Tag Archives: Yuito Mori

NPB 2020 Nov. 3

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Spangenberg, Kuriyama power Lions

Corey Spangenberg and veteran Takumi Kuriyama powered the Seibu Lions as they from behind to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 5-4 at MetLife Dome on a holiday Tuesday afternoon game to pull into a tie for second-place in the Pacific League with the Lotte Marines.

Spangenberg’s fourth-inning solo homer put the Lions up 3-2, and his sac fly tied it 4-4 in the sixth. Shuta Tonosaki plated Fumikazu Kimura in the seventh with the go-ahead run as the Seibu bullpen locked it down after a rough outing by Kona Takahashi.

The right-hander had trouble from the start but managed a 1-2-3 first thanks to a good play from two-time Golden Glove winning shortstop Sosuke Genda to retire the leadoff man. Takahashi needed all the help he could get as he allowed four runs on four walks and six hits over 4-1/3 innings. He left after Taishi Ota’s lucky RBI single tied it 3-3, but rookie Tetsu Miyagawa’s two walks forced in a run to give the Fighters the lead again.

Kuriyama homered to tie it in the third and led off the sixth and scored on Spangenberg’s sac fly.

Ryosuke Moriwaki (7-1), the Lions’ fourth pitcher, worked around two hits and a walk in a scoreless seventh to earn the win after Kaima Taira and closer Tatsushi Masuda each retired three straight hitters.

Hawks come back to sink Marines

Nobuhiro Matsuda’s two-out RBI single broke a 3-3 sixth-inning tie and capped a four-run rally as the SoftBank Hawks came from behind to beat the Lotte Marines 4-3 at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium. The win was the Hawks sixth straight against Lotte after starting the season 4-11-1 against them.

The Marines took a 3-0 lead against Rick van den Hurk (2-2) on Ikuhiro Kiyota’s two-run first-inning homer and Yudai Fujioka’s fourth-inning solo homer.

Ayumu Ishikawa (7-6) took a 3-0 lead into the sixth, when Akira Nakamura had the Hawks’ third one-out single of the game. Yuki Yanagita followed with another. With one out, Yurisbel Gracial beat a throw to first to avoid a double play before Kenji Akashi drilled a two-run double to the gap. Ryoya Kurihara’s smash single tied it. Takuya Kai worked a walk off new pitcher Yuki Karakawa and Matsuda singled in the go-ahead run.

Five Hawks relievers finished the job with Yuito Mori getting his 31st save.

The game was held up for 14 minutes in the bottom of the fifth when brilliant sunshine over the stadium rim blinded those at home plate.

Moya crushes Eagles’ hopes

Steven Moya homered twice scored three runs and drove in four to power the Orix Buffaloes to a 6-3 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome over the Rakuten Eagles, who fell 2-1/2 games out of second place with four games to play.

Moya closed the book on Eagles ace Takahiro Norimoto (5-7) with his second homer of the game, a two-run seventh-inning shot. D.J. Johnson and J.T. Chargois retired three batters apiece in a solid rear-guard effort for Rakuten.

Kyoda, Kinoshita boost Dragons past ‘Stars

Yota Kyoda snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-run fifth-inning triple in the Chunichi Dragons’ 7-5 win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome. Chunichi catcher Takumi Kinoshita had three hits for the hosts. He singled to lead off the fifth, homered in the sixth and singled in an eighth-inning insurance run.

 Kikuchi rescues Carp, spoils Togo shutout

Ryosuke Kikuchi homered with two outs and a man on in the bottom of the ninth to break up rookie Shosei Togo‘s shutout and take Hiroshima Carp starter Allen Kuri off the hook in a 10-inning 2-2 tie with the Yomiuri Giants at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Swallows come back

Taishi Hirooka hit a seventh-inning, game-tying homer and Naomichi Nishiura’s three-run 10th-inning shot off Yuta Iwasada (6-3) decided it as the Yakult Swallows came back to beat the Hanshin Tigers 4-1 at Koshien Stadium.

Hirooka tied it off Hanshin’s second pitcher, Suguru Iwazaki, but Jon Edwards and Robert Suarez each worked a scoreless inning, while the Swallows bullpen put up four scoreless innings to force extra innings. Nishimura homered in the 10th and Taichi Ishiyama recorded his 18th save.

Jones ends 1st season in Japan

The Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes announced that first-year import Adam Jones returned to the United States on Tuesday.

Jones played in 87 games with a .331 on-base percentage with a .417 slugging average with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs. He had been deactivated due to “lack of fitness.”

In Japanese language comments released by the team, Jones called it an amazing year despite the difficulties imposed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He said he had learned to alter his approach having learned about Japanese baseball and Japanese culture, and that he was looking forward to come back fit and compete next year for the entire season.

Active roster moves 11/3/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/13

Central League

Activated

GiantsP17Kan Otake
GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
TigersOF25Taiga Egoshi
DragonsP50Tatsuya Shimizu
DragonsC68Iori Katsura
DragonsIF7Akira Neo

Dectivated

BayStarsP15Shoichi Ino
TigersP29Haruto Takahashi
DragonsP36Yuichiro Okano
DragonsC44Yuya Gunji

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP19Hiromasa Saito
HawksP44Rick van den Hurk
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi
BuffaloesP14Kazumasa Yoshida
BuffaloesP30Kohei Suzuki
BuffaloesIF24Kotaro Kurebayashi
BuffaloesIF42Aderlin Rodriguez
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo
BuffaloesOF00Hayato Nishiura

Dectivated

LionsP30Daiki Enokida
FightersP13Tsubasa Nabatame

Starting pitchers for Nov. 4, 2020

Pacific League

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

Zach Neal (5-8, 5.21) vs Kosei Yoshida (0-1, 5.40)

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

Chen Wei-Yin (0-2, 2.25) vs Kodai Senga (10-6, 2.31)

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

Daichi Takeyasu (1-0, 0.00) vs Hideaki Wakui (11-4, 3.31)

Central League

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (4-5, 3.65) vs Yuya Sakamoto (4-1, 5.31)

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

Shintaro Fujinami (1-6, 4.68) vs Masanori Ishikawa (2-8, 4.73)

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

Atsushi Endo (4-6, 4.13) vs Yuki Takahashi (1-2, 5.74)

NPB 2020 OCT. 11

Sunday’s games

Other news

Hawks take 2 from nemeses Marines

Tsuyoshi Wada (7-1) survived uncharacteristic command issues to work five innings and a parade of six relievers completed a combined three-hitter as the SoftBank Hawks beat the Lotte Marines 3-0 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome and knocking their nemeses two games back in the Pacific League pennant race.

Wada walked four batters and struck out six while allowing his only hit with two outs and none on in the fifth inning. Yuito Mori worked around a ninth-inning single to record his 26th save of the year and the 100th of his career.

Manabu Mima (9-3) allowed three runs over seven innings on eight hits and three walks. Ukyo Shuto got things started for the Hawks in the third with a one-out single. He’d reached in the first on a bouncer to short, and Mima jammed him in the third but his flare fell into shallow center. He then scored on an Akira Nakamura double.

Nobuhiro Matsuda homered to open the fourth, Wladimir Balentien singled, was sacrificed to second and scored from third on Shuto’s second infield hit of the game. Shuto also stole two bases to raise his league-leading total to 34.

No cigar in Sendai

Ryota Takinaka, the Rakuten Eagles’ sixth pick in the 2019 draft, earned his first career win but lost his shutout bid with two outs in the ninth inning of an 8-2 win over the Seibu Lions at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

throwing a particularly nasty curve and a good changeup, the 25-year-old Takinaka (1-1) allowed five hits while striking out eight and walking none. Whem Takinaka gave up Ernesto Mejia’s two-out two-run double in the ninth on his 129th pitch, Eagles manager Hajime Miki finally pulled the plug on the youngster’s bid to go the distance.

“I really wanted him to go all the way, but considering his pitch count, his current fitness and some other things I decided we’d try for that next time,” Miki said. “He mixed his pitches well and changed speeds.”

“Of course, his curve was as advertised but I thought the big thing was his command of the fastball.”

After Saturday’s game was called after three innings and cost both the Eagles and the Lions a starting pitcher, Takinaka’s going into the ninth gave Rakuten a break going into Monday’s makeup game, while the Lions needed three of their second-tier relievers after starter Wataru Matsumoto (4-5), who gave up five runs in four innings.

Hideto Asamura hit his PL-leading 30th home run for the Eagles.

Higgins KO’s Fighters in 7th

Tyler Higgins faced off with one of the Nippon Ham Fighters more dangerous hitters, coming in with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh and kept the hosts off the board in the Orix Buffaloes’ 7-5 win at Sapporo Dome.

Higgins struck out Ota on six pitches with three swinging strikes at his changeup to end the inning. Ota had helped the Fighters close the gap with a two-run double in their four-run sixth. In the eighth, the right-hander struck out cleanup hitter Sho Nakata, who’d homered in the sixth, en route to a 1-2-3 eighth.

Buffaloes starter Hirotoshi Masui (2-2) returned to his old stomping grounds and earned the win after allowing three runs in 5-1/3 innings on a day when Orix skipper Satoshi Nakajima, a longtime player and coach with the Fighters, gave his imported hitters the day off.

Dragons get past rookie Togo

Tatsuya Shimizu (1-0) scattered four walks and three hits over 5-2/3 innings and got some big help from the bullpen to earn the win as the Chunichi Dragons beat Yomiuri Giants and rookie of the year candidate Shosei Togo 7-0 at Nagoya Dome.

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi broke the scoreless deadlock in the fourth with an RBI single, and 35-year-old right-hander Keisuke Tanimoto retired Zelous Wheeler with two on and two outs in the top of the sixth to preserve a 1-0 Chunichi lead.

With two outs in the sixth, Dayan Viciedo doubled and scored on a Takahashi double off Togo (8-5), who allowed four hits, a walk and hit a batter over six innings.

With a game scheduled for Monday, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara did not turn the game over to his best after Togo left and the Dragons scored five in the seventh.

Oyama clinches HR derby

Hanshin Tigers cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama pulled into a tie for the Central League home run lead with his 25th home run, a two-run fifth-inning blow that gave the hosts the lead in a 4-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Koshien Stadium.

The BayStars got solo home runs from Keita Sano, his 16th, Tyler Austin, his 17th and Jose Lopez, his eighth.

Oyama doubled and scored on a Jerry Sands single as Hanshin took a 2-1 lead in the second. Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Oyama went deep off starter Taiga Kamichatani (2-3).

Takumi Akiyama (7-3) started and earned the win for the Tigers, while Jon Edwards, Shintaro Fujinami and Robert Suarez each worked one perfect inning of relief. Suarez earned his 20th save.

Carp terrorize Swallows’ little river

The Hiroshima Carp overwhelmed Yakult Swallows starter Yasuhiro Ogawa in a six-run fifth inning en route to a 7-4 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Hiroshima’s Yuta Nakamura (2-2) held the visitors to a run over six innings, and Kosuke Tanaka gave him the lead in the fourth, when he tripled and scored on a Seiya Suzuki single.

Ogawa (9-5) then allowed five straight runners to reach in the fifth, with Nakamura chasing him with an RBI single that made it 3-0. The Swallows battled back against the Carp bullpen before closer Geronimo Franzua worked around two hits in a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save.

Swallows Igarashi to call it quits

Yakult Swallows right-hander Ryota Igarashi will retire at the end of the 2020 season, multiple media outlets reported on Sunday.

The 41-year-old Igarashi, who played most of his career with the Central League club, pitched two seasons for the Mets in 2010 and 2011 before appearing in two games each for the Blue Jays and Yankees in 2012.

He returned to Japan in 2013 and spent six seasons with the SoftBank Hawks before returning last year to Tokyo and the Swallows.

In 2002, he and fellow hard-throwing middle reliever Hirotoshi Ishii became known as the Rocket Boys. His 822 games are seventh most in Japan.

Active roster moves 10/11/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/21

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
CarpP46Mikiya Takahashi
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
CarpIF63Ryoma Nishikawa

Dectivated

BayStarsP26Haruhiro Hamaguchi
CarpP30Ryuji Ichioka
CarpIF44Kota Hayashi
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP47Kouki Matsuoka
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui

Dectivated

LionsP30Daiki Enokida

Starting pitchers for Oct. 12, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Yuya Fukui (0-4, 5.26) vs Katsunori Hirai (5-4, 4.50)

Central League

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

Koji Fukutani (5-2, 2.76) vs Toshiki Sakurai (2-3, 4.89)

NPB 2020 Sept. 3

Open and shut Thursday

Thursday’s games in Japan were the stuff of nightmares for baseball old farts as three relievers made their first starts of the season, while five of the 12 starters took the mound with fewer than 10 career starts.

Fittingly, the day’s signature play–or rather misplay–was made by a reliever, and could someday be known as the “McPickoff.”

Hawks come back, salvage series tie

The Orix Buffaloes blew a two-run seventh-inning lead, allowing the SoftBank Hawks to win the get-away game 5-4 in their three-game series at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

A night after Hawks closer Yuito Mori blew a two-run ninth-inning lead en route to a 3-3 tie, former closer Hirotoshi Masui gave the Buffaloes a chance to win by allowing two runs over five innings. He left with a 4-2 lead after Yutaro Sugimoto singled in a run in the fourth and Masato Matsui followed with a three-run shot off Hawks sixth starter Akira Niho (4-4).

Orix got a scintillating sixth inning against the heart of the Hawks lineup from lefty Nobuyoshi Yamada. Rookie lefty Ryuga Tomiyama (0-1) was tasked with holding the visitors down in the seventh, but the 23-year-old issued a one-out walk before surrendering Nobuhiro Matsuda’s game-tying two-run homer and a solo shot to Hawks catcher Takuya Kai.

Against Hawks lefty Livan Moinelo in the eighth, Masataka Yoshida singled with two outs to run his hitting streak to 21 games, and Adam Jones walked. Ryoichi Adachi was en route to first after trying to check his swing on a 3-2 pitch until he was called out and sank to his knees on the first-base line.

Sugimoto singled to open the Buffaloes ninth against Mori, but the closer hung on to record his 18th save.

Kato, 3 relievers combine on 1-hitter

Lefty Takayuki Kato (1-1) faced the minimum over five hitless innings and three relievers completed the combined one-hitter as the Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Rakuten Eagles 4-0 at Sapporo Dome.

Kato, employed last year mostly as a “short starter” who could be trusted to go through the opposing lineup twice, was yanked after just 51 pitches. He hit one batter and struck out one. Toru Murata allowed the Eagles only hit, a single by rookie Hiroto Kobukata, in the sixth. Taisho Tamai walked two hitters in the eighth and lefty Naoki Miyanishi worked a perfect ninth.

Haruki Nishikawa doubled in a run off Yuki Matsui (1-2) in the first and tripled in another in the third. Sho Nakata singled him home in the first and delivered a sacrifice fly to plate him in the third.

Matsui allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits and a walk while striking out six.

Martin homers lift Marines over Lions

Leonys Martin’s 18th home run broke up a 2-2 fifth-inning tie and started a five-run inning as the Lotte Marines beat the Seibu Lions 8-5 at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Marines starter Daiki Iwashita (4-4) worked out of a no-out bases-loaded predicament in the first inning and a two-on, one-out pickle in the third, but the Lions got to the right-hander the third time around. A fifth-inning leadoff walk and a one-out home run by Yuji Kaneko, his first, tied it.

Lotte right-hander Frank Herrmann allowed the visitors to get a run back in the eighth on a Tomoya Mori double and Ernesto Mejia’s third hit of the game, but Martin canceled that out with his 19th home run in the home half.

Katsunori Hirai, the Lions’ middle-relief workhorse out of the bullpen until asked to make his first career start last week, took the loss. He gave up five runs over 4-1/3 innings.

Fukutani, Dragons shut down Carp

Koji Fukutani (3-2) worked 7-1/3 scoreless innings and two relievers completed the Chunichi Dragons nine-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Nagoya Dome.

Carp lefty Kris Johnson (0-7) was unable to command his pitches from the get-go, and after a one-out walk to Ryosuke Hirai, Nobumasa Fukuda crushed a slider inside for his fourth home run. Fukutani led off the Dragons’ third and scored on Fukuda’s no-out bases-loaded single. Back-to-back sacrifice flies made it 5-0, and Fukutani rubbed salt in the wounds with a sixth-inning RBI single.

Johnson allowed five runs on four hits and two walks over four innings while striking out five.

BayStars bullpen day bombs against Giants

Setup man Spencer Patton (2-2) made his first start in Japan as the front man in a bullpen relay but allowed nine runs in the DeNA BayStars’ 13-4 loss to the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome.

Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the first, and a dropped flyball brought in the go-ahead run in the hosts’ three-run first. The Giants blew the game open in the second after starting pitcher Kazuto Taguchi drew a one-out walk. The Giants sent 14 batters to the plate in the 10-run inning that saw three home runs and a two-run double by the pitcher.

Taguchi (3-3) allowed a run on six hits over six innings. He struck out four.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Tigers take advantage of McPickoff

Reliever Scott McGough’s failed throw to an empty base allowed two inherited runners to score as the Hanshin Tigers overturned a one-run seventh-inning deficit in their 4-3 win over the Yakult Swallows at Koshien Stadium.

The Swallows tied it 2-2 in the fourth and took the lead in the top of the seventh when Tigers reliever Atsushi Nomi fumbled a ground ball. Singles by Justin Bour and pinch-hitter Naomasa Yokawa put the go-ahead runners on in the home half chased left-handed reliever Keiji Takahashi (1-3).

With leadoff man Koji Chikamoto at the plate, Yokawa stole second. Inexplicably, McGough threw to first, resulting in a balk, and both runners scored as the ball rolled in foul territory toward the corner.

“That was lucky,” Tigers skipper Akihiro Yano said.

Active roster moves 9/3/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/13

Central League

Activated

TigersP66Ippei Ogawa
DragonsIF55Nobumasa Fukuda

Dectivated

TigersP27Yuya Onaka
DragonsP11Shinnosuke Ogasawara
DragonsIF37Taiki Mitsumata

Pacific League

Activated

LionsOF65Daisuke Togawa
HawksP13Akira Niho
HawksC62Takashi Umino
FightersC60Takuya Kohri
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui

Dectivated

LionsIF60Takeya Nakamura
HawksP63Hiroyuki Kawahara
HawksC65Ryuhei Kuki
FightersP39Ryo Akiyoshi

Starting pitchers for Sept. 3, 2020

Pacific League

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

Toshihiro Sugiura (5-2, 2.93) vs Zach Neal (2-4, 4.87)

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

Takahiro Norimoto (5-3, 3.41) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-1, 3.48)

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

Matt Moore (1-1, 3.00) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (5-2, 3.95)

Central League

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-3, 4.93) vs Yuya Yanagi (2-4, 3.18)

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

Yuki Nishi (4-3, 2.48) vs Shosei Togo (7-2, 1.90)

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

Masato Morishita (5-2, 2.19) vs Shoichi Ino (5-3, 2.35)

NPB 2020 8-11 live blog

Live blog: Hawks vs Buffaloes

Go to NEWEST.

For those of you who are curious, you can read a little about these teams in my Japanese pro baseball guide.

Tonight we have two of Japan’s premier pitchers, Kodai Senga of the SoftBank Hawks against Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes.

Top 1st

Buffs leading off with Tatsuya Yamaashi, whose liner to right holds up long enough to be caught. Shuhei Fukuda the shorter strikes out looking at a pitch away. Masataka Yoshida takes a pitch low for Ball 4, bringing up Adam Jones, who sat out his first game of the year on Sunday.

Jones goes down swinging at a splitter. A pitch that is usually a nightmare for hitters has been mediocre this season for Senga. But that 0-2 pitch was a beauty.

Bottom 1st

Two good fastballs followed by a good curve and Ukyo Shuto is Yamamoto’s first strikeout victim of the evening.

Yuki Yanagita is batting second. He’s jammed but loops it into shallow right for a single. We were talking on the Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast about manager Kudo’s lineup selection.

Akira Nakamura, batting third, hits one high and far down the line for a two-run home run. We’re going to get a video review of the ball. It was hit high over the foul pole, so I don’t know how they were going to dispute it.

Nakamura, of course, famously hit a home run on a foul ball against the Buffaloes thanks to a video review that overturned the correct call. Hawks 2 Buffaloes 0

The curse of the live blog continues as Ryoya Kurihara walks and Kenji Akashi doubles him home from first. Hawks 3 Buffaloes 0 Yamamoto settles down and gets a pair of groundouts to leave Kurihara at second.

Top 2nd

The broadcasters are saying that the difference between good Senga and bad Senga is that when he’s having trouble, he’ll give up runs right after his team scored. I don’t think it’s that simple. He’s missing bats with his fastball and splitter. I think that’s probably a better indicator.

Takahiro Okada and Aderlin Rodriguez back after missing 10 days with a contusion on his arm where he was hit by a pitch make easy outs. Senga issues his second two-out walk of the game.

Senga caught a huge break when he missed with a splitter up in the zone with too much spin and Ryoichi Adachi takes it for Strike 3, and he’ s out of the inning. Hawks 3, Buffaloes 0

Bottom 2nd

Two easy outs for Yamamoto in the second. Then a straight fastball that misses up in the zone and Shuto singles. Yanagita hits another straight fastball and drives it into the home run terrace in right center. Hawks 5, Buffaloes 0

Top 3rd

The Buffaloes go down in order in the third.

Bottom 3rd

A one-out single by Kenji Akashi puts a man on, but Aderlin Rodriguez catches a low liner at first and gets an easy double play.

Top 4th

Masataka Yoshida singles to center for Orix’s first hit. Jones chases a cutter away and misses for Senga’s sixth strikeout. Takahiro Okada tees off on a high fastball and doubles to the gap in right to put runners on second and third for Rodriguez.

Good split for the second strike and Rodriguez swings under a good fastball. That’s seven K’s for Senga. Ryo Nishimura can’t hold up on a 2-2 pitch Senga buries on outside and that promise of an inning is gone.

Bottom 4th

Takuya Kai miss-hits a cutter and grounds into an easy out. Nice cutter, fastball combination gets the No. 8 hitter Hikaru Kawase going down swinging. Matsuda swings under a high fastball and fouls out. Triumph of a sort for Yamamoto in his first 1-2-3 inning.

Top 5th

Tough spot for Senga after his second baseman Kawase fumbles a grounder, and Kenya Wakatsuki gets enough of an 0-2 fastball up and in to get it through the infield for a single. Kawase drops the throw from short on a double play ball for his second error of the inning and the bags are juiced.

A groundout brings in one run, and Yoshida puts an easy swing on a cutter at the letters and hits it into left for an RBI single. Hawks 5, Buffaloes 2

A good at-bat by Jones taking two borderline low pitches, and a badly missed 3-2 fastball results in a walk and the bases loaded with one out.

Senga misses another fastball up in the zone and straight to Okada who lines it into the home run terrace for his sixth homer of the season. Buffaloes 6, Hawks 5

Bottom 5th

A good at-bat by Ukyo Shuto gives the Hawks a leadoff walk. Yamamoto gets ahead of Yanagita and goes inside with a fastball. Shuto takes off on the 2-2 pitch and steals second as Yanagita chases a splitter for Strike 3.

I am mystified why catcher Wakatsuki and Yamamoto think a disciplined hitter like Nakamura is going to become a hacker after all these years and chase pitches when he’s ahead in the count. Now they HAVE to work the edge and hope for a strike and walk him. Two on and one out and their feet are in the fire.

Another disciplined hitter in Ryoya Kurihara, and they start him off with a splitter out of the zone. Madness. Surprised him with a curveball away that hung up a bit and Kurihara flies out.

Visit from the pitching coach as Yamamoto misses badly with a couple of pitches and the bases are loaded with two outs. Seiji Uebayashi puts a good swing on an inside pitch but hits a soft liner to second, and Yamamoto escapes.

Top 6th

Senga is missing still but gets three easy outs. Yamamoto is done after 106 pitches.

Bottom 6th

Rookie right-hander Ryo Yoshida on the mound for the Buffaloes. The announcer said “He did well on the farm but didn’t get results on the first team.” That’s true, but I’d wager it’s hard to get any kind of good results in just 4-1/3 innings. Yoshida strikes out Kai on three pitches, but walks the next batter, Kawase, so if anything, he’s being efficient.

The Buffaloes’ center fielder, Nishimura, is pulled well over toward right center against Nobuhiro Matsuda, as if to rub it in that he’s batting ninth.

Matsuda walks and Senga really wants to pitch the seventh, since out in front of the dugout warming up with one out.

Pitching change: Ryo Yoshida leaves for lefty Koki Saito to face Yanagita.

The Hawks star nearly comes out of his shoes trying to hold up on a slider but gets the bat on it and hits a one-handed home run as his helmet flies off. That’s home run No. 14 for him and it’s Hawks 8, Buffaloes 6.

Top 7th

With a two-run lead, Senga is done after six innings and 114 pitches.

Rei Takahashi on for the Hawks. Masataka Yoshida doubles with one out for his third hit. He also walked. Adam Jones singles Yoshida home. Hawks 8, Buffaloes 7.

Hawks skipper Kudo pulls the plug on his submarine righty with Okada coming up from the left side.

Pitching change: LHP Shinya Kayama on for Rei Takahashi with one out and one on.

Given manager Nishimura’s propensity to play for one run when behind and sort of wish for the best, I’m surprised he’s not gone to a pinch-runner for Jones on first.

Pitching change: LHP Shinya Kayama on for Rei Takahashi with one out and one on. Okada pops up for the second out, and with Aderlin Rodriguez up, the Hawks go with a right-hander, so lovers of the one-point relievers nonsense that passes for strategy can be happy.

Pitching change: Rookie RHP Keisuke Izumi on for LHP Shinya Kayama and gets Rodriguez to ground out.

Bottom 7th

It’s the Hawks’ “Lucky Seventh,” and lefty Nobuyoshi Yamada is on for Orix to face Ryoya Kurihara. Yamada misses the target slightly on a 3-2 pitch. A leadoff walk and a sacrifice and the insurance run is at second. I’m sure there’ s reason for asking your pitcher to locate perfectly against a leadoff hitter instead of focusing on throwing a 3-2 strike, but I don’t see it.

Another walk and my favorite right-handed-hitting grinder is up. Keizo Kawashima pinch-hits and smokes the first pitch to center but lines out. Yamada unpickles himself by getting pinch-hitter Kenta Imamiya to ground out to third.

Top 8th

Changes: LHP Livan Moinelo on the mound, while Hiroaki Takaya is catching and Shuto moves over from short to second and Tetsuro Nishida comes off the bench to play short.

Moinelo strikes out Nishimura. Five outs to go.

A walk on another pitch at the knees that ump Yuta Suyama is not buying. Moinelo, like Senga and Yamamoto before him, mouths his displeasure in Japanese, causing the announcers to comment on his language skills.

A double-play ball to first, but the Hawks infield are not on the same page and only get one out. Nishida tags the runner thinking first baseman Kenji Akashi stepped on the bag when he didn’t. There’s a little meeting to figure out what went wrong. But all’s well that ends well for the Hawks as pinch-runner Yuya Oda is thrown out stealing.

Bottom 8th

Buffaloes right-hander Tyler Higgins on and strikes out Matsuda on a called third strike away. It looks like one of those egregious outside strikes that have been very common this year. Higgins has been very tough this year, his first in Japan. He records three easy outs, so it’s going to come down to whether Orix can score off closer Yuito Mori in the ninth.

Top 9th

Here’s Mori and he misses the first two pitches to pinch-hitter Torai Fushimi, who miss-hits a ball to second for the first out. The right-hander missing the target with about half his pitches but is executing with two strikes.

Masataka Yoshida has yet to make an out tonight. Mori can’t hit the low target but gets the diminutive slugger out on high fastballs. It’s Mori’s 11th save.

Final score: Hawks 8, Buffaloes 7

Wasn’t the pitchers’ duel we were hoping for, but it was fun.

Return to TOP

NPB games, news of June 16, 2019

Joey Meneses is on the way out at Orix, not because as misreported here a doping violation, but according to Sports Nippon story “what appears to be a severe violation of team rules,” and that his contract will be voided.

Interleague

Lions 10, Swallows 6

At MetLife Dome, rookie Yakult southpaw Keiji Takahashi (0-3) walked four batters for the third straight game, allowing six runs, five earned, over 4-1/3 innings in a loss to Seibu.

Ernesto Mejia belted a two-run, fourth-inning home run and Wataru Matsumoto (1-1), Seibu’s top draft pick last autumn, allowed two runs over 5-2/3 innings.

With a 4-1 lead in the fifth, the Lions scored three runs without a hit: thanks to three walks, a hit batsman, two throwing errors and two sacrifice flies.

Swallows rookie Munetaka Murakami homered in the ninth, becoming the third player in NPB history with an 18-homer season prior to his age-20 season. The others were both Lions, Hall of Fame Nishitetsu shortstop Yasumitsu Toyoda and Seibu first baseman Kazuhiro Kiyohara — who would be in the Hall of Fame if it weren’t for other issues, including his arrest for drug possession.

BayStars 2, Hawks 2, 12 innings

At Yafuoku Dome, DeNA closer Yasuaki Yamasaki pitched out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 12th inning to preserve a tie with SoftBank.

DeNA rookie Taiga Kamichatani struck out eight and gave up two runs in 7-1/3 inning. The right-hander, the BayStars’ top draft pick in 2018, surrendered the tying run on Takuya Kai’s

Homers by the BayStars’ Toshiro Miyazaki and Tomo Otosaka brought the visitors back from a run down against career minor leaguer Akira Niho, who was making his third career start and second of the season. He allowed two runs over 5-2/3 innings.

Carp 4, Eagles 2

At Rakuten Semei Park, Xavier Batista had a pair of RBI doubles, and Ryoma Nishikawa hit an 0-2 changeup headed for the dirt for a two-out, tie-breaking RBI single as Hiroshima beat Rakuten.

Takayuki Kishi (2-1) was looking for his third straight win after allowing five runs in his previous 20 innings. He pitched well, but a leadoff walk in the seventh opened the door for the luckiest of game-winning RBIs.

Kris Johnson (6-4) allowed two runs over six innings, with Jabari Blash putting the Eagles in front in the first and Zelous Wheeler manufacturing a run in the second with a walk, a steal, a sacrifice and an infield single.

Jabari Blash singled home Eigoro Mori in the first, but Xavier Batista tied it in the top of the second with a double after Kishi surrendered back-to-back, one-out singles.

Kishi and Johnson settled in for a siege until Carp Tubasa Aizawa doubled in the sixth and scored for the second time on a Batista double.

Geronimo Franzua worked a 1-2-3 ninth to record his second save.

Giants 7, Fighters 3

At Sapporo Dome, Tomoyuki Sugano (7-3) overcame a five-hit, three-run first inning by retiring 19 of the last 22 batters he faced over seven innings as Yomiuri came from behind to beat Nippon Ham.

Fighters starter Toshihiro Sugiura (2-2), worked a 1-2-3 first but allowed five runs on five hits and a walk in the second.

Marines 8, Dragons 7

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Daichi Suzuki sparked a six-run, ninth-inning rally with his second home run of the game, and capped it with a sayonara single as Lotte came back to beat Chunichi in dramatic fashion.

In front of their home fans, Suzuki homered of Shinji Tajima to make it 7-3 game, and Seiya Inoue and Brandon Laird walked with one out.

Raidel Martinez (0-3) gave up an RBI double to Shogo Nakamura and a two-run single to Yudai Fujioka. After a two-out single and a walk, Joely Rodriguez faced Suzuki with the bases loaded and the Dragons leading 7-6. Suzuki singled to end it.

“At the end we kept the rally going batter after batter,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “Of course, those were the things we had utterly failed to do prior to that.”

Mike Bolsinger started for the Marines and allowed five runs over six innings.

Tigers 5, Buffaloes 5, 12 innings

At Kyocera Dome, Orix closer Hirotoshi Masui blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning by walking two batters and surrendering a two-run, two-out double to Hanshin’s Kosuke Fukudome as the two teams played to a tie, and the Buffaloes failed to win on a Sunday for the first time this year. They are 0-10 with two ties.

The Tigers trailed 5-0 after six hitless innings against lefty Daiki Tajima, Orix’s top draft pick in 2017. Tajima did well to mix his fastball and slider to keep the Tigers from making good contact.

He was making his second start of the season after winning his debut with five scoreless innings against the DeNA BayStars on June 5. Tashima was pulled after allowing a single and a walk to open the seventh.
Reliever Brandon Dickson allowed two runs on a double and a sacrifice fly. A third run scored on a ground out.

The Buffaloes broke the deadlock against Onelki Garcia in the fourth inning, when Masataka Yoshida singled, stole second and scored on Koji Oshiro’s two-out double.

The Buffaloes tacked on four runs in the fifth, when Garcia couldn’t escape a two-out, two-on jam. Yoshida singled in Kenya Wakatsuki to open the flood gates. After Stefen Romero reached on an error, Keita Nakagawa and Oshiro each delivered RBI singles.

The Buffaloes were going for their seventh series sweep of the Tigers since interleague play began in 2005. Of the 10 Kansai derby sweeps, the Tigers four between 2005 and 2009, while the Buffaloes have all five since.

News

More injury woes: Hawks deactivate closer Mori

The Nikkan Sports reported Sunday that the SoftBank Hawks are deactivating closer Yuito Mori due to stiffness in his upper arm. Mori has been standing in for Dennis Sarfate since April 2018.

Sarfate appeared ready to rejoin the first team this season, but continuing fitness issues have seen him spending the season to this point at the club’s minor league facility in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Mori has 19 saves this season, but it has often been a struggle, as it was on Saturday, when he barely managed a three-run save.

Before Sunday’s game against the DeNA BayStars he said, “It felt differently than it always does. It was simply tough. I want to take care of business as best I can (on the farm) so I can get back as quickly as possible.”

Manager Kimiyasu Kudo said, “He had discomfort, so we’re treating it carefully and deactivating him. It’s really rare for him to say he’s having discomfort.”

He’ll be replaced on the roster by 27-year-old Ren Kajiya.