hayakawa, one of the prizes in the 2020 draft, goes against Takahide Ikeda, a former second-round Eagles pick. Ikeda has pitched well for the Fighters since the Eagles dealt him in March for slugging reserve infielder Taketoshi Yoko.

Pacific League

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

Takahide Ikeda (2-3, 3.23) vs Takahisa Hayakawa (3-2, 3.41)

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

Kazuya Ojima (0-1, 4.03) vs Hirotoshi Masui (1-3, 4.28)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Yuki Matsumoto (1-2, 6.00) vs Katsunori Hirai (3-1, 3.60)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (2-1, 2.37) vs Cy Sneed (-)

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

Michael Peoples (1-0, 0.00) vs Joe Gunkel (5-0, 2.29)

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

Yuya Yanagi (2-1, 2.08) vs Shogo Tamamura (0-1, 7.20)

Active roster moves 5/8/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/18

Central League

Activated

TigersOF24Mel Rojas Jr.
BayStarsP42Fernando Romero

Dectivated

TigersP14Chen Wei-Yin
BayStarsP49Kevin Shackelford

Pacific League

Activated

HawksOF24Yuya Hasegawa
BuffaloesP29Daiki Tajima

Dectivated

HawksP47Jumpei Takahashi
BuffaloesP45Shota Abe

NPB wrap 5-7-21

Matching tops and bottoms

Friday was a night for both leagues’ last-place clubs to make statements in home games against their league’s leaders as the Pacific League’s Rakuten Eagles pulled into Sapporo Dome against a Nippon Ham Fighters team that hadn’t played since Saturday—when the club became classified as a coronavirus cluster.

In Yokohama, the DeNA BayStars, who struggled out of the gate this season under new manager Daisuke Miura welcoming the Hanshin Tigers, who have dominated the early going in the Central League.

Fighters 6, Eagles 1

At Sapporo Dome, Drew VerHagen (1-2) allowed a run over five innings while striking out nine, while Nippon Ham utility man Kenshi Sugiya homered to open the scoring against Hideaki Wakui (4-1) and then drove in a fifth-inning insurance run with a suicide squeeze

Wakui surrendered all six runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings.

Marines 7, Buffaloes 5

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, both starting pitchers took their lumps, with Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa (2-1) surrendering four runs over seven only to be outdone by Orix’s Taisuke Yamaoka (1-3), who gave up five over five. Seiya Inoue made it 5-0 Marines in the fourth with a three-run home run, his first of the season. Brandon Laird added a two-run double for the Marines.

All five Buffaloes’ runs came via the home run, a three-run shot in the fifth by rookie Ryo Ota and two solo homers by Yutaro Sugimoto, who has six on the year.

Hawks 2, Lions 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Seibu tied it on solo homers by Hotaka Yamakawa and Takumi Kuriyama. It was the second for each of the veterans who have spent most of the season rehabbing.

Yamakawa, a two-time PL home run champ, was in his first game back since he both homered and hurt his left hamstring on March 30. Kuriyama was hurt on Opening Day and wasn’t reactivated until April 20.

Hawks right-hander Shuta Ishikawa allowed two runs over eight innings on four hits and a walk while striking out eight. Seibu’s Kona Takahashi gave up two runs, one earned, over seven innings. Kaima Taira pitched out of trouble in the Hawks’ eighth. After SoftBank southpaw Livan Moinelo retired the Lions in the ninth, Reed Garret, back from taking a shot off the knee on Tuesday, did the same in the home half to seal the tie.

Swallows 6, Giants 4

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri ace Tomoyuki Sugano was pulled for a pinch-hitter after four sparkling innings with a 3-0 lead, only for lefty setup man Kota Nakagawa to surrender four Yakult runs in the eighth.

After the game, the Giants revealed that Sugano left the game due to discomfort in his right elbow, which was not at all apparent from his pitching, which appeared — at least in the first inning — as precise and effortless as I think I’ve ever seen from anyone.

Hayato Sakamoto and Zelous Wheeler hit back-to-back one-out homers off Albert Suarez in the first. The pair reached base in the third to set up a Kazuma Okamoto sacrifice fly.

Norichika Aoki doubled and scored on Yasutaka Shiomi’s pinch-hit single off Ryoma Nogami. Shiomi homered off Nakagawa with one out in the eighth. A walk and four straight two-out singles put the visitors in charge. Sakamoto lined a first-pitch fastball down the pipe from Scott McGough over the wall in center for his seventh home run, but the right-hander struck out three to keep the hosts from tying it.

Domingo Santana opened the Swallows’ ninth with his fourth home run.

Giants-Swallows highlights

BayStars 12, Tigers 6

At Yokohama Stadium, Hanshin’s Chen Wei-Yin cruised through three innings but blew a 2-0 lead when DeNA chased him with one out in the BayStars’ four-run fourth. But after the Tigers came back to tie it 6-6 on Jefry Marte’s seventh-inning RBI single, Tyler Austin led off the BayStars’ seventh with his fifth home run in 22 games this season.

The Tigers came back from a 6-2 deficit on Yoshio Itoi’s first homer, a solo shot off Edwin Escobar, and three runs off new import Kevin Shackelford, but a pair of relievers combined to strand two runners and the BayStars blew out the Tigers’ bullpen. Neftali Soto just missed a fourth-inning grand slam and had to settle for a bases-loaded RBI single on a ball that hit high off the wall in right. He walked, singled three times, scored twice, and drove in two. Toshiro Miyazaki also had three hits, scored twice, and drove in three.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Naoyuki Uwasawa (2-2, 3.99) vs Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 2.12)

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

Manabu Mima (2-0, 3.94) vs Daiki Tajima (1-1, 2.97)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Nick Martinez (1-0, 0.00) vs Wataru Matsumoto (1-3, 4.18)

Central League

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

Fernando Romero (-) vs Masashi Ito (2-0, 1.71)

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

Koji Fukutani (1-2, 4.18) vs Allen Kuri (3-3, 3.23)

Active roster moves 5/7/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/17

Central League

Activated

TigersIF62Kai Ueda
SwallowsC33Soma Uchiyama

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP44Kaito Yoza
LionsIF3Hotaka Yamakawa
LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura
FightersC64Yua Tamiya
FightersIF70Junnosuke Imai
FightersIF93Ryunosuke Higuchi
FightersOF4Yuya Taniguchi
FightersOF50Ryota Isobata

Dectivated

LionsP15Tetsu Miyagawa

NPB wrap 5-3-21

1-strike pitch to Yuma

Buffaloes 6, Lions 3

At MetLife Dome, Orix performed two different versions of the Elmore Leonard western “3:10 to Yuma.” Instead of an impoverished rancher getting a villain onto a train bound for Yuma Arizona, the NPB versions involved downtrodden Buffaloes getting the surviving dangerous Lions –on two fastballs: a 2-1 pitch to Yuma Tongu and a 1-1 heater to Yuma Mune.

Tongu’s fourth home run, a three-run sixth-inning homer, opened the scoring. Mune’s, a low liner to center against a drawn-in Lions outfield, iced the game in the eighth. Mune’s was his third of the season and his second in two games.

Keita Sano and Adam Jones co-starred in both versions, opening the sixth and eighth inning with singles off Tetsu Miyagawa (0-1) in the sixth and Ryosuke Moriwaki in the eighth, and then before the Lions knew it, or “あっという間” (attoiuma) as they say in Japanese, it was Yuma time.

The Lions got two back in the seventh against 19-year-old Buffaloes’ lefty Hiroya Miyagi, who had faced one batter over the minimum to that point. A leadoff walk and a single set up one-out Takumi Kuriyama and Cory Spangenberg RBI singles.

The Lions came within a hair of tying it when Wu Nien Ting lined a pitch down the left field line that was ruled to have gone foul by smidgen – or a 10th of a smidge. Wu struck out and Miyagi was charged with two runs over 6-2/3 innings on two walks, a hit batsman and four hits. The rookie struck out five.

By the way, I went to two games at Tigers Stadium in 1999, to see Masao Kida, who earned his only major league game the first night, the same game that Elmore Leonard kicked off by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

The Seibu Lions wasted five scoreless innings from Matt Dermody, whose biggest difficulty in his Japan debut was navigating umpire Shinichiro Hara’s strike zone. Dermody struck out three, walked three and allowed five hits.

Eagles 7, Hawks 4

Eagles 7, Hawks 4

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Hideto Asamura scored three runs and drove in two as the Rakuten Eagles overcame an early three-run deficit. Ryota Takinaka (2-2) struggled with his control in the first inning, when two of SoftBank’s three runs were unearned, but settled in to go five innings.

SoftBank starter Akira Niho (0-1) cruised through four innings but allowed an unearned run in the fourth and was lit up in the fifth. Asamura, who singled and scored in the fourth, tied it with a two-out, two-run double and scored on a Hiroaki Shimauchi single.

With two outs and first base open in the seventh, the Hawks elected to walk Asamura intentionally, but he scored on a two-run Shimauchi double.

Yuki Matsui earned his eighth save, but the Hawks made him work for it with some gritty at-bats in a 23-pitch inning.

BayStars 2, Dragons 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, DeNA starting pitcher Michael Peoples (1-0) couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time for the Central League’s last-place BayStars. The second-year right-hander struck out six while allowing four hits and walking none over six scoreless innings to win a pitchers’ duel with another 2021 debutant, Chunichi’s Kodai Umetsu (0-1).

Umetsu allowed two runs, one earned, over five innings on two hits, two walks and a hit batsman. The BayStars took the lead thanks to a leadoff error that allowed Peoples to reach and score on a walk, a sacrifice and a groundout. Keita Sano made it 2-0 in the sixth, when he hammered a hanging slider from Keisuke Tanimoto for his third home run.

After a scoreless seventh by Edwin Escobar, right fielder Tyler Austin just barely misjudged a ball, turning a double into a leadoff triple, and allowing Akira Neo to score from third on a ground out against Yasuaki Yamasaki. But that was it for Chunichi’s offense as Kazuki Mishima struck out Mike Gerber and Dayan Viciedo en route to a 1-2-3 ninth and his fifth save.

Giants  3, Carp 2

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Zelous Wheeler hit the Yomiuri Giants’ third home run, a seventh-inning tie-breaking shot off Masato Morishita (3-3), and Yohei Kagiya  (1-0) retired all four batters he faced, including Kevin Cron after he inherited a two-out bases-loaded jam to earn the win.

Hayato Sakamoto fifth homer opened the scoring for the Giants, and Yoshihiro Maru’s second tied it in the sixth. Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki hit a two-run shot in the third. The Giants used four pitchers to get through the ninth. Thyago Vieira entered with one out and surrendered two hits. Yuhei Takanashi entered with two outs and the bases loaded and retired pinch-hitter Kosuke Tanaka to earn his first save.

I leave you with 8-time Golden Glove winner Ryosuke Kikuchi’s 5th inning robbery.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Towa Uema (1-1, 5.02) vs Daichi Takeyasu (1-0, 3.21)

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

Shunsuke Kasaya (1-2, 4.30) vs Takayuki Kishi (2-2, 3.34)

Central League

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

Kazuto Taguchi (1-2, 4.26) vs Yuki Nishi (3-2, 2.38)

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

Yudai Ono (1-2, 2.50) vs Shinichi Onuki (1-2, 5.27)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (1-2, 4.56) vs Yuki Takahashi (5-0, 1.80)

Active roster moves 5/3/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/13

Central League

Activated

DragonsP18Kodai Umetsu
BayStarsP13Hiromu Ise
BayStarsP45Michael Peoples
CarpOF59Minoru Omori

Dectivated

BayStarsP12Kosuke Sakaguchi
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura
SwallowsP29Yasuhiro Ogawa

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP13Akira Niho
HawksOF51Seiji Uebayashi
LionsP28Ryosuke Moriwaki
LionsP98Matt Dermody
EaglesP57Ryota Takinaka
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi

Dectivated

HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

NPB wrap 5-1-21

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Fighters-Lions called off due to virus

The Nippon Ham Fighters announced four new positive tests on Saturday, a day after three other players’ positive coronavirus results were announced. Three staff members, including a coach, combined to make the team an official coronavirus cluster, and causing Sunday’s game against the Seibu Lions to be postponed.

It is the first postponement since last summer when a game in Fukuoka between the Hawks and Lions was called off over an abundance of caution after a veteran working out with the farm team was infected.

Tanaka battles through to 2nd win

Eagles 3, Marines 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten’s Masahiro Tanaka (2-1) and his manager and pitching coach all said his fastball had more life on it, and it was good, even if he had trouble locating it and did get away with one stinker, and perhaps they were accounting for the fact that Lotte hitters did very little with the pitches he left in the heart of the zone.

Tanaka’s 3rd start and postgame interview

In any case, Tanaka worked six innings. He walked one, hit one, and allowed five hits while striking out six. Hideto Asamura drove in a run with Rakuten’s third third-inning single and Takero Okajima, who drove in a run in Tanaka’s 2-1 win the previous Saturday, hit his second home run of the season, a two-out blast in the fourth off the Marines’ Opening Day starter, Kota Futaki (1-2).

Rakuten’s Sung Chia-hao, Hiromoto Sakai and Yuki Matsui finished up with Matsui getting his seventh save.

Hawks 9, Buffaloes 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the SoftBank Hawks offense gave new right-hander and former Nippon Ham Fighter Nick Martinez (1-0) a hearty welcome. The nine runs while he was the pitcher of record was the most in his 29 games in Japan. Martinez struck out four, walked one and allowed five hits over six innings.

Buffaloes starter Hirotoshi Masui (1-3) allowed eight runs, six earned, over five innings. 

Fighters 5, Lions 4

At Sapporo Dome, Seibu closer Tatsushi Masuda (0-2) blew a three-run save, surrendering a two-run homer to Sho Nakata – back in the three hole, a Taishi Ota RBI double high off the wall before leaving with two on so Tetsu Miyagawa could walk two batters as Nippon Ham literally walked off.

Nippon Ham’s Opening Day starter, Naoyuki Uwasawa allowed two runs over seven innings, while striking out six, but Cory Spangenberg blasted his first homer in the eighth and Wu Nien-ting doubled and scored another insurance run in the ninth.

Seibu starter Keisuke Honda allowed a run over five innings, and four relievers held the Fighters in check with Reed Garrett working the seventh and Kaima Taira striking out the side in the eighth. Taira recorded a team record of getting a “hold point”–a hold or a win in relief–in 13 straight games.

Dragons 9, Giants 6

At Tokyo Dome, four of Chunichi’s runs scored on ordinary flies that found holes, a pair of RBI flares, and a ninth-inning two-run triple off Thyago Vieira on a routine fly that iced the game and wasn’t caught because Yomiuri played the game by Japan’s book.

The Japanese book says bring the outfield in with two outs and a runner on second to keep him from scoring on a single. Trailing 7-6 in the ninth with two outs and runners on second and third, the Giants’ outfield came in and Yohei Oshima’s poke landed just beyond left fielder Zelous Wheeler’s glove.

With Chunichi’s bullpen, the difference between one and three runs really didn’t matter much. Right-handed side-armer Katsuki Matayoshi has stepped seamlessly into the spot vacated by Daisuke Sobue, who’s now on the farm, while Raidel Martinez was pumped. The right-hander’s roar when he struck out Justin Smoak to end it could be heard over Tokyo’s afternoon thunder.

New Dragon Mike Gerber went 2-for-5 with three strikeouts a single and a booming RBI double in Chunichi’s three-run sixth. Dayan Viciedo homered in the fifth, his fourth of the season and his third in four games.

Smoak and Wheeler helped power the Giants’ comeback from a 7-0 deficit, and a beauty of a swing by Wheeler propelled a seventh-inning curve on the outside corner out to the opposite field to close the gap to a run.

Giants lefty Nobutaka Imamura (2-1) allowed four runs in 4-2/3 innings. Dragons lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (2-2) struck out seven in five-plus innings, while allowing three runs and singling in a run.

Giants-Dragons highlights

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.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Marines: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Takahisa Hayakawa (3-2, 2.56) vs Shota Suzuki (1-1, 2.45)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (0-3, 4.56) vs Yuki Matsumoto (1-1, 5.40)

Central League

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

Kousuke Sakaguchi (1-1, 2.79) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (2-1, 4.23)

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

Joe Gunkel (4-0, 1.78) vs Yusuke Nomura (0-2, 4.42)

Active roster moves 5/1/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/11players marked with an asterisk are coronavirus deactivations and can be activated as soon as they are cleared to play.

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP37Nick Martinez
MarinesP18Kota Futaki
FightersOF66Chusei Mannami

Dectivated

MarinesP48Toshiya Nakamura
EaglesC44Yuichi Adachi
FightersOF61Yuma Imagawa*

NPB wrap 4-29-21

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Emergency exits

Although Thursday was a national holiday and the start of the Golden Week holidays, two teams opted to postpone their games due to the latest state of emergency in Tokyo and three western prefectures, including Osaka. Rather than play in an empty park on a holiday afternoon, the Yakult Swallows postponed their Central League game with the Yomiuri Giants while the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes also put off their home game against the Rakuten Eagles.

Chen links

Tigers 6, Dragons 4

At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome Chen Wei-Yin (1-0) returned to Nagoya with a flourish, winning his first game in Japan since 2011 and his first as a Hanshin Tigers against his old club, allowing a run over six innings, striking out four, walking none while allowing five hits and getting a pair of double plays. Cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama drove in four runs to help the Central League leaders snap a seven-game losing streak at Nagoya Dome.

“I wasn’t that good at the start of the game, and I was able to get a lot of support from my teammates,” Chen said in Mandarin through a Japanese language interpreter. “In particular (Jefry) Marte and Oyama put runs on the board that allowed me the breathing room to settle in.”

“I never think much about whether the team is in a losing streak or on a winning streak,” said Chen, whose win snapped a three-game skid. “Thanks to Ryu (catcher Ryutaro Umeno) calling such a steady game, I could just focus on executing my pitches, so I’m grateful to him.”

Marte sparked the Tigers offense with a two-out first-inning triple, a drive to the center field wall that Yohei Oshima nearly caught. Oyama then singled past short off Koji Fukutani (1-2) to open the scoring. The Tigers made it 4-0 in the third. Kento Itohara doubled with one out, Marte walked, and Oyama hit his fifth home run.

Fukutani allowed four runs over six innings on six hits and a walk.

Being Japan, we couldn’t be spared the number 3,497 — the number of days since Chen’s last win in Japan.

BayStars 5, Carp 3,

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Tyler Austin and Neftali Soto showed Japan what it’s been missing early in the season as the pair untied a 1-1 game with one home run each in a three-run third.

Austin went deep for the second straight day with a leadoff homer, and Toshiro Miyazaki’s two-out walk set the table for Soto’s two-run shot off Carp rookie Shogo Tamamura (0-1) in his pro debut baptism of fire. The lefty had been 2-0 in the Western League with some solid numbers, striking out 17 in 17 innings with just three walks, 13 hits and no home runs.

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (1-3) DeNA’s Opening Day starter, allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks over six-plus innings to post his fourth quality start. The lefty got the hook after allowing two runs on three straight no-out hits in the seventh. Edwin Escobar stranded a runner in the inning. Former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki and his successor, Kazuki Mishima kept the Carp of the board in the eighth and ninth with Mishima earning his third save.

Marines 5, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, Lotte’s Daiki Iwashita (3-2) allowed two runs over six innings while striking out seven, and Leonys Martin got the Marines rolling with a two-run first-inning homer, his Japan-best 10th, off Sho Ito (0-1).

The Marines bullpen resumed normal uninterrupted service with a hat-trick of one-strikeout perfect innings by Frank Herrmann, Yuki Karakawa and closer Naoya Masuda, who earned his fifth save. Marines leadoff man Takashi Ogino walked, singled and scored twice.

The Lions were poised to pull even in the home half of the first with one run in, one out and the bases loaded. Wu Nien-ting chopped a fat pitch up the middle, but Yudai Fujioka dove to keep the ball in the infield and flip to second for a force as a run scored.

Iwashita responded by retiring 16 of the next 18 batters he faced before making way for the bullpen, which retired nine straight.

The Lions’ bright spot was 5-2/3 innings of one-run relief from troubled starter Wataru Matsumoto, who struck out five and walked none.

Hawks 2, Fighters 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, SoftBank’s Shota Takeda (2-1) won a pitchers’ duel against surprising Nippon Ham journeyman Takahide Ikeda (2-3), with seven scoreless innings.

Ikeda, acquired in the March deal that sent slugging reserve infielder Taketoshi Yokoo to the Eagles, held the Hawks to two runs over seven runs in his fourth straight quality start. Akira Nakamura opened the scoring with his second homer in the sixth, and Yusuke Masago hit his first of the season in the seventh.

Livan Moinelo worked the eighth for SoftBank, and Yuito Mori worked around the third homer of the season by No. 2 hitter – Pro Yakyu News guys eat your hearts out – Sho Nakata to earn his eighth save.

Wang Po-jung went 2-for-2 with a walk in his season debut for Nippon Ham, but squandered his third-inning leadoff double trying for third in an inning in which the Fighters still stranded a runner.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (0-1, 4.26) vs Kona Takahashi (3-0, 3.06)

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

Hideaki Wakui (3-0, 1.47) vs Toshiya Nakamura (0-0, 1.80)

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

Taisuke Yamaoka (1-2, 2.32) vs Shuta Ishikawa (1-2, 3.15)

Central League

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

Tomoyuki Sugano (2-1, 1.74) vs Yuya Yanagi (1-1, 1.97)

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

Yuya Sakamoto (1-1, 3.27) vs Yuto Kanakubo (1-0, 2.93)

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

Takumi Akiyama (2-2, 3.91) vs Allen Kuri (3-2, 2.65)

Active roster moves 4/29/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/9

Central League

Activated

TigersP14Chen Wei-Yin
CarpP65Shogo Tamamura
CarpC62Tomoki Ishihara

Dectivated

TigersP42Jon Edwards
CarpP58Reira Fujii
CarpC40Yoshitaka Isomura

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP18Shota Takeda

Dectivated

EaglesP45Yuki Watanabe
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura

NPB wrap 4-28-21

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Fighters rookie Ito gets 1st win

Fighters 4, Hawks 3

At Fukuoka’s PayPay DomeHiromi Ito (1-2), Nippon Ham’s top signing from last year’s draft, scattered five walks and four hits over six scoreless innings to get the better of 40-year-old SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada (2-2).

There were some tense moments at the end, however, as closer Toshihiro Sugiura gave up ninth-inning solo homers to Kenta Imamiya, his second, and Yuki Yanagita, his fifth. Wada allowed four runs on eight hits but no walks over five-plus innings while striking out six.

Kensuke Kondo delivered the big blow for the Fighters with a two-run sixth-inning homer, his fifth.

Lions 3, Marines 2

At MetLife Dome, Seibu’s Takumi Kuriyama snapped a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning leadoff homer, his first, off Lotte reliever Yuki Karakawa (1-1). Seibu middle reliever Kaima Taira (1-0), the Pacific League’s 2020 rookie of the year, worked around a leadoff double in the eighth to earn the win, while Tatsushi Masuda pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save.

Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima allowed two runs over six. He took a 2-1 lead into the home half of the sixth after Leonys Martin homered to open the top of the inning with his ninth home run of the season. After Kuriyama lined out to lead off the Lions’ sixth, Aito Takeda tied it with his fourth homer. Lotte’s Frank Herrmann pitched out of a two-on two-out jam in the seventh.

The Marines hit into two double plays in the first inning, thanks to a dropped throw by Seibu starter Tatsuya Imai on an attempted 3-6-1 double play and the scoring convention of giving a fielder an assist on outs that aren’t made because of a dropped throw. Imai allowed two runs on two hits and six walks while striking out six over seven innings.

He got out the Marines’ one-run first by an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play. According to Daily Sports, it was the sixth time a team has literally turned two, and the first since July 16, 2011, when the Hiroshima Carp mismanaged the feat.

Buffaloes0,Eagles 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Rakuten veteran Takahiro Norimoto duked it out for eight innings, when Eagles closer Yuki Matsui took over. The lefty overcame a pair of two-out four-pitch walks by striking out Takahiro Okada after falling behind 2-0 to end it as the clubs tied for the second straight night.

Yamamoto struck out five and walked one while allowing three hits in his 96-pitch outing. Norimoto threw 98 pitches, striking out six and walking one while allowing a pair of two-out hits.

Giants 7, Swallows3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yomiuri lefty Yuki Takahashi (5-0) became Japan’s first five-game winner by allowing three runs over six innings as Yoshihiro Maru and Kazuma Okamoto each homered and combined for five RBIs. Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 in his second game with a solo homer and a double.

Albert Suarez (1-2) served up 12 hits and issued a walk, allowing six runs over four innings. Tetsuto Yamada tied Swallows teammate for the Japan home run lead with his 10th home run, his fifth in five games.

Zelous Wheeler hit three doubles for the Giants, while new Swallows import Jose Osuna doubled and walked in four trips to the plate.

BayStars 13, Carp2, 8 innings, rain

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, catcher Hiroki Minei put DeNA up 2-1 in the second with a two-out, two-run double, Tyler Austin put the Carp in a hole with two-run third-inning home run, his second, and reliever Shingo Hirata ended a two-run fifth-inning Carp rally by getting a double play in relief of starter Masaya Kyoyama.

Carp lefty Hiroki Tokoda (1-2) gave up five runs, four earned over four innings. He retired the first five BayStars before Toshiro Miyzaki singled in the second and Neftali Soto doubled to set the table for Minei.

Austin went 3-for-4, while Soto went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in DeNA’s four-run seventh. Rookie Shugo Maki drove in four late runs with RBI doubles. New import Kevin Shackelford and lefty Edwin Escobar each worked a scoreless inning for the BayStars.

Dragons 6,Tigers 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Dragons right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-1) struck out seven over 5-1/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed five hits and a walk. Takuya Kinoshita put Chunichi on the board against right-handed side-armer Koyo Aoyagi (2-2) with a two-out second-inning RBI double and scored on an Akira Neo single.

The Dragons put the game away in the eighth on Nobumasa’s one-out solo homer, his first, and a Dayan Viciedo three-run shot, his first home run since Opening Day.

New Dragons Mike Gerber went 1-for-4 in his Japan debut. Jefry Marte singled and plated the Tigers’ only run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Jerry Sands doubled in the second, when the visitors’ rally was cut short on a good play by Dragons shortstop Yota Kyoda.

Aoyagi allowed two runs on a walk and three hits while striking out seven over six innings to take the tough loss.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Sho Ito (0-0, 1.26) vs Daiki Iwashita (2-2, 2.45)

Hawks vs Fighters: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Shota Takeda (1-1, 3.24) vs Takahide Ikeda (2-2, 3.42)

Center League

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

Koji Fukutani (1-1, 3.68) vs Chen Wei-Yin (-)

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

Shogo Tamamura (-) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-3, 4.15)

Active roster moves 4/28/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/8

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF98Estamy Urena
DragonsOF99Mike Gerber
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama

Dectivated

GiantsOF44Eric Thames
DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesC53Naoya Emura
EaglesOF25Kazuki Tanaka
BuffaloesP45Shota Abe

Dectivated

HawksOF24Yuya Hasegawa
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura
BuffaloesP29Daiki Tajima