Tag Archives: Yoshinobu Yamamoto

NPB Wrap 4-8-21

I wrote this after learning that Japan is working on a plan to vaccinate Olympic athletes ahead of its most vulnerable senior citizens, which should come as a surprise to no one.

Japan loses its battle against the coronavirus to the Olympics.

and now back to baseball.

Yamamoto rolls over Marines

Buffaloes 5, Marines 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, age met youth on Thursday as 22-year-old ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-1) allowed a run over seven innings to earn the win for the Orix Buffaloes. Orix’s fourth pitcher, 37-yaer-old former Diamondback and Mariner Yoshihisa Hirano needed six pitches to end a ninth-inning bases-loaded jam and earn his first save in Japan since he racked up 29 in 2017 for the Buffaloes.

Lefty Fumiya Motomae (1-1) started for the Marines and allowed a run on two no-out singles in the first and a groundout. Fumiya Sugimoto hit his first homer, with red-hot Yuma Tongu on base in the second for the visitors. After Brandon Laird’s second homer, leading off the second, Tongu delivered a two-run double with no outs in the third that completed the scoring early.

Eagles 4, Lions 0

At MetLife Dome, Ryota Takinaka (1-0), the Rakuten Eagles’ sixth starter, bounced back from allowing 10 runs in his season debut by going seven innings striking out five and not allowing a runner through five as the Pacific League leaders swept the Lions in their yard.

Lions right-hander Towa Uema (0-1), a seventh-round pick in 2019, retired the first four batters he faced in his pro debut before giving up Eigoro Mogi’s fourth home run with one out in the second. He walked a pair of batters in a scoreless fifth before the Eagles knocked him out in the sixth. Ryosuke Tatsumi opened with his fourth homer.

Uema left with one out and two on after a jam shot by Hideto Asamura, and Mogi doubled over rookie left fielder Gakuto Wakabayashi on the third pitch from Bangkok-born Yasuo Sano to drive in two.

Tanaka throwing

Masahiro Tanaka, whose season debut has been delayed by a calf-muscle injury, threw 33 pitches in the MetLife Dome bullpen and appeared to be ready to return to action within a week.

Hawks 4, Fighters 2

At Sapporo Dome, Akira Nakamura’s two-run eight-inning single capped a three-run Hawks rally against veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi (0-1 ) to complete a three-game sweep. It was Nippon Ham’s seventh straight loss.

Second-year Fighters lefty Ryusei Kawano allowed a run over five innings, while Hawks starter Shota Takeda allowed two runs on three walks and nine hits, including two RBI singles by Ryunosuke Higuchi over 5-1/3 innings. Takeda couldn’t have been helped by getting smacked by the barrel of a broken bat when he fielded a comebacker between Taishi Ota’s leadoff triple and Higuchi’s first single.

The Fighters, who stranded 11 runners through six innings, stranded three more in the seventh. Yuki Yanagita singled to open the eighth off Miyanishi, who then dropped a sharp comebacker for an infield single. After a walk loaded the bases, Alfredo Despaigne tied it with a sac fly, and Nakamura hit a flair over the drawn-in infield to put the Hawks in charge.

LIvan Moinelo, making his second appearance of the season, struck out two of the three batters he faced to raise his total to five over two innings so far.

Giants 3, Tigers 0

At Koshien Stadium, Yuki Takahashi (2-0) worked seven-plus innings, and lefty Kota Nakagawa kept two inherited runners from scoring and tying the game as Yomiuri salvaged the final game of the series.

Hayato Sakamoto made it 1-0 in the first off Takumi Akiyama (1-1) with his first home run. Fourth-inning one-out singles by Takumi Oshiro and Shinnosuke Shigenobu and a fumble by left fielder Jerry Sands set Ginjiro Sumitani up for a sac fly that made it 2-0.

Shigenobu homered in the top of the ninth and Rubby De La Rosa worked around a Jefry Marte leadoff single in the bottom of the inning with three strikeouts to notch his third save.

Akiyama struck out 10 over six innings. He gave up six hits and two walks.

Swallows 11, Carp 7

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, 19-year-old rookie Yasunobu Okugawa (1-1) allowed five runs in five innings and weathered a 54-minute rain delay to earn his first pro win as Yakult twice came from behind to beat Hiroshima.

Each team scored four runs in the first inning before the center of Tokyo was given a thunder-and-lightning show. After a scoreless second Seiya Suzuki hit the first of his two home runs, only for the Swallows to come back for two in the home half against right-hander Yuta Nakamura (0-2), who was charged with six runs over three innings.

Swallows leadoff man Kotaro Yamasaki went 4-for-5, reached on an error, homered and doubled to power the hosts’ offense, while Naomichi Nishiura drove in three runs on three RBI singles.

Okugawa, whom the Swallows signed after winning his rights in a three-way first-round draft lottery in 2019 and who only pitched two innings on the first team last season, struck out four without a walk, but gave up 10 hits.

BayStars 5, Dragons 2

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, a ninth-inning error on a hard grounder with one out and the infield in by third baseman Shuhei Takahashi allowed the go-ahead run off Dragons set-up man Daisuke Sobue (0-1) as the BayStars left Nagoya with two wins.

With the game tied 2-2 in the eighth, troubled former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki (1-1) worked recorded his first 1-2-3 inning of the season and earned the win after Sobue was tagged for three unearned runs and Kazuki Mishima recorded his second save in the ninth.

Ryosuke Hirata tripled and scored off BayStars starter Kentaro Taira in the second. Taira left after five innings as the pitcher of record after rookie Shugo Maki took veteran lefty Takahiro Matsuba deep with a man on in the sixth for his third homer. The Dragons, however, tied it straight away against 23-year-old Hiromu Ise, who gave up a Hirata leadoff single and an RBI pinch-hit double to 43-year-old Kosuke Fukudome.

Starting pitchers

Friday is ace day, ostensibly, and tomorrow will bring some interesting matchups. The Pacific League-leading Rakuten Eagles will send their Opening Day starter, Hideaki Wakui (2-0) against the SoftBank Hawks first-game pitcher, Shuta Ishikawa (1-1). The Seibu Lions’ Kona Takahashi (2-0) will go for his third victory in Chiba, and former Orix Buffaloes ace Chihiro Kaneko will start at his old home park for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Shintaro Fujinami, the Hanshin Tigers’ surprise Opening Day starter will go for his first decision, in Yokohama, while the Hiroshima Carp will send their ace, Daichi Osera (1-0) against Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano, who reportedly hurt his knee on Opening Day.

Pacific League

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

Hideaki Wakui (2-0, 1.29) vs Shuta Ishikawa (1-1, 4.85)

Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Kota Futaki (1-1, 3.75) vs Kona Takahashi (2-0, 2.93)

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

Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2, 6.30) vs Chihiro Kaneko (-)

Central League

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

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-1, 7.00) vs Shintaro Fujinami (0-0, 2.45)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daichi Osera (1-0, 1.26) vs Tomoyuki Sugano (0-0, 4.50)

Viciedo out

The Chunichi Dragons deactivated cleanup hitter Dayan Viciedo on Thursday to the dreaded “lack of upper-body fitness.” Hiroshima Carp newcomer Kevin Cron is currently beginning rehab since he is suffering from that ailment’s partner in crime, “lack of lower-body fitness.”

The Orix Buffaloes have deactivated Steven Moya after he fouled a pitch off his right foot in Friday’s game against the Marines.

Active roster moves 4/8/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/18

Central League

Activated

DragonsIF55Nobumasa Fukuda
BayStarsP59Kentaro Taira
SwallowsP11Yasunobu Okugawa

Dectivated

DragonsIF66Dayan Viciedo
BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
SwallowsIF60Ryusei Takeoka

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP66Yuki Matsumoto
LionsP64Towa Uema
LionsOF53Aito Takeda
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi

Dectivated

LionsIF63Ryusei Tsunashima
BuffaloesOF1Steven Moya

NPB wrap 4-1-21

Instead of an April Fool’s story, we have an example of the common Japanese media genre of baseball and celebrity reporting, called “someone got married and here’s what we know about their partner.”

No fooling

The top news at noon on Thursday was Nippon Ham Fighters infielder Takuya Nakashima’s announcement of his marriage, with Sponichi Annex reporting the news was not an April Fools joke. Sometimes these stories make one wish they were attempts at humor.

The headline reads: “Nippon Ham’s Nakashima’s said ‘It’s not a lie’ in response to his wedding announcement to an ordinary woman from Kyushu being dubbed an April Fool’s joke.

Try putting that in a newspaper.

The Japanese media will refer to athlete’s spouses by their job description if it is known. When Hideki Matsui got married, his wife was identified as the daughter of a salaried worker from Toyama Prefecture. When the job is unknown, they refer to players’ brides as “ordinary” — in the sense that they are not celebrities.

Nakashima revealed that the pair had been living together for a year, and that his spouse is a cheerful person with an expansive cooking repertoire.

“I’m on the road a lot, and she takes care of our home, including the cooking,” said Nakashima said, who was famously featured in Episode 1,015 of the Fangraphs podcast “Effectively Wild,” which failed to comment on his marital status.

Buffaloes ace Yamamoto gets do-over

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (1-1) asked for a chance to make up for his poor Opening Day start by going on short rest against the SoftBank Hawks on Thursday and responded with 13 strikeouts in a 2-0 complete-game win.

The right-hander walked one and allowed two singles. After throwing 109 pitches over eight innings, skipper Satoshi Nakajima said he toyed with the idea of pulling his ace but kept him, and Yamamoto answered with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Buffaloes managed just one run off Shota Takeda (0-1) in 6-1/3 innings, opening the scoring on three straight first-inning singles.

Marines secure win-column beachhead

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, the Lotte Marines won for the first time this season, blasting the Rakuten Eagles 16-5 behind four useful innings from rookie Fumiya Motomae (1-0) in his pro debut.

Leonys Martin and Brandon Laird each homered off Yuta Takinaka (0-1), who gave up 10 runs in 1-2/3 innings, while Hisanori Yasuda doubled twice and drove in five runs.

The Eagles came in with a highly-touted top five of Hideaki Wakui, Masahiro Tanaka, rookie Takahisa Hayakawa, Takayuki Kishi and Takahiro Norimoto. But a calf injury to Tanaka forced the Eagles to go to a bullpen day on March 27, a 9-4 beating at the hands of the Nippon Ham Fighters.

At Yokohama Stadium, the DeNA BayStars put Yakult Swallows rookie Taichi Yamano on the rack for seven runs over 1-1/3 innings in his pro debut, and got a refreshingly good performance from their former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki, but remained winless after an 11-11, 4-hour, 20-minute tie.

Scott McGough struck out the heart of the BayStars order in the seventh as one of five Swallows relievers to deliver a scoreless inning as the visitors erased a five-run deficit to leave the series with two wins and a tie.

Yamasaki, who lost his closer job last year and spent the spring with the minor league club, got hit hard the night before despite a good fastball, that was even better on Thursday.

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Yuki Takahashi (1-0) allowed an unearned run on three walks and four hits over seven innings for the Yomiuri Giants in a 3-1 win over the Chunichi Dragons.

Zelous Wheeler continued to produce for the Giants in the No. 2 slot, singling and doubling to open Yomiuri’s three-run sixth with a double off Dragons lefty Takahiro Matsuba (0-1).

Rubby De La Rosa worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save in his season debut.

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hanshin Tigers captain Kento Itohara tripled and scored in the first inning and cracked a three-run home run to power a 6-3 win over the Hiroshima Carp.

Jefry Marte scored Itohara in the first with a sacrifice fly and doubled and scored on a Jerry Sands sac fly in the seventh. Marquee rookie Teruaki Sato followed with a solo homer for the visitors. Tigers starter Takumi Akiyama (1-0) allowed two runs over seven innings.

Hiroshima reliever Robert Corniel struck out two in the ninth in his NPB debut. New Carp Kevin Cron went 1-for-4 with a single.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Kosei Yoshida (-) vs Kota Futaki (0-1, 9.00)

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

Hideaki Wakui (1-0, 0.00) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (-)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shuta Ishikawa (1-0, 1.29) vs Kona Takahashi (1-0, 3.68)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Ryoma Nogami (-) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (0-0, 4.76)

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

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-0, 15.00) vs Daichi Osera (0-0, 2.45)

Tigers vs Dragons: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shintaro Fujinami (0-0, 3.60) vs Koji Fukutani (0-0, 7.20)

Active roster moves 4/1/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/11, except for those marked with an asterisk as coronavirus protocol deactivations. These players can be reactivated as soon as they are declared safe to play.

Central League

Activated

GiantsP47Yuki Takahashi
GiantsIF32Taishi Hirooka
TigersP46Takumi Akiyama
DragonsP38Takahiro Matsuba
BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
CarpP67Yuta Nakamura
SwallowsP21Taichi Yamano
SwallowsIF1Tetsuto Yamada *
SwallowsIF3Naomichi Nishiura *

Dectivated

GiantsP21Shoichi Ino
SwallowsIF5Shingo Kawabata *

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP18Shota Takeda
MarinesP49Fumiya Motomae
EaglesP57Ryota Takinaka
EaglesP64Hiroyuki Fukuyama *

Dectivated

FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa

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NPB wrap 3-26-21

Pacific League

Hideaki Wakui improved to 6-3 on Opening Day in the Rakuten Eagles’ 8-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi on Friday as Nippon Professional Baseball’s two leagues went into action.

Wakui showed unusually good command of his breaking pitches, including a screwball I don’t remember seeing from him. After pitching according to form in the first inning by throwing a four-seam fastball with about half his pitches, the Nippon Ham Fighters went into Andruw “I’m still waiting for my pitch” Jones mode as they kept looking for fastballs that never came and making weak contact on everything else.

Fighters starter Naoyuki Uwasawa surrendered a home run on his first pitch of the game to Ryosuke Tatsumi, and kept the bases pretty much jammed with Eagles runners. He allowed six runs over 4-2/3 innings.

Tanaka out for 3 weeks

After two months of having virtually everything on the field in Japan overshadowed by every scrap of news about Masahiro Tanaka, the news that he will miss three weeks with a soleus muscle calf injury barely made a ripple. Thank goodness for Opening Day.

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Shuta Ishikawa had a typical night, striking out six and walking three while allowing a run over five innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 8-2 win over the Lotte Marines. Ishikawa retired the first nine batters he faced and allowed his one run in a backward Marines sixth inning in which Leonys Martin homered with one out and Lotte left the bases loaded.

Lotte starter Kota Futaki gave up five runs over five-plus innings, with all the runs scoring on home runs by Kenta Imamiya, Ukyo Shuto and Yuki Yanagita.

At MetLife Dome, Kona Takahashi allowed three runs over 7-1/3 to get the better of Yoshinobu Yamamoto in the Seibu Lions’ 4-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes with both right-handers making their first Opening Day starts. Three of the four Seibu runs were unearned, scoring with two outs after errors prolonged the first and third innings.

The wonderful Masataka Yoshida put Orix on the board in the sixth with a homer, Steven Moya doubled for the Buffaloes, and Adam Jones ripped a leadoff single off Tatsushi Masuda to put the tying runner on in the ninth before the righty closed out the game.

The loss was Orix’s Pacific League-worst 10th straight on Opening Day.

And since the PL is going to give them to us, let’s see some of their glove work.

In the Central League

Jerry Sands belted a pair of home runs, the second one, snapping a 3-3 tie and lifting the Hanshin Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium. Sands also singled and walked, while celebrity rookie Teruaki Sato opened the scoring with a sac fly.

Shintaro Fujinami had the kind of day one expects from him now and then. He walked five and gave up five hits but just two runs over five innings. Robert Suarez got the save for the Tigers.

At Tokyo Dome, the Yomiuri Giants got an old-friend sighting they wished they hadn’t but it all worked out thanks to a three-run homer by catcher Takumi Oshiro and a ninth-inning sayonara blast by pinch hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei that won it over the DeNA BayStars 8-7.

Shunta Tanaka, who basically did everything with the Giants except earn Tatsunori Hara’s trust at second base – because I suspect Hara simply doesn’t trust second basemen as a general rule – began his tenure with DeNA by matching his 2020 RBI total, driving in six runs with three hits and a sac fly.

Zelous Wheeler singled in a run in the first, walked and scored in the third, and doubled in a run in the eighth for the Giants.

Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano, who opted to stay in Japan for 2021 rather than sign in the States, surrendered three runs on eight hits and three walks over six innings.

Tanaka’s two-out, two-run single in the ninth off Kota Nakagawa tied it 7-7, but Kazuki Mishima, who was super as the DeNA closer since last summer, surrendered Kamei’s home run on his third pitch of the game.

Had Mishima gotten out of the inning, that would have been the first nine-inning tie this season since the owners decided this week to abandon extra innings in the name of faster games.

Giants BayStars highlights

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Dayan Viciedo capped a five-run eighth inning with a two-run homer as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Hiroshima Carp 7-6. Carp ace Daichi Osera, who opened last season with back-to-back complete games and finished it in surgery, started on Opening Day for the third straight year, but allowed four runs, two earned, over 7-1/3 innings and only threw 87 pitches.

New Carp Kevin Cron singled in his first at-bat and scored but finished 1-for-4.

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NPB 2020 Oct. 20

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Norimoto-Yamamoto duel as advertised

Torai Fushimi hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning off Rakuten Eagles closer Alan Busenitz as the Orix Buffaloes salvaged a 2-2 10-inning tie at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi in which the teams’ two aces delivered.

Fushimi’s home run took Yoshinobu Yamamoto off the hook for the loss after he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out 10 over seven innings.

The Eagles took a 2-1 lead after sixth-inning singles by Ginji Akaminai and rookie Hiroto Kobukata. Akaminai smacked a mistake from Yamamoto through the infield, and Kobukata, one of the few Eagles to get quality swings off the Buffaloes’ ace, smoked a liner to left. Hideto Asamura’s miss-hit ball off the end of his bat just fell for a two-run double.

Right fielder Yuya Oda, who came within a hair of ending the inning on that fly, cut down Asamura for the final out at the plate.

Norimoto pitched out of a couple of early pickles, and was cruising until Steven Moya crushed a curveball for his ninth home run with two outs in the sixth, giving Yamamoto a 1-0 lead. The right-hander allowed five hits and a walk while striking out six over seven innings.

Eagles lefty Yuki Matsui walked two in the eighth but ended the inning by overpowering Moya with a fastball for a swinging strikeout after Orix wasted one out sacrificing in an attempt to tie it on the road.

Fushimi led off the top of the ninth by hammering a straight fastball down the pipe nearly to the Ferris wheel behind the left-field seating for his sixth home run.

Tyler Higgins worked a scoreless ninth for the Buffaloes. Eagles submariner Kazuhisa Makita pitched out of a two-on one-out situation in the 10th before Brandon Dickson sealed the tie in the bottom of the 10th with a 1-2-3 inning.

Hawks blow out Fighters

Shunsuke Kasaya (4-3) threw six scoreless innings, while Yuki Yanagita had four hits and scored three runs, and Yurisbel Gracial and Nobuhiro Matsuda each drove in three as the SoftBank Hawks whipped the Nippon Ham Fighters 11-2 at Sapporo Dome.

The win, combined with the Lotte Marines’ 2-1 loss to the Seibu Lions, increased the Hawks’ Pacific League lead to 6-1/2 games.

Kasaya, who threw five scoreless innings in his previous start, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out eight. The Hawks blasted Fighters right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-6) for seven runs over five innings.

Fighters right-hander Bryan Rodriguez allowed two runs in one inning of relief, marking his season debut after the team said in June he’d had surgery to clean out his left knee.

“He brought something and threw some really good pitches,” manager Hideki Kuriyama said of Rodriguez.

Christian Villanueva also returned to the Fighters lineup for the first time in two weeks and drew a walk in three plate appearances.

Wednesday’s game is going to see Hawks’ ace Kodai Senga take on first-year Fighters import Drew VerHagen.

Lions survive blown Masuda save

The Seibu Lions scored an unearned ninth-inning run to walk off 2-1 winners over the Lotte Marines at MetLife Dome after closer Tatsushi Masuda (4-0) allowed the tying run in the ninth.

Both starting pitchers went seven with Lotte’s Ayumu Ishikawa allowing a run, while Kona Takahashi left with a 1-0 lead.

Lions left fielder Corey Spangenberg helped keep the Marines off the board in the third by robbing Yudai Fujioka of a leadoff single. Marines second baseman Shogo Nakamura did the same in the home half with a good play to defuse a Lions rally.

Shuta Tonosaki broke the scoreless deadlock in the seventh. He singled with one out, went to third on a Kakeru Yamanobe run-and-hit single and scored on Yuji Kaneko’s booming sacrifice fly.

Lions right-hander Kaima Taira worked a scoreless eighth, but Masuda walked a batter and hit one before surrendering a Tatsuhiro Tamura RBI single.

Tonosaki, however, rescued the Lions in the home half when he doubled with two outs against the Marines’ Naoya Masuda (3-3) and scored when Leonys Martin and Nakamura collided in shallow right as Yamanobe’s fly fell untouched.

Swallows walk away with tie

Yomiuri Giants rookie of the year candidate Shosei Togo threw a career-high 134 pitches over six scoreless innings in which he struck out nine and walked six, but had nothing to show for it after three relievers combined to blow the save in the ninth in a 1-1 10-inning with the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Rubby De La Rosa issued a five-pitch leadoff walk and left with two outs and two on after a sacrifice, a single and a strikeout. Lefty Ryusei Oe walked Norichika Aoki on five pitches to load them up and Toyoki Tanaka walked Tetsuto Yamada on four pitches to tie it.

The Giants lead the second-place Chunichi Dragons by 10-1/2 games and their magic number to clinch their second-straight Central League championship is seven.

Dragons 6, BayStars 1

Koji Fukutani (7-2) allowed one run over six innings, and the Chunichi Dragons cashed in three of their six sixth-inning base runners to come from behind in a 6-1 win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome.

Fukutani allowed three hits, including Tyler Austin’s first-inning home run, and a walk, while striking out seven. Hiroto Fuku and Daisuke Sobue closed it out with one scoreless inning apiece for the Dragons. Dayan Viciedo went 3-for-5 with a double, a run, and two RBIs, while Toshiki Abe also had three hits, scored twice and drove in two.

Spencer Patton struck out three in the eighth for the BayStars, but allowed a run on an Abe double and a one-out Viciedo single.

Kuri holds off Tigers

Allen Kuri (7-5), who retired the first 14 batters he faced, allowed a run over 8-1/3 innings while the Carp scored four times in the third inning against Onelki Garcia (2-6), who was pitching for the first time in a month, in a 5-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium.

Kuri, who has allowed one run in each of his last three starts, gave up three of his four hits in the ninth inning, when Geronimo Franzua came in to record his 15th save.

Former Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa, who announced that this will be his last season, took the mound for the first time since Aug. 10 and worked a scoreless sixth inning.

Active roster moves 10/20/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/30

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
TigersP77Onelki Garcia
SwallowsP48Yuto Kanakubo

Dectivated

TigersP49Joe Gunkel
SwallowsP61Takuma Kubo

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP62Shoji Nagano
MarinesIF4Yudai Fujioka
MarinesOF0Takashi Ogino
FightersP40Suguru Fukuda
FightersP41Bryan Rodriguez
FightersIF44Christian Villanueva
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Oct. 21, 2020

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (7-5, 3.47) vs Kodai Senga (8-6, 2.65)

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

Hideaki Wakui (11-3, 2.95) vs Tsubasa Sakakibara (1-2, 4.13)

Lions vs Marines: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Hamaya (2-2, 6.19) vs Wei-Yin Chen (0-1, 3.00)

Central League

Swallows vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masanori Ishikawa (1-7, 4.92) vs Yuki Takahashi (1-0, 2.35)

Dragons vs BayStars: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Akiyoshi Katsuno (4-4, 3.70) vs Yuya Sakamoto (4-1, 5.24)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (6-8, 4.08) vs Atsushi Endo (3-5, 4.45)

NPB 2020 OCT. 13

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Kuri holds off Giants

Allen Kuri escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam on a questionable called third strike against Zelous Wheeler and allowed a run over eight innings in the Hiroshima Carp’s 4-3 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome on Tuesday.

Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano (13-1) took the loss as he failed to set a record by winning his 14th straight decision to start the season.

Kuri (6-5) allowed six hits, four with one out in the sixth, and one walk while striking out five. For the second straight start, Sugan struggled with his command. He allowed four runs, three earned, over six innings. He gave up seven hits, walked two, and struck out five.

Ryuhei Matsuyama doubled and scored the game’s first run in the second, and singled Hiroshima’s second run, in the Carp’s three-run sixth.

Yoshihiro Maru and Wheeler hit back-to-back homers to open the ninth against closer Geronimo Franzua, who notched his 14th save.

In his postgame hero interview, the interviewer, supplied by the Giants asked Kuri about his game and included his thoughts about his opponent’s winning streak.

  • Q: You were aware of Sugano and his record weren’t you?
  • Kuri: “I approach games with a challenger’s mentality, and really only focus on one batter at a time.”
  • Q: It must have been a big thing for you and for your team to end Sugano’s record win streak, wasn’t it?
  • Kuri: “I really wasn’t aware of his record, and so I wasn’t really conscious of it. Thinking about it afterward, I’m glad we won.”

Giants-Carp highlights

Kyoda ignites Dragons’ fire

No. 2 hitter Yota Kyoda doubled, walked and singled to ignite three run-scoring innings as Zoilo Almonte and Dayan Viciedo drove in two runs apiece in the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.

Tigers cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama took over the CL home run lead with a two-run blast in the first off Akiyoshi Katsuno (4-4), but the Dragons tied it in the home half against tough lefty Haruto Takahashi (4-4).

Viciedo doubled in the tying run in the first and Almonte doubled in the go-ahead run in the third. Viciedo’s second RBI double made it 4-2 in the fifth.

Daisuke Sobue faced Oyama with two outs and the tying runs on base in the eighth but struck him out to end the inning, and Raidel Martinez recorded his 19th save.

BayStars wallop Swallows

The DeNA BayStars responded to another article ripping manager Alex Ramirez with a three-home run game in an 8-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Tyler Austin doubled off the wall and scored in the sixth against Swallows starter Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-5) on Keita Sano’s 17th home run. Toshiro Miyazaki hit his 14th for the BayStars and Yamato Maeda his third.

Shinichi Onuki (9-4) allowed a run over six innings. He allowed five hits and struck out eight without a walk.

Kasaya outduels Yamamoto

Unheralded lefty Shunsuke Kasaya (3-3) allowed a hit and two walks over five scoreless innings, allowing the SoftBank Hawks to scrape out a 2-0 win against the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (8-4) allowed one run on five hits and two walks over eight innings while striking out seven. No. 9 hitter Hikaru Kawase and light-hitting leadoff man Ukyo Shuto put good swings on a pair of straight fastballs in the third inning to account for the Hawks’ first run.

Rei Takahashi, Sho Iwasaki, Livan Moinelo and Yuito Mori each worked one scoreless inning to close it out.

Marines battle back

Shuhei Fukuda opened the game with a big play in center field and singled with one out in the ninth and scored the winning run to end it as Seiya Inoue doubled him home to lift the Lotte Marines to a 4-3 walk-off win over the Rakuten Eagles at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Eagles ace Takahiro Norimoto allowed two runs over seven innings, but Kazuhisa Makita let in the tying run in the eighth and closer Alan Busenitz (1-2) took the loss in the ninth.

The Eagles took a one-run lead in the first when Daichi Suzuki homered off starter Ayumu Ishikawa after Fukuda made a diving catch in the gap to rob rookie Hiroto Kobukata of a leadoff hit.

Takahashi, Garrett blank Fighters

Kona Takahashi allowed three walks and four hits over eight innings and Reed Garrett completed the five-hit shutout as the Seibu Lions scored early and often in a 7-0 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

Takahashi improved to 7-8, while Fighters starter Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-5) allowed five runs over six innings.

Active roster moves 10/13/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/23

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF00Daiki Yoshikawa
GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki

Dectivated

GiantsIF0Daiki Masuda
GiantsOF88Gerardo Parra

Pacific League

Activated

HawksC62Takashi Umino
MarinesOF10Shohei Kato

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Oct. 14, 2020

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (6-5, 3.78) vs Shota Hamaya (2-1, 5.97)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Chen Wei-yin (-) vs Hideaki Wakui (10-3, 3.06)

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

Sachiya Yamasaki (4-4, 4.98) vs Kodai Senga (7-6, 2.82)

Central League

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

Yuki Takahashi (0-0, 3.38) vs Atsushi Endo (3-4, 4.29)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masanori Ishikawa (1-6, 4.55) vs Yuya Sakamoto (3-1, 5.83)

Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yudai Ono (8-5, 2.07) vs Koyo Aoyagi (6-7, 4.10)

NPB 2020 Oct. 7

Wednesday’s games

Other news

Dragons 4, Swallows 1: Ono CG a no go

In an era when complete games are rare, the news on Wednesday was that Yudai Ono didn’t throw one. For the first time this season, the lefty won a game without going the distance, laboring through six shutout innings in the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Nagoya Dome.

Ono (8-5), announced as the Central League’s pitcher of the month for September earlier in the day, lacked the pin-point command that his been his calling card for much of the season. The Swallows loaded the bases with one out in the first, and he needed 26 pitches in the inning to keep them off the board.

“When I got to 26 pitches I knew at that point that it was going to be tough to finish up tonight,” said Ono, who handed a lead over to the Dragons bullpen for the second time this season.

On July 24, he left with a 2-1 lead at home after throwing 103 pitches over five innings, and the bullpen surrendered four runs in a 5-2 loss to the Dragons that left him 0-3 on the season. He then took things out of his relievers’ hands with five straight complete game victories followed by a complete game defeat.

“His pitching was all you could expect of an ace,” Dragons manager Tsuyoshi Yoda said.

Forty-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (1-6) also pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first but surrendered two runs on three third-inning singles by the Dragons import trio of Zoilo Almonte, Dayan Viciedo and Moises Sierra.

Almonte, who had three hits, homered in the seventh, and Tetsuto Yamada hit his 12th homer of the season in the eighth for the Swallows.

Dragons closer Raidel Martinez struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 17th save.

BayStars 6, Giants 3: Lopez strikes back

Jose Lopez broke a 2-2 tie with his second two-run home run in two nights at Tokyo Dome in the DeNA BayStars’ 6-3 win over the Yomiuri Giants.

Neftali Soto followed with his 19th homer. Shingo Hirata (1-0), the team’s second draft pick in 2013, allowed two runs for the BayStars over five innings to earn his first career win.

Lefties Edwin Escobar and Kenta Ishida pitched the seventh and eighth for the visitors, and Kazuki Mishima worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 12th save.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Carp 9, Tigers 3

Tsubasa Aizawa’s two-run fifth-inning double brought the Hiroshima Carp from a run down in their 9-3 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Lions 4, Hawks 3

Takumi Kuriyama’s second RBI single tied it 3-3 in the seventh inning before the Seibu Lions took the lead against the SoftBank Hawks in a 4-3 win at MetLife Dome.

Eighth-inning doubles by Hotaka Yamakawa and Fumikazu Kimura off Livan Moinelo (1-2) completed the comeback.

The Hawks opened the scoring in the first inning on Yuki Yanagita’s 26th home run. Yanagita walked twice and singled and scored twice. Ernesto Mejia opened the Lions’ sixth with his 11th home run to make it a one-run game.

Marines 4, Buffaloes 1

Seiya Inoue hit a three-run first-inning homer off Andrew Albers (3-7) and Kazuya Ojima (7-6) allowed an unearned run over six innings as the Lotte Marines beat the Orix Buffaloes 4-1 at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The win was the Marines’ first since they switched out 11 members of the active roster on Tuesday and another on Wednesday due to a spate infections within the club.

The win moved the Marines to within one win of the Pacific League-leading Hawks.

Eagles 2, Fighters 2

Nippon Ham Fighters starter Drew VerHagen and Rakuten Eagles right-hander Hideaki Wakui each went six innings as their teams finished in a 2-2, 10-inning tie at Sapporo Dome.

Both pitchers juggled runners on base, with VerHagen allowing a run on five hits and four walks, and Wakui two runs on six walks and six hits.

The visitors tied it in the seventh on Hideto Asamura’s second RBI single of the game.

mvp

Dragons’ Ono a surprise winner

September’s monthly award winners were named on Wednesday, with Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono the Central League’s pitcher of the month despite his having lost two games.

Ono, who went 3-2, was joined by CL player (read “hitter”) of the month Takayuki Kajitani of the DeNA BayStars, and the PL’s honorees, Rakuten Eagles second baseman Hideto Asamura and Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Ono did everything except post a good win-loss record. His three wins were all two-hit shutouts, and that struck a chord with whoever it is who makes the selections, something unheard of in recent years.

I don’t think we should ignore wins, but if you did, it would be hard to see that any CL pitcher had a month in Ono’s league. Ono led the league in strikeouts, led the league in innings. His strikeout total of 42 was twice his combined hits and walks allowed.

The trouble over the past 15 years or so that I’ve been paying attention to these things is that they used to start with wins and pretty much ended there.

For years, my pitcher of the month search started by finding pitchers with three-plus wins with no more than one loss and an ERA under 3.50. If nobody qualified, then go through the relievers and see who didn’t allow a run, while getting eight or nine saves or holds. One month, Shohei Ohtani didn’t win despite going 2-0 with a 0.27 ERA in four starts with over 30 strikeouts.

I was surprised to find, however, that such wasn’t always the case. In June 2000 for example, the CL pitching honor went to Nate Minchey, after going 3-3 with a 2.02 ERA, when other candidates went 3-0 and 3-1 with worse ERAs.

Minchey also had a kicker in that we threw four of his starts on four-days rest, something not unheard of like it is now, but uncommon. The other two were on five days.

To get back to Ono, the award blurb mentioned that he was the first pitcher to throw three shutouts while allowing two or fewer hits in each since Hall of Famer Jiro Noguchi in October 1943.

Lotte OF Oka added to watch list

The Lotte Marines on Wednesday deactivated outfielder Hiromi Oka after determining that he too had been in close contact with pitcher Daiki Iwashita, the first player to test positive in the Pacific League team’s novel coronavirus cluster.

The Marines deactivated 11 players on Tuesday, seven who had tested positive and another four who had been in close contact with Iwashita on Friday’s flight back from Hokkaido, where they had traveled for a three-game series with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Iwashita is so far the only player to exhibit any symptoms. He was tested Saturday night after falling ill and developing a fever.

Active roster moves 10/7/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/17

Central League

Activated

BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto

Dectivated

BayStarsIF38Koki Yamashita

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesOF61Kazuma Mike
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Dectivated

MarinesOF25Hiromi Oka
FightersP31Toru Murata

Starting pitchers for Oct. 7, 2020

Pacific League

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

Nick Martinez (1-5, 4.23) vs Takayuki Kishi (2-0, 5.53)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 5.70) vs Shuta Ishikawa (7-3, 2.37)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takuro Furuya (-) vs Daiki Tajima (3-4, 3.72)

Central League

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

Angel Sanchez (6-3, 2.97) vs Shoichi Ino (6-5, 3.68)

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

Yusuke Nomura (6-2, 3.82) vs Yuki Nishi (8-4, 2.25)