Because of the upcoming national holiday on Monday, when Japan celebrates mountains, the Pacific League took Friday off, leaving just three games on the NPB calendar.
A lot of the focus was on Yokohama Stadium, where a season-ending injury to third baseman Toshiro Miyazaki saw more creativity from Japan’s most creative manager, Alex Ramirez.
Ramirez’s response was to play big-hitting left fielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo at third for the first time in five years and batted him second again — something that seriously annoys Japan’s talking-heads. The move allowed Ramirez to get one of his favorite prospects, 21-year-old slugging outfielder Seiya Hosokawa into the starting lineup in left. If that wasn’t bad enough for the late-night talk guys, Ramirez batted his starting pitcher eighth.
BayStars 10, Dragons 6
At Yokohama Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo rescued what looked like it was going to be a tough game for DeNA with two homers, including a grand slam, and a two-run single in a come-from-behind win over Chunichi.
BayStars starter Kentaro Taira (5-2) allowed three runs over five innings despite allowing eight hits and a walk. He surrendered a two-run, first-inning homer to Dayan Viciedo, but pitched out of a bases-loaded situation in the second.
Giants 10, Swallows 9, 10 innings
At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri came from behind to beat Yakult on a Yoshiyuki Kamei sacrifice fly after trailing 7-0. The win allowed the Giants to cling to their one-game CL lead over DeNA.
On further review
The Giants overcame a seven-run deficit with four runs coming on two-run Kazuma Okamoto home runs. His one-out shot in the eighth should have come with the bases empty, but NPB’s video review system broke again.
Giants base runner Shingo Ishikawa was ruled safe when the Swallows tried to double him off first on a fly out to left. The ball was clearly in the first baseman’s glove before the runner’s foot got to the bag. But despite pleas from NPB umpires, umps have only tiny monitors under the stands to evaluate the plays. As a result, they often have no clue what the replays show and can’t make clear judgments about calls that everyone at home and in the stands have a better view of.
Analyst Suguru Egawa, a former Giant, said, “It certainly looks like he’s out.”
Seconds later when the umps came out with their decision, Egawa said, “Well, I guess he got his foot in there.”
That’s the state of replay in NPB. It’s a whole lot better than it used to be, when there was no recourse for terrible calls, but on close calls, forget it.
As a result, the call at first was upheld. Yoshihiro Maru singled, and Okamoto tied it with a three-run home run.
Hayato Sakamoto started the Giants’ counterattack in the fourth inning, when he reached 30 home runs for the first time since 2010.
Game highlights are HERE.
At Kyocera Dome, Daichi Osera (9-6) bounced back from a four-run nightmare of a second inning to work six, and Alejandro Mejia hit his second three-run homer in a week to put Hiroshima in front in a win over Hanshin.
Game highlights are HERE.