Interleague Day 12
A little less than two-thirds left in the 16th season of interleague play and the CL has a chance to win the most games for the second time. After Sunday’s games, the Central League leads 32-30-7 while trailing in runs scored 324-291.
It won’t be easy, considering the remaining games, except for a few makeups, will be played in PL parks. But as the announcer during Friday’s Dragons-Buffaloes game, “Hey, the CL is strong this year.”
Sunday marked Tomoyuki Sugano’s return after a month absence, and though he didn’t win, it was a good outing, while 40-year-old Tsuyoshi Wada turned back the clock in a dominant start and the PL’s Wu-Wang clan delivered more pop hits.
Fighters 4, Giants 2
At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri ace Tomoyuki Sugano (2-3) returned from a month on the sidelines after suffering from right shoulder discomfort and had trouble putting hitters away, but he’s Sugano, so his troubles are not like other pitchers. The Fighters scraped two runs against him on three hits and no walks over five innings.
Speedy leadoff man Ryota Isobata manufactured one run and helped create another for the Fighters, when Haruki Nishikawa scored from second on his eighth-inning sacrifice. An error on the play set up Isobata to score the Fighters’ fourth run. The only reason Isobata was credited with an RBI on the play because the official scorer was jealous about Saturday’s bunt assault in Hiroshima.
For the second straight day, there seemed to be a psychic Taiwan tie-up as Wang Po-jung homered a few minutes after Seibu’s Wu Nien-ting homered down the road at Jingu Stadium against the Swallows.
Fighters rookie Hiromi Ito (3-4) worked around four walks to allow just one run on two hits over seven innings. The run came on a third-inning Seiya Matsubara double and a Zelous Wheeler single. Matsubara and Wheeler walked in the eighth and Matsubara came home on a Naoki Yoshikawa single.
Matsubara, who hit one of two ninth-inning homers off closer Toshihiro Sugiura on Saturday, lined out to end the game with the tying runs on base as Sugiura recorded his 11th save.
Swallows 9, Lions 6
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Norichika Aoki second RBI double in a four-run eighth inning helped clinch a wild one. Wu’s sixth home run, a two-run third-inning blast, gave Seibu a 3-2 lead, that quickly evaporated. After homers by Aito Takeda and rookie Shinichiro Kishi, the Lions led 6-5 in the sixth.
Scott McGough, who blew a one-run save opportunity and took the loss on Saturday when he surrendered three home runs, retired the heart of the Lions order on Sunday to notch his seventh save.
BayStars 4, Marines 3
At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA squeeked out a win when Lotte left fielder Katsuya Kakunaka got turned around at the wall and failed to make a tough catch that would have ended the game in a 3-3 tie and instead became a two-out walk-off RBI double for Yamato Maeda.
The Marines rallied to tie it in the eighth on three two-out doubles by Shogo Nakamura, Leonys Martin and Kakunaka off Yasuaki Yamasaki, costing ace Shota Imanaga the win after he’d held Lotte to a run over six innings.
The BayStars took a 2-0 lead on homers by Tyler Austin, his 11th, and rookie Shugo Maki, his 10th, off Kazuya Ojima. With the game tied 3-3 and first base open, the BayStars walked Brandon Laird intentionally to face Yudai Fujioka, who’d doubled in Kakunaka in the fourth. But a day after the intentional walk blew up their game, this one paid off. Kazuki Mishima (1-3) worked the ninth, and the BayStars won it against Marines closer Naoya Masuda (0-4).
Buffaloes 4, Dragons 0
At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome, Orix’s Hirotoshi Masui (2-4) allowed a walk and a hit over six innings, while his teammates had the kind of three-run inning that makes Japanese analysts and announcers hyper ventilate with excitement, three RBI singles and a sacrifice bunt by the pitcher.
Koji Fukutani (3-5), Chunichi’s Opening Day starter, struck out seven while walking one over six innings, but gave up four runs on six hits.
Hawks 8, Tigers 3
At Koshien Stadium, 40-year-old SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada (4-3) had his best start of the season, striking out eight, while hitting a batter and giving up four singles over seven innings. Takuya Kai drove in three runs for the second straight day, singling in two in a three-run first, and another in the eighth. Minor league infielder Masaki Mimori batted leadoff, reached base four times, scored three runs and tripled in another.
Rookie Junya Nishi (1-1) made an emergency start for Hanshin after Joe Gunkel was scratched with a sore throat but tested negative for the coronavirus. Nishi allowed three runs in three innings. Jefry Marte hit his 10th home run for the Tigers and rookie Teruaki Sato his 15th after the game was already out of hand.
Eagles 6, Carp 4
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Rakuten’s Eigoro Mogi broke a scoreless tie with a fourth-inning RBI double off Koya Takahashi (2-2), and added a two-run home run, his ninth of the season.
Rookie lefty Takahisa Hayakawa (7-2) worked 5-2/3 innings. He left with two and both scored against Tomohiro Anraku on singles by rookie Kota Hayashi and Kevin Cron, who went 3-for-4 with a double.
Yuki Matsui worked the ninth to tie Hanshin’s Robert Suarez for the Japan saves lead with 17.
Active roster moves 6/6/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/16