Tag Archives: Yudai Ono

NPB 2020 Oct. 22

Thursday’s games

Other news

Ono hurls 6th shutout, scoreless streak at 45

Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono (10-5) went the distance for the 10th time on Thursday to win a 1-0 nail-biting Central League win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome.

Ono allowed six hits but no walks while striking out six. He also started two double plays, made a slick behind-the-back catch for the second out of the ninth inning and notched a big strikeout to end the eighth inning after the BayStars put two runners in scoring position.

Ono’s behind-the-back catch.

After winning a tough battle to strike out pinch-hitter Taishi Kusumoto with his 111th pitch, the extraordinarily cool Ono slapped his glove and pumped his fist as he returned to the dugout.

Ono ends the 8th inning with some emotion.

The Dragons loaded the bases with no outs in the first against BayStars starter Kentaro Taira (3-5) but only managed to score on a Dayan Viciedo sacrifice fly.

Taira allowed four hits and a walk while striking out six over seven innings. Edwin Escobar worked a scoreless ninth for the BayStars.

Okamoto powers Giants past Swallows

Yomiuri Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto homered and drove in three runs while Angel Sanchez (8-3) and three relievers combined on a four-hit 6-0 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Swallows rookie Daiki Yoshida (2-7) took the loss, allowing four runs in two-plus innings. He walked in the game’s first run with a bases-loaded walk to Zelous Wheeler.

Kazuma Okamoto’s home run

Carp’s Yabuta ends victory drought

Kazuki Yabuta (1-2) allowed two runs over six innings to earn his first win in two seasons, and Jose Pirela put the game on ice with his 11th home run, a three-run shot in the ninth as the Hiroshima Carp beat the Hanshin Tigers 9-5 at Koshien Stadium.

Pirela was walked intentionally in the Carp’s two-run first and also doubled and singled. Fumiya Haraguchi hit a three-run pinch-hit homer for the Tigers to make it a 6-5 game in the sixth.

Moore pitches Hawks to 11th straight win

Matt Moore (6-3) struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings to outpitch 19-year-old rookie Kosei Yoshida (0-1) in a 4-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

The win was the Hawks’ 11th straight as the three-time defending Japan Series champs drive toward their first Pacific League pennant in three years. The win, and the Marines’ loss, dropped SoftBank’s magic number to clinch to six.

Yoshida, the standout pitching star of the 2018 national high school championships at Koshien, was the Fighters’ second pick that year. He went 1-3 in four starts last season. On Thursday, he allowed four runs, two earned, in six innings.

Hawks closer Yuito Mori, pitching for the first time in nine days—when the Hawks last had a save opportunity to give him—allowed Sho Nakata’s 30th home run with one out before earning his 28th save with the potential tying runs on base.

Neal, Spangenberg, Tonosaki hold off Marines

Zach Neal (5-7) allowed a run in five innings, and was backed by a two-run Corey Spangenberg home run and a three-run Shuta Tonosaki blast in the Seibu Lions’ 7-4 win over the Lotte Marines at MetLife Dome.

Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima (7-8) allowed six runs over five innings. The Marines came back in a three-run sixth against Reed Garrett, but Tetsu Miyagawa, Ryosuke Moriwaki and Kaima Taira finished up with one scoreless inning apiece. After a couple of shaky outings, regular closer Tatsushi Masuda was given a breather as the rookie Taira earned his first save of the season and the second of his career.

Ernesto Mejia doubled to lead off the eighth to set up a Lions insurance run. In addition to his home run, Sotozaki singled, doubled, was hit by a pitch and contributed to the Marines’ tying the game 1-1 with an error in the outfield.

Romero blasts Buffaloes

Stefen Romero homered twice walked and drove in four runs as the veteran right-hander Takayuki Kishi (5-0) overcame a three-run Adam Jones home run in the Rakuten Eagles’ 6-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Romero’s 22nd home run, a three-run shot off lefty Daiki Tajima (4-6) made it 5-0 in the fifth innings. Adam Jones went deep off Kishi with his 12th homer in the top of the sixth. Romero hit his 23rd in the eighth off Yu Suzuki to complete the scoring.

Nomi joins Fukudome inTigers checkout line

Hanshin Tigers lefty Atsushi Nomi, who was for many years the ace of the iconic Central League club, revealed Thursday that the Tigers do not expect to keep him for next season, Sponichi Annex reported.

The 41-year-old, who in 2004 selected the Tigers when he turned pro the following year out of corporate league club Osaka Gas, has a career record of 103-94. Since 2018, he has been working out of the Tigers bullpen.

In a comment released by the club, Nomi said, “It is true I’ve spoken with the team about the future, but I won’t be the one to repeat the content of that discussion.”

“The one thing I want to say to all the fans is that this year will be last to play before everyone wearing a Tigers uniform.”

The news came a day after sources revealed that Japan’s oldest player, 43-year-old outfielder Kosuke Fukudome was told this week that he is surplus to the team’s needs next year.

Bour, Martin deactivated

Hanshin Tigers first baseman Justin Bour was deactivated on Thursday, as was outfielder Leonys Martin of the Pacific League’s Lotte Marines.

Martin sprained his left ankle running to first base in Wednesday’s game against the Seibu Lions and was unable to leave the field without assistance. The right fielder, who joined the club in the summer of 2019, has 25 home runs this season.

Bour’s deactivation is his first since he joined the Tigers over the winter. He took part in Thursday’s pregame practice as usual.

Active roster moves 10/22/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/1

Central League

Activated

BayStarsOF61Tatsuo Ebina
CarpP23Kazuki Yabuta
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga

Dectivated

BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
TigersIF41Justin Bour
CarpP58Reira Fujii
CarpOF38Koki Ugusa
SwallowsC30Akihisa Nishida

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesOF25Hiromi Oka
MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano
FightersP18Kosei Yoshida

Dectivated

EaglesP43Sung Chia-hao
MarinesIF68Kenji Nishimaki
MarinesOF79Leonys Martin

Starting pitchers for Oct. 22, 2020

Pacific League

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

Yuya Fukui (0-4, 5.26) vs Nick Martinez (2-6, 4.57)

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

Taisuke Yamaoka (2-5, 2.78) vs Kota Futaki (7-2, 3.07)

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

Shuta Ishikawa (8-3, 2.63) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 5.50)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (3-2, 3.45) vs Yuki Nishi (10-4, 2.05)

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

Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-2, 4.70) vs Yariel Rodriguez (3-4, 4.23)

BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masaya Kyoyama (1-1, 6.50) vs Hiroki Tokoda (3-7, 5.77)

NPB 2020 Oct. 14

Wednesday’s games

Other news

Ono hangs on for 5th shutout

Yudai Ono (9-5) returned to his complete-game victory fixation on Wednesday with his fifth shutout of the season as the lefty pitched out of a ninth-inning jam in the Chunichi Dragons’ 3-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.

The win lifted the Dragons into second place in the Central League at two games above .500 despite being outscored this season 396 to 356. Second place is largely symbolic as the Yomiuri Giants run away with the pennant and no possibility of advancing to the Japan Series since the CL has canceled its playoffs this year.

Ono struck out seven and walked one. He allowed two-out singles to Yusuke Oyama and Justin Bour in the ninth.

Tigers submarine right-hander Koyo Aoyagi (6-8) allowed three runs over seven innings to take the loss. Dayan Viciedo singled and scored in the second for the Dragons, and Zoilo Almonte singled in a run in the third.

Ono has now worked 36 consecutive scoreless innings. The Japan record is 64-1/3 by Hall of Famer Masaichi Kaneda, who accomplished the feat in 1958 with the Kokutetsu Swallows.

The lefty’s nine complete games are the most in Japan since Tomoyuki Sugano had 10 in 2018, when he won his second consecutive Sawamura Award, although eight of those were shutouts, which may be hard for Ono to match in this shortened season.

Masahiro Tanaka was the last pitcher in Japan with more than 10 complete games, when he had 14 in 2011.

Yudai Ono seals his shutout with a nice play from the mound.

Giants trim magic number to 9

Yuki Takahashi (1-0) allowed a run over five innings and tripled in the tie-breaking run in the second as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Hiroshima Carp 6-1 at Tokyo Dome.

Although the outfield was playing the pitcher shallow, Takahashi got some distance on his drive to the gap.

The win, combined with the Tigers’ loss, dropped the Giants’ magic number to clinch the pennant to nine.

Giants-Carp highlights

BayStars bash Swallows

The DeNA BayStars bashed out nine runs over the first six innings and then had to call on closer Kazuki Mishima after Naomichi Nishiura’s second homer of the game made it close in the eighth inning of their 9-6 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

BayStars starter Yuya Sakamoto (4-1) held the Swallows to a run over five innings, while 40-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (1-7) allowed five runs over five. Mishima earned his 14th save.

Tyler Austin had three hits and two RBIs for the visitors, while Neftali Soto scored twice. Toshiro Miyazaki drove in three runs on three singles and Keita Sano homered for the third straight game.

Wakui outpitches Chen

Chen Wei-yin’s return to Japanese pro ball was impressive until a belt-high center-cut fastball to Hideto Asamura put the Rakuten Eagles in front in their 4-1 win over Chen’s new team, the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Hideaki Wakui (11-3) appeared to lose his footing on the mound on his first pitch, a 143-kph fastball down the middle to rookie Kyota Fujiwara who looked like he was geared up for a first-pitch fastball because he really hammered it for his first career home run.

Asamura singled and scored the tying run in the fourth on a Stefen Romero sacrifice fly and blasted his 31st home run in the sixth, driving it well back in the left-field stands for a 2-1 lead.

Chen allowed two runs over six innings, while Wakui went seven. Lefty Yuki Matsui worked a scoreless eighth and Alan Busenitz did the same in the ninth for his 18th save.

Senga strikes out 10

SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (8-6) struck out 10 over six innings to earn the win in a 4-0 victory over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome that was scoreless through six innings.

Lefty Sachiya Yamasaki (4-5) surrendered a leadoff double to Ryoya Kurihara in the seventh. He scored on a wild pitch, and three two-out walks loaded the bases for Yuki Yanagita, who delivered a three-run double.

It was the Buffaloes’ second straight shutout loss. The win lifted SoftBank three games clear of the second-place Marines.

VerHagen shuts down Lions

Drew VerHagen (7-5) struck out 10 over eight scoreless innings as the Nippon Ham Fighters took advantage of nine walks in a 7-2 win over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome.

VerHagen allowed three hits and walked two to earn his first winsince he last threw eight shutout innings to beat the Rakuten Eagles on Sept. 14.

Taishi Ota hit a two-run first-inning home run off rookie Shota Hamaya (2-2).

Active roster moves 10/14/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/24

Central League

Activated

TigersIF33Kento Itohara
TigersOF32Kota Inoue

Dectivated

TigersP29Haruto Takahashi
TigersIF2Fumiya Hojo
TigersOF9Shun Takayama

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP58Chen Wei-yin
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki
BuffaloesIF0Shoki Katsumata

Dectivated

MarinesP41Kakeru Narita
BuffaloesOF99Yutaro Sugimoto

Starting pitchers for Oct. 15, 2020

Pacific League

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

Nick Martinez (1-6, 4.58) vs Zach Neal (4-6, 4.78)

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

Kazuya Ojima (7-6, 3.28) vs Takayuki Kishi (3-0, 4.72)

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

Daiki Tajima (4-4, 3.67) vs Shuta Ishikawa (7-3, 2.58)

Central League

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

Angel Sanchez (7-3, 2.92) vs Yusuke Nomura (6-3, 4.59)

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

Daiki Yoshida (1-6, 5.01) vs Kentaro Taira (3-3, 2.57)

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

Takahiro Matsuba (3-6, 3.92) vs Minoru Iwata (1-1, 4.41)

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)

NPB 2020 Sept. 30

Other news

Ono throws 4th shutout

Yudai Ono (7-5) threw his second straight shutout, allowing two hits and no walks, while reaching base twice and driving in two runs in the Chunichi Dragons’ 9-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium on Wednesday.

Ono pounded the zone with his fastball kept the Tigers off balance with a two-seamer that sank and tailed away from the right-handed hitters. He didn’t get to three balls on a batter until the ninth inning. It was his first win at Koshien in

“I was able to pitch like this because the fielders made the plays they did,” Ono said.

“For the most part I’ve been able to challenge hitters in the zone, keep my pitch count from getting up around 120 or 130. Working in the zone allows me to do it (complete games).”

The win at Koshien was Ono’s first in five years and his first at an outdoor park in three.

Ono said he didn’t used to like the Koshien mound, which was notorious for being soft and low. But, like the mounds in Hiroshima, Tokyo Dome and Nagoya Dome, Koshien’s mound has been built using harder American clay bricks since last year, making it more uniform.

“The mound here didn’t use to be very good, although I didn’t have a particularly bad feeling about it,” Ono said. “I did think about that fact, and I wanted to end that streak. The team also hadn’t won here this year.”

Ono singled in the second with two outs, a flare that fell just beyond center fielder Koji Chikamoto. With two on in the fifth, he hit another little fly to center, and Chikamoto went all out to get it and missed. The ball rolled toward the fence for a two-run triple.

Veteran Ishikawa earns 1st win

Forty-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (1- ) allowed a run over 5-2/3 innings and Munetaka Murakami belted his 19th home run, a three-run third-inning shot off Taiga Kamichatani (2-2) in the Yakult Swallows’ 5-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium. Taichi Ishiyama recorded his 14th save.

Kamichatani allowed five runs over three innings.

Nomura snaps Carp losing streak

Yusuke Nomura (6-2) tossed five scoreless innings despite allowing base runners in every inning, and Seiya Suzuki blasted a two-run home run as the Hiroshima Carp ended a four-game losing streak to the Yomiuri Giants with a 4-1 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

The Carp scored opened the scoring in the fifth inning against Kazuto Taguchi (5-4). One run scored when the pitcher was unable to start an inning-ending double play, and Seiya Suzuki reached the seats with a two-run home run two pitches later.

Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto hit his league-leading 24th home run.

Ojima outduels VerHagen

The Lotte Marines moved to within winning-percentage points of first place with a 2-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome. Kazuya Ojima (6-6) throwing six scoreless innings to outduel Drew VerHagen (6-5).

Shuhei Fukuda singled in the first, stole second and broke the ice on a Leonys Martin single. Tsuyoshi Sugano doubled to open the seventh, was sacrificed to third and scored on a Yudai Fujioka squeeze.              

Yuki Karakawa worked a scoreless seventh for the visitors, but Hirokazu Sawamura allowed a run on two hits and a walk in the eighth. Naoya Masuda took out the bottom of the order in the ninth to record his Japan-best 26th save.

Wakui wins 10th as Takeda implodes

Hidaki Wakui (10-3) went eight innings, while the Rakuten Eagles took batting practice against SoftBank Hawks right-hander Shota Takeda, who lost control and surrendered seven runs in one-plus inning, the briefest start of his career, in a 9-3 win at Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park Miyagi.

Masui turns back the clock

Hirotoshi Masui (1-2) rocked his starting assignment like it was 2016, throwing six scoreless innings as the Orix Buffaloes shut out the Seibu Lions for the second straight day, 5-0 at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

In 2016, Masui was dropped from his role as the Nippon Ham Fighters’ closer and resurrected that summer as an effective starter in a patchwork rotation while Shohei Ohtani recovered from blisters that limited him to an offensive role. Masui earned his first win as a starter since 2016, despite issuing five walks.

The Buffaloes finished September with a1 13-11-2 record.

Aacting manager, Satoshi Nakajima said, “I think we’re doing well by not thinking beyond the game in front of us.”

“We didn’t start the season well, but we seem to have rallied. I want to win and build some momentum.”

Lions rookie Shota Hamaya (2-1) settled down after allowing two runs in the second and two more in the third, which Adam Jones capped with his 11th home run.

“We are not hitting that badly, but when you get shut out two days in a row, I think guys are trying to do much, trying too hard and perhaps getting a little too tight,” Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji said.

Tigers approach viral cluster status

A member of the Hanshin Tigers’ first-team staff has tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. It is the ninth member of the organization to test positive over the past week.

The Japanese government defines any body where 10 infections occur to be a cluster. So far five players and four staff members have tested positive.

The staff member who tested positive on Tuesday did not travel with the team to Tokyo last week, and is now resting at home. On Wednesday, he reported a fever of 37.5 C.

Leonys Martin blasted another long home run, his 24th, with two outs in the ninth off Ryo Akiyoshi to score an insurance run that came in handy after Marine closer Naoya Masuda surrendered a run in the home half on three singles.

Tigers add 2 lefties from “D” roster

The Hansin Tigers signed two players from the developmental roster on Wednesday, the deadline for making non-waiver roster additions. The two were 26-year-old lefty Yuya Yokoyama, the Tigers’ injury plagued 2014 top draft pick, and 25-year-old southpaw Masaki Ishii, whom they took in the first round of the 2017 developmental draft.

Yokoyama is 2-2 in 13 Western League games this season, having allowed five home runs and 19 walks over 47 innings while striking out 22.

Ishii has struck out 10 batters in 17 innings, while walking seven. He has not allowed a home run.

Active roster moves 9/30/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/10

Central League

Activated

TigersC44Ryutaro Umeno
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga

Dectivated

TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
SwallowsC32Naoki Matsumoto

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesOF51Yuya Ogo
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui
BuffaloesOF41Kodai Sano

Dectivated

EaglesIF5Eigoro Mogi
BuffaloesOF25Ryo Nishimura

Starting pitchers for Oct. 1, 2020

Pacific League

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

Toshihiro Sugiura (5-3, 2.95) vs Daiki Iwashita (5-6, 4.58)

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

Takayuki Kishi (2-0, 7.06) vs Shuta Ishikawa (6-3, 2.44)

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

Daiki Tajima (3-4, 3.57) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 5.74)

Central League

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

Yuta Muto (0-0, 5.75) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (0-1, 8.59)

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

Minoru Iwata (0-0, 5.40) vs Yariel Rodriguez (2-2, 3.77)

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

Tayler Scott (0-2, 22.50) vs Angel Sanchez (5-3, 3.02)

NPB 2020 Sept. 22

Asamura barrage routs Marines

Hideto Asamura homered three times, walked, hit an RBI single and drove in seven to power the Rakuten Eagles to 12-4 come-from behind win over the Lotte Marines at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Asamura homered to lead off the Eagles’ third against Ayumu Ishikawa (6-3) and trim Lotte’s lead to a run. Daichi Suzuki’s RBI single tied it in the fifth, and Asamura followed with a two-run shot.

His RBI single opened the scoring in the Eagles’ three-run seventh, and his three-run shot in the eighth capped the scoring.

Johnson gets Sendai hero’s welcome

One day after he was acquired by the Eagles K.J. “Bearded Thunder” Johnson walked off the mound after one inning of relief to the kind of reception teammates normally reserve for pitchers throwing complete-game victories.

Perhaps, the Eagles players knew something the rest of us didn’t. Johnson (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 fifth to keep the game tied and ended up the winning pitcher one day after he moved over from the Central League’s Hiroshima Carp on a cash deal.

The last three Eagles relievers kept the Marines off the board as the game turned into a rout. Kazuhisa Makita worked a scoreless seventh. Journeyman right-hander Hiroaki Fukuyama, signed from the developmental roster following his release last winter, worked a scoreless eighth to protect a four-run lead.

Yamamoto beats Senga in 4th matchup

In a pitchers’ duel worthy of the hype Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (6-3) beat SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (6-5) 1-0 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The only run came, fittingly on a home run by the Buffaloes’ best hitter, Masataka Yoshida in the second inning. Senga allowed five hits without a walk while striking out nine over eight innings.

Yoshida, who now has 12 homers, had three of the Buffaloes’ six hits in the game.

Yamamoto allowed three singles and two walks over seven innings and struck out seven. Tyler Higgins got out of a tight spot in the eighth after a leadoff double and a sacrifice put the tying run at third with one out. Pinch-hitter Keizo Kawashima lined out to first and pinch-runner Taisei Makihara was doubled off third to end the inning.

Closer Brandon Dickson retired the heart of the Hawks order–thanks to a nice catch by shortstop Ryoichi Adachi to rob Akira Nakamura of a hit — and earn his 10th save.

Uwasawa tames Lions

Two inning-ending double plays helped Naoyuki Uwasawa (7-3) hold the Seibu Lions to a run over seven innings in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 5-1 win at MetLife Dome.

Uwasawa scattered six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Sho Nakata hit a two-run first-inning homer off Kona Takahashi (5-7) and Fighters catcher Yushi Shimizu, who helped give away a Fighters victory on Sunday, hit a two-run home run in the second.

Ono throws 3rd shutout, 7th complete game

Yudai Ono (6-5) responded to the end of his complete-game streak last week by starting another, striking out 11 in a two-hitter as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Yakult Swallows 3-0 at Nagoya Dome.

In his previous start, the lefty got the hook after allowing four runs over four innings. He allowed a two-out singled and a walk in the first, and a two-out single in the second before retiring the last 22 batters he face in a 122-pitch effort.

Forty-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (0-5) hung in for six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. Matt Koch, pitching for the first time since Aug. 29, allowed a run in the seventh, before Scott McGough finished up for the visitors.

For the second day in a row, Zoilo Almonte drove in Chunichi’s first run with a home run, making it 1-0 in the fourth.

Itoi wrecks BayStars

Yoshio Itoi swung a hot bat for the second straight day with three hits and three RBIs to lead the Hanshin Tigers to a 6-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Koshien Stadium on Tuesday.

Although the 39-year-old’s power numbers dropped off precipitously last season, he continues to walk a lot and rarely strike out, so even when he’s batting an unusually low .256, he has an on-base percentage over .360. His two-run double broke a 3-3 eighth-inning tie when both teams were trying their best to play for one-run and failed.

After a leadoff single, Koji Chikamoto, who had homered and singled so far, sacrificed. Normally reliable lefty Kenta Ishida (1-2) failed to get the force at second. The ensuing sacrifice put runners on second and third. With the BayStars outfield pulled in, Itoi easily found the gap for a two-run double.

Tigers starter Haruto Takahashi allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out eight over six innings. He pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth after Austin’s home run, and the BayStars managed just two infield singles over the final four innings.

Giants walk off against Carp

Geronimo Franzua (2-3) allowed the winning run to score in the ninth on two singles and an errant pickoff throw as the Yomiuri Giants took a 5-4 see-saw game against the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo Dome.

Giants starter Tomoyuki Sugano’s streak for consecutive winning decisions from Opening Day remained at 11 after he allowed three runs over eight innings.

Hisayoshi Chono, taken by the Carp last year from Yomiuri as free agent compensation for the Giants signing two-time Central League MVP Yoshihiro Maru, belted a three-run homer in the fourth off his former teammate.

Giants cleanup hitter, Kazuma Okamoto, however, put the hosts ahead 4-3 in the fifth with his 22nd home run.

Giants closer Rubby De La Rosa (2-0) allowed the Carp to tie it. A leadoff single set the table and Ryuhei Matsuyama singled home pinch-runner Kaisei Sone, who had been running with the pitch.

A leadoff single and a wild two-out pickoff throw by Franzua in the bottom of the inning set the table for Naoki Yoshikawa to win it with a single.

Active roster moves 9/22/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/2

Central League

Activated

GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
TigersP61Atsushi Mochizuki
SwallowsP33Matt Koch
SwallowsIF46Kengo Ota

Dectivated

GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
TigersP21Minoru Iwata
SwallowsP20Kazuki Kondo
SwallowsP68Hirofumi Yamanaka

Pacific League

Activated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura
EaglesP42DJ Johnson
EaglesP64Hiroyuki Fukuyama
MarinesC39Yuta Yoshida
FightersP39Ryo Akiyoshi

Dectivated

FightersP47Kenya Suzuki

Starting pitchers for Sept. 22, 2020

Pacific League

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

Hideaki Wakui (8-3, 3.07) vs Kazuya Ojima (5-6, 3.66)

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

Shota Hamaya (1-0, 6.14) vs Drew VerHagen (6-3, 3.69)

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

Shota Takeda (2-0, 2.95) vs Daiki Tajima (2-4, 3.57)

Central League

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

Kazuto Taguchi (4-3, 4.50) vs Yusuke Nomura (5-1, 3.72)

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

Yuichiro Okano (2-2, 5.17) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (0-0, 3.60)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (6-5, 3.95) vs Taiga Kamichatani (1-1, 3.69)

NPB 2020 Sept. 15

Sugano runs streak to 11

Tomoyuki Sugano equaled a team record set by Hall of Famer Victor Starffin by winning 11-straight decisions from Opening Day in the Yomiuri Giants’ 6-3 come-from-behind win over the Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo Dome on Tuesday.

Sugano (11-0) allowed three runs, all scored by Tigers leadoff man Koji Chikamoto on seven hits and a walk while striking out five over six innings. The Giants ace’s command was not up to his usual high standards, and though his fastball was occasionally untouchable, he had to work extremely carefully to get out of a couple of tight spots.

Tigers lefty Haruto Takahashi (2-3) allowed single runs in the second and fourth before his command deserted him in the bottom of the sixth and the Giants began taking advantage of his mistakes to overcome a 3-2 deficit.

Kazuma Okamoto singled in the tying run with no outs. It seems clear that the Tigers bench was taken by surprise by the lefty’s 10-pitch meltdown since no one was ready to replace him until Yuta Iwasada took over with no outs and the bases loaded.

Iwasada surrendered a two-run single to Takumi Oshiro, who added another RBI single in the eighth, and the Giants cut it close in the ninth with Rubby De La Rosa on the mound.

With two on and one out, second baseman Naoki Yoshikawa robbed Chikamoto of his fourth hit of the game with a diving stop and a force at second.

The Tigers, who left the bases loaded in the fourth, wasted a two-on no-out opportunity in the seventh, running into an out at third base on a broken buster-and-run when they trailed 5-3.

Instead of two on, no outs and a 2-0 count to one of the Tigers’ best hitters, catcher Ryutaro Umeno, the Tigers had a 1-1 count, one out, and a runner on second after Umeno swung at a pitch nowhere near the strike zone and the lead runner was out at easily at third.

Sugano’s streak is the longest for a CL pitcher to start the season after throwing on Opening Day, matching the 1982 run by Hiroshima Carp Hall of Famer Manabu Kitabeppu. The Giants franchise record was set in 1938 by Russian Hall of Famer Victor Starffin.

Giants-Tigers highlights.

Japan’s stupidest magic trick

The Giants win gave them a magic number to clinch their second-straight CL pennant of 38 with 48 games to play. This is a Japanese magic number, mind you, a mind-numbing formula that requires knowing the number of games your closest rival has remaining with you. It’s fairly complicated math. Teams who meet the criteria have their magic number “lit up.” Fans celebrate it and the media never shuts up about it.

Should the other CL teams improve relative to the Giants, Yomiuri’s magic number, 38 after the win with 48 games left to play, can disappear. Teams can win pennants without ever having a magic number.

Asked about it after Tuesday’s game, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said, “It’s something that has nothing to do with me.”

Seiya later

Seiya Suzuki capped a four-run first inning with a three-run homer off Yudai Ono (5-5) whose six-game complete-game streak came to an end in the Hiroshima Carp’s 6-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Ono settled down after allowing the first four batters to reach, retiring 12 of the last 14 he faced before being pulled for a pinch-hitter. Carp right-hander Allen Kuri (4-4) allowed a run over six innings to earn the win. Geronimo Franzua worked the ninth for his ninth save.

Soto sparks Stars

Two-time Central League home run champ Neftali Soto hit his 15th home run and drove in three runs off 40-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (0-4) in the DeNA BayStars’ 8-3 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Tatsuhiro Shibata came off the bench for the BayStars and doubled in three runs in the eighth to complete the rout.

Must be the shirt

Seiichiro Oshita, whom Orix added to their 70-man roster on Monday after taking him in the sixth round of last year’s developmental draft, broke a 1-1 second-inning tie with a three-run homer in his first career at-bat as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Rakuten Eagles 5-1 at Hotto Motto Field Kobe.

The Buffaloes, formed out of the 2004 merger of the Orix BlueWave and the Kintetsu Buffaloes, wore BlueWave uniforms at that club’s old home park in Kobe. Unfortunately, the Buffaloes didn’t have a special uniform available with Oshita’s new No. 40, so he wore the No. 102 of batting practice pitcher Yukihiro Yamaoka.

His feat mimicked that of Lotte Marines right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura, who was activated the day of his trade and struck out the side in order that night wearing the shirt of longtime batting practice pitcher Akihiro Fukushima.

Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (5-3), the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in Japan, allowed Hideto Asamura’s 23rd home run to lead off the second, but only two other hits and two walks while striking out nine over eight innings.

Fighters get past Senga

Haruki Nishikawa drove in three runs against SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (6-4) in the Fighters’ 3-2 win at Sapporo Dome as veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi again cut it close before recording the save.

Fighters right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-3) threw eight scoreless innings as the hosts took a 3-0 lead into the ninth. Miyanishi, filling in for regular closer Ryo Akiyoshi has now escaped with two-straight saves after opponents’ trimmed the Fighters’ lead to a run in the ninth.

He surrendered solo home runs to Yuki Yanagita, his 23rd, and former Fighter Keizo Kawashima, his fourth.

Senga struck out 12 but walked six and gave up nine hits in his 148 war of attrition with the strike zone.

Spangenberg rescues endangered Lions

Corey Spangenberg’s 11th home run, a two-run eighth-inning shot off veteran right-hander Frank Herrmann brought the Seibu Lions from a run down in their 4-3 win over the Lotte Marines at MetLife Dome.

Marines starter Ayumu Ishikawa left with one out and a man on in the eighth. Herrmann retired Sosuke Genda before he missed a pitch that Spangenberg didn’t.

Lions starter Kona Takahashi, who lost a no-hit bid in the eighth inning a week earlier, allowed three runs, two earned over seven innings. Tatsushi Masuda worked the ninth for Seibu to earn his 18th save.

Active roster moves 9/15/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/25

Central League

Activated

TigersIF58Fumiya Araki
SwallowsIF0Ryota Fujii
SwallowsOF51Taiki Hamada

Dectivated

CarpP23Kazuki Yabuta

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP56Sora Suzuki
MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
BuffaloesP15Yudai Aranishi
BuffaloesOF00Hayato Nishiura
BuffaloesOF40Seiichiro Oshita

Dectivated

LionsP48Shota Takekuma
EaglesP17Takahiro Shiomi
MarinesP18Kota Futaki
BuffaloesP39Yuya Iida
BuffaloesIF67Keita Nakagawa
BuffaloesOF6Yuma Mune

Starting pitchers for Sept. 16, 2020

Pacific League

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

Toshihiro Sugiura (5-3, 3.12) vs Akira Niho (4-4, 4.26)

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

Shota Hamaya (0-0, 9.35) vs Kazuya Ojima (5-5, 3.52)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (1-4, 4.02) vs Hideaki Wakui (8-2, 3.19)

Central League

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

Kazuto Taguchi (3-3, 4.44) vs Koyo Aoyagi (6-4, 3.52)

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

Hiroaki Saiuchi (-) vs Taiga Kamichatani (1-1, 4.09)

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

Yusuke Nomura (4-1, 3.78) vs Yuichiro Okano (2-1, 4.86)