Buffaloes’ lead grows, Tigers’ shrinks
The Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes moved two games clear of the Rakuten Eagles on Friday, while the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers who were at one point looking to end the pennant race by August, saw their lead shrink to 1-1/2 games.
The power of youth
As a result of Friday’s games, the Yomiuri Giants’ Yuki Takahashi and Shosei Togo lead the CL with eight wins each, while Orix’s Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Hiroya Miyagi lead the PL with eight each. At 24-years-old, Takahashi is the old man of that group. Yamamoto is 22, Togo 21 and Miyagi 19.
Yamamoto fell to second in the PL ERA rankings after allowing two runs over seven innings, his ERA jumping to 1.94, behind his rookie teammate’s 1.93.
There was also a trade
The Tigers and SoftBank Hawks swapped reasonably useful players on Friday, which is not an insult, but a surprise, since most trades, other than a few when players demand to leave, rarely involve anyone of obvious value.
Buffaloes 5, Lions 3
At MetLife Dome, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-5, 1.90) allowed two runs over seven innings, while Seibu starter Takeru Sasaki (0-0, 5.87) faced one batter, ejected automatically after hitting leadoff batter Shuhei Fukuda in the head with his third pitch.
His replacement, rookie Yutaro Watanabe, got a double play but walked Masataka Yoshida and surrendered Yutaro Sugimoto’s 18th home run. Sugimoto drove in four runs, and had three hits for the Buffaloes, while Yuma Mune reached base three times and scored twice.
Sugimoto’s homer tied him for the PL lead with SoftBank’s Yuki Yangita and Lotte’s Leonys Martin.
Tyler Higgins worked a scoreless eighth for the Pacific League leaders. Closer Yoshihisa Hirano closed it out, after surrendering Brandon Taiga Tysinger’s second homer, for his 10th save as the Buffaloes moved two games clear of the second-place Rakuten Eagles.
Marines vs Eagles
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, rained out.
Swallows 9, Dragons 3
At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome, the top two spots in Yakult’s order, Yasutaka Shiomi and Norichika Aoki combined for three doubles, two singles, a walk, five runs and four RBIs. Jose Osuna chipped in three singles and Domingo Santana singled and doubled as the Swallows bashed Yuya Yanagi (6-4) for five runs over four innings.
Dayan Viciedo hit his 12th home run for the Dragons, who scored three runs off Keiji Takahashi in 3-2/3 innings but couldn’t make a dent against the Yakult bullpen.
The Swallows moved to within 2-1/2 games of the idle second-place Giants, and four games of the Central League-leading Tigers.
Carp 7, Tigers 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, if you missed Seiya Suzuki’s second inning, you missed this whole game.
Suzuki recorded two of the three outs in the top of the inning. He then opened the scoring in the home half with his 12th homer, a leadoff shot off Hanshin’s Yuki Nishi (4-5), capped the scoring in the rally with a three-run bases-loaded double, and ended the inning by being thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple
Rookie Carp lefty Shogo Tamamura (2-3) allowed a run over seven innings to earn the win.
BayStars vs Giants
At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, rained out.
Fighters vs Hawks: Okinawa Cellular Field 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
BayStars vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Dragons vs Swallows: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT
Active roster moves 7/2/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/12
|Tigers||OF||24||Mel Rojas Jr.|