Tag Archives: Yuki Matsui

NPB 2020 Oct. 2

Other news

Nishi masters Giants again

Yuki Nishi (8-4) failed to shut out the Yomiuri Giants for the second straight time, but did hold them to a run over eight innings to improve to 3-0 against the league leaders in the Hanshin Tigers’ 4-1 win at Koshien Stadium.

Yusuke Oyama hit a high straight forkball deep into the left-field stands for his 23rd home run to lead off the second against Nobutaka Imura (3-2). Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto leads the league with 24.

Nishi became the 179th pitcher in Japanese pro baseball history to pitch 1,500 innings. He allowed five hits and struck out eight without allowing a walk. Robert Suarez pitched an easy ninth inning against the heart of the Giants order to earn his 19th save.

Twelve days after his 20th birthday, Tigers shortstop Ryuhei Kobata had his first three-hit “modasho” game.

Viciedo HR beats BayStars

Dayan Viciedo broke a 5-5 tie with a three-run eighth-inning home run off lefty Kenta Ishida (1-3) in the Chunichi Dragons’ 8-5 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium.

First-year DeNA import Tyler Austin, playing in just his 35th game, hit his 10th home run, a two-run shot in the third that broke a 1-1 tie.

Carp outlast Swallows

Matt Koch (0-3) allowed three runs over three innings in long relief of Hirotoshi Takanashi to take the loss as the Yakult Swallows fell 7-5 to the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Reserve Swallows catcher Akihisa Nishida tied the game 3-3 with a one-out solo homer in the fourth inning. Nishida hit the seventh pitch he saw from lefty Hiroki Tokoda (3-6), and then did his best impression of Kirk Gibson impersonating Walter Brennan running the bases, having been helped off the field after fouling the second pitch off his thigh.

Matsuda, Kawashima lead Hawks

Nobuhiro Matsuda homered, doubled, walked, scored twice and drove in two in the SoftBank Hawks 7-5 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Light-hitting utility infielder Keizo Kawashima batted fourth for the first time in his 15th pro season. Perhaps manager Kimiyasu Kudo held a lottery to decide. Whatever the reason, Kawashima singled in a first-inning run off right-hander Kenta Uehara (1-2).

“I thought, ‘Please don’t put me there.’ No. I’m just kidding. I went up there to hit. I wonder how I’ll do tomorrow,” he told fans in the postgame hero interview.

No sooner was the Fighters’ Christian Villanueva declared concussion-free than he began concussing baseballs, hammering one to the wall in center where Yuki Yanagita made a good catch, and one into the left-field stands in the fourth. The home run, his fourth, put the Fighters in front. It was his first since Aug. 26.

On Sept. 25, Villanueva was in the field when he collided with injury-plagued Orix Buffaloes teenager Ryo Ota, causing both to be deactivated. Players deactivated due to concussion concerns do not have to sit out 10 days once they complete the concussion protocol program.

Matt Moore (4-2) allowed four runs over six innings to earn the win. Livan Moinelo worked the eighth inning and made it 21 games without allowing a run as he recorded his league-leading 33rd hold. Yuito Mori earned his 24th save.

Matsui gets win in 6-pitcher shutout

A day after blowing the lead and taking the loss in his first relief outing of the season, Yuki Matsui (4-4) earned the win for the Rakuten Eagles by retiring both batters he faced in the seventh inning of a 4-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Takahiro Shiomi started and worked 5-1/3 innings and five relievers completed a nine-hit shutout without issuing a walk. Buffaloes lefty Taisuke Yamaoka worked seven scoreless innings, thanks to the dome’s ground rules and a failure to communicate by the umpires.

Hiroaki Shimauchi singled in a run in the eighth, and Ryosuke Tatsumi added a three-run homer.

The Eagles opened each of the first two innings with extra-base hits but failed to score. Rookie Hiroto Kobukata tripled to open the first, and former Buffalo Stefen Romero doubled in the second in his old park.

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Romero hit a drive above one of the rings suspended from the dome’s ceiling. The ball fell in play, and the umpires stood there like dummies instead of signaling “fair ball.” Romero cruised around the bases, while the ball was retrieved and thrown back to the infield. Orix third baseman Shuhei Fukuda took a chance and tagged Romero as he approached the third base bag, when the umps finally acted–and called him out.

This was reminiscent of Game 1 of the 2004 Japan Series. infamous umpire Atsushi Kittaka called the batter out on a ball hit in front of the plate but didn’t tell anyone, leading to a missed double play opportunity for the fielding team and a 50-minute disruption. Kittaka was removed from the series umpiring crew the following day.

Mejia answers call

Ernesto Mejia did as he was asked in the 10th inning at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, lifting the Seibu Lions to a 1-0 win over the Lotte Marines by leading off the 10th inning with his 10th home run of the year.

In the postgame interview, Mejia said second baseman Shuta Tonosaki asked him to hit one out.

Active roster moves 10/2/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/12

Central League

Activated

GiantsP45Nobutaka Imamura
CarpIF44Kota Hayashi

Dectivated

GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki
CarpP70Tayler Scott

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP17Sho Iwasaki
HawksOF4Wladimir Balentien
FightersIF44Christian Villanueva

Dectivated

HawksP63Hiroyuki Kawahara
FightersC64Yua Tamiya

Starting pitchers for Oct. 3, 2020

Pacific League

Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Toshiya Nakamura (2-4, 5.08) vs Reed Garrett (3-2, 3.53)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Chang Yi (1-2, 3.86) vs Ryota Ishibashi (1-4, 5.93)

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

Nao Higashihama (5-1, 2.81) vs Kohei Arihara (5-7, 3.96)

Central League

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (4-0, 1.75) vs Masato Morishita (6-3, 2.63)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (6-4, 3.69) vs Koji Fukutani (4-2, 2.47)

Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Joe Gunkel (1-2, 2.87) vs Seishu Hatake (1-3, 4.45)

NPB 2020 Oct. 1

Other news

Eagles blow chance to knock off Hawks

The Rakuten Eagles wasted a great start by Takayuki Kishi in a 4-1 loss to the SoftBank Hawks, whose win at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi guaranteed they would remain top of the Pacific League on Thursday.

Kishi delivered a master class with his fastball, curve and change to hold the Hawks to a walk and two hits while striking out four. But the switch to former closer Yuki Matsui (3-4) in the seventh inning, for his first relief appearance of a season so far spent as a starter, cost the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

A pair of sharp fielding plays from Hawks second baseman Ukyo Shuto and first baseman Akira Nakamura helped starter Shuta Ishikawa (7-3) and three relievers hold Rakuten to five hits. The typically wild Ishikawa walked three and hit two while striking out six over 6-1/3 innings.

Yurisbel Gracial walked and scored from first on Ryoya Kurihara’s double. After taking third on the throw home, Kurihara scored on a squeeze by Takuya Kai, who homered in the ninth to complete the scoring.

The Eagles had an opening with two walks and a single in the home half of the seventh but hurt their cause by striking out trying to sacrifice and a base running error. Hawks closer Yuito Mori earned his 23rd save. “We owe Kishi an apology,” Eagles skipper Hajime Miki said.

Iguchi: ‘We need to do better’

Hisanori Yasuda took a borderline 3-2 pitch for Strike 3 to end the game with the bases loaded in the Lotte Marines’ 3-2 loss to the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome that left Lotte a full game behind the Hawks.

Fighters starter Toshihiro Sugiura (6-3) struck out a career-high nine as he allowed one run over six innings. Kotaro Kiyomiya and Shingo Usami each homered for the Fighters, whose current closer, veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi loaded the bases after retiring the first two batters.

Yasuda worked the count full and was headed for first after taking a pitch low and away before being rung up to end it. Miyanishi earned his fourth save.

“We failed to play to our full capabilities,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “We knew early on that we were working with a wide strike zone, and we just kept going along. We need to learn to do better.”

Leonys Martin doubled, walked twice, scored both of Lotte’s runs and was on base when the game ended.

Daiki Iwashita (5-7) took the loss after allowing two runs over six innings.

Yamakawa homer slays feisty Buffaloes

Hotaka Yamakawa broke a 5-5 tie with a two-run eighth-inning home run, his 23rd, off Tyler Higgins (2-3) as the Seibu Lions avoided a three-game sweep at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome with a 7-6 win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Trailing by a run with the Buffaloes’ first-year setup man on the mound, Ernesto Mejia doubled and Takeya Nakamura singled in the tying run.

The turnaround earned rookie Tetsu Miyagawa (1-1) his first career win after he pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the seventh. Sosuke Genda and Corey Spangenberg opened the scoring with back-to-back homers in the third.

The Buffaloes, however, ran the Lions ragged in a four-run fifth. Trailing by two in the ninth, Takahiro Okada homered off closer Tatsushi Masuda, who earned his 23rd save after getting pinch-hitter Adam Jones to fly out to deep center for the final out.

Saiuchi ends 5-year winless drought

Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-1) plucked this summer from the independent Olive Guyners threw seven scoreless innings to earn his first win in 5 years, 2 days, in the Yakult Swallows’ 2-0 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium.

Saiuchi, the second pick of the Hanshin Tigers in 2011, was released last season. The right-hander challenged hitters in the zone with his breaking pitches, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out four.

“I am really happy to produce for the team after they found me lying around and gave me a chance,” Saiuchi said.

Swallows closer Taichi Ishiyama provided more chills and suspense in the ninth, when he allowed the tying runs on with two outs.

Yasuaki Yamasaki, who lost his closer’s job this summer, was hit on the right leg with a batted ball.

Fujinami shines in setup role

Shintaro Fujinami, whose career has been fraught with disappointment these past four years, and who has struggled in his return to the starting rotation this season, hit close to 100 mph in helping secured the Hanshin Tigers’ 2-0 win over the Chunichi Dragons with a perfect eighth inning.

Lefty Minoru Iwata (1-0) allowed five hits and no walks while striking out five over 6-2/3 innings. Jon Edwards struck out the only batter he faced in the seventh and Fujinami took care of business in the eighth. Closer Robert Suarez got a big play from shortstop Ryuhei Kobata to complete a 1-2-3 ninth and earn his 18th save.

Dragons rookie Yariel Rodriguez (2-3) allowed a run over six innings. The 23-year-old Cuban right-hander allowed two hits and two walks while striking out 10. The Tigers’ first run scored on a wild pitch.

Giants knock Scott

The Yomiuri Giants scored four runs in four innings off Tayler Scott (0-3) in a 5-3 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Yoshihiro Maru singled in a run in the first, and Hayato Sakamoto doubled in another in the third before Naoki Yoshikawa’s two-run single made it 4-0 in the fourth.

Despite their poor start, the Carp defense put on a fielding clinic, starting with some solid play from seven-time Golden Glove-winning second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi and four gems in left from Jose Pirela in the final innings.

Angel Sanchez (6-3) allowed three runs, two earned, over seven innings, while Rubby De La Rosa earned his 14th save.

Active roster moves 10/1/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/11

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP47Yoshiki Sunada
BayStarsP58Yuta Muto
TigersP21Minoru Iwata
CarpP70Tayler Scott
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez

Dectivated

BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
TigersP27Yuya Onaka
CarpC32Yuta Shirahama

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP11Tatsuya Imai
HawksP29Shuta Ishikawa
EaglesP11Takayuki Kishi
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
BuffaloesP35Motoki Higa

Dectivated

HawksP18Shota Takeda
HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
EaglesP41Kouji Aoyama
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui
BuffaloesP66Ryo Yoshida

Starting pitchers for Oct. 2, 2020

Pacific League

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

Kota Futaki (5-2, 4.07) vs Zach Neal (3-6, 5.29)

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

Taisuke Yamaoka (2-3, 3.00) vs Takahiro Shiomi (4-6, 4.66)

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

Matt Moore (3-2, 2.61) vs Kenta Uehara (1-1, 1.11)

Central League

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-4, 4.61) vs Hiroki Tokoda (2-6, 5.83)

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

Shoichi Ino (6-5, 3.38) vs Tatsuya Shimizu (0-0, 0.00)

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

Yuki Nishi (7-4, 2.33) vs Nobutaka Imamura (3-1, 3.71)

NPB 2020 Sept. 24

Eagles repulse Marines

Yuki Matsui and a quartet of relievers turned back the Lotte Marines in a 3-0 victory on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep of their closest Pacific League rivals.

The win lifted Rakuten to within 2-1/2 games of the second-place Marines, who trail the SoftBank Hawks by two games. The Marines remain nine games above .500 despite being outscored this season 344-360.

Matsui was yanked after needing his 114th pitch to notch his 12th strikeout and leave the bases loaded in the fifth inning at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Matsui, who saved 30-plus games in four of the last five seasons, improved to 3-3 as a starter. He gave up five hits and had trouble getting some close calls as he walked four.

Reserve catcher Takahiro Shimotsuma opened the scoring with his first career homer and Eigoro Mogi singled in runs in the third and fifth off Daiki Iwashita (5-6), who also went five for the Marines.

After four homers over the first two games in Sendai, Hideto Asamura failed to reach the seats but reached base three times to contribute to two of the Eagles runs.

Kanji Teraoka worked the sixth for the Eagles, D.J. “Bearded Thunder” Johnson the seventh, Tomohito Sakai the eighth, and Alan Busenitz the ninth, when he earned his 15th save.

It was a tough night for the Marines’ Leonys Martin, who after striking out for the fourth time, was hit by Busenitz in the ninth, raising his Japan-leading hit-by-pitch total to 14, leaving him in pole position to join a fairly large club of imported players who lead their league in being hit with baseballs.

No broom at the inn for Buffaloes

The Orix Buffaloes came within one pitch of sweeping the league-leading SoftBank Hawks on Thursday, only for Akira Nakamura to put a good swing on a hanging 2-1 curve for a game-tying two-run homer as the teams played to a 3-3, 10-inning tie at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Moments after the Buffaloes took a 3-1 lead against Yutaka Wada in the top of the fifth, Nakamura evened things up. Orix starter Chang Yi, whose cousin Yang Yao-hsun used to pitch for SoftBank, fell behind Nakamura with two outs and a man on in the fifth. The home run was Nakamura’s sixth of the season.

Yurisbel Gracial opened the scoring in the second with his eighth home run, only for Orix’s Aderlin Rodriguez to tie it in the sixth with his fourth homer.

Wada gave away the lead after a scratch single, a wild pitch, a walk. Kenya Wakatsuki doubled beyond the reach of Gracial to make it a 2-1 game. The drawn in infield failed to prevent the runner on third from scoring, but a diving stop by shortstop Taisei Makihara robbed Ryo Ota of a single and Wada was able to get out of the inning trailing by two.

The real highlight of the game was an electric inning by Hawks lefty Livan Moinelo in the eighth. He overpowered Rodriguez on four fastballs. Masataka Yoshida was able to foul off his hard stuff, but was looking fastball and watched helplessly as a 3-2 curve floated through the zone. Steven Moya grounded out on four pitches to end it.

Uehara shuts down Lions

Nippon Ham Fighters lefty Kenta Uehara (1-1) allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out nine in a 12-2 butt kicking of the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome.

Lions right-hander Sho Ito (0-2) allowed four runs over 3-1/3 innings, and reliever Ken Togame was shelled for six runs in 1-1/3 innings.

Active roster moves 9/24/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/4

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

CarpP16Takeru Imamura
DragonsP36Yuichiro Okano

Pacific League

Activated

LionsOF68Junichiro Kishi
HawksP11Yuki Tsumori
HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
BuffaloesP98Chang Yi

Dectivated

LionsIF0Daichi Mizuguchi
HawksP49Yuto Furuya

Starting pitchers for Sept. 22, 2020

Pacific League

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

Zach Neal (3-6, 5.18) vs Takahiro Shiomi (4-6, 4.46)

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

Kota Futaki (4-2, 3.86) vs Matt Moore (3-1, 2.65)

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

Taisuke Yamaoka (1-3, 3.07) vs Nick Martinez (1-4, 3.81)

Central League

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

Angel Sanchez (4-3, 2.60) vs Yuya Yanagi (3-5, 3.64)

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-4, 4.55) vs Yuki Nishi (7-3, 2.12)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (1-6, 6.75) vs Shoichi Ino (6-4, 2.92)

NPB 2020 SEPT. 10

Enter the Sands man

Jerry Sands’ 17th home run of the season overturned a one-run seventh-inning deficit and Robert Suarez recorded a four-out save as the Hanshin Tigers beat the DeNA BayStars 8-7 at Yokohama Stadium on Thursday.

Sands, who lead South Korea’s KBO in RBIs last season, had three for the game, with one out and a man on in the seventh, he drove the first pitch he saw from big right-hander Yuki Kuniyoshi (3-3) for his third home run in six games.

The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third against Michael Peoples, who surrendered a leadoff single to Tigers starting pitcher Yukiya Saito. Tigers captain Kento Itohara’s infield single brought one run in, and Sands’ sac fly made it 2-0.

The BayStars tied it in the home half when they loaded the bases with no outs following a leadoff single by the No. 9 hitter, catcher Yasutaka Tobashira. Saito struck out Neftali Soto, the two-time defending Central League home run king, with no outs and the bags juiced, but a flare single and a sac fly tied it.

Saito was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the third, and Naomasa Yokawa delivered a three-run homer, only for the hosts to get two back on solo homers in the home half. Tobashira, who homered in the fourth, singled with a man on in the sixth to set the table for a three-run outburst against Joe Gunkel (1-2).

Soto’s two-run single put the BayStars up for the first time, but Gunkel earned the win after Sands turned things around in the seventh.

With one on and two out in the eighth, Suarez was called in to face Soto, and retired all four batters he faced to earn his 14th save.

Morishita earns 6th win

Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (6-2) allowed a run over seven innings and Ryosuke Kikuchi broke up a tie game with an RBI double in the Hiroshima Carp’s 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Mazda Stadium.

Morishita allowed five hits and a walk while walking one and striking out seven. The Swallows’ run came on Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s game-tying leadoff homer in the sixth.

“He has a good variety of pitchers, allowing him to navigate through the opposing batting order,” Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu said. “It’s great for a first-year pitcher to see so many batters, because I got the sense he was reading swings as he pitched.”

Seiya Suzuki doubled and scored on a Hisayoshi Chono single against Swallows lefty Keiji Takahashi in the fourth. Kikuchi broke the tie against Scott McGough (3-1) after Minoru Omori opened the inning with a leadoff pinch-hit double.

Geronimo Franzua worked the ninth to record his eighth save.

Dragons tie Giants, put Hara on hold

Naoki Yoshikawa tripled in two runs to eighth-inning runs for the Yomiuri Giants, and reliever Kota Nakagawa surrendered just one run after the Chunichi Dragons loaded the bases with one out in the eighth in their 2-2 10-inning tie at Nagoya Dome.

The tie prevented Giants manager Tatsunori Hara from earning his 1,067th career win that would move him out of a tie for the most in franchise history with Tetsuharu Kawakami, who managed the Giants to nine-straight Japan Series titles from 1965 to 1973.

Hara had praise for the left-hander who issued two one-out walks to load the bases, but allowed only one run to score on a ground out.

“It was amazing he kept them from doing more, considering he walked two and must have been questioning his command. Holding them to one run was really something,” Hara said.

First-year Giants import Angel Sanchez allowed a run over seven innings. Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth, while Yuhei Takanashi shut the Dragons down in the 10th, when the game was called a tie.

NOTE: The story originally said Hara was second in managing wins with the Giants. Former Giants manager Shigeru Mizuhara had nearly 500 more wins in his career, but only 881 of those came with the Giants.

Yanagita pours it on Eagles

Yuki Yanagita brought the SoftBank Hawks from behind with a three-run third-inning home run, and added another for good measure in a 4-2 win over the Rakuten Eagles that was twice delayed by rain at Sendai’s Raktuen Seimei Park Miyagi.

Trailing 2-0 to lefty Yuki Matsui in the third inning, a walk by Keizo Kawashima and an Akira Nakamura single brought Yanagita to the plate with one out and runners on the corners. Matsui missed in the heart of the zone with a decent 1-0 fastball and Yangita drove it out to left for an opposite field home run, his 21st of the season.

The game, which started 37 minutes late, was suspended again for 55 minutes with one out and two on in the bottom of the seventh.

Rookie Masami Iwami, who had opened the scoring with his first career home run faced lefty Livan Moinelo and grounded into a double play. The 26-year-old Iwami, the Eagles’ second pick in the 2017 draft, took SoftBank starter Nao Higashihama deep to lead off the second.

With two outs in the inning, rookie shortstop Hiroto Kobukata doubled and scored on a Daichi Suzuki single. Higashihama, who allowed four runners to reach in the first but no runs, left after five, having allowed six hits and four walks.

Former San Diego Padres right-hander Kazuhisa Makita took the mound for the Eagles in the eighth, and with two outs, surrendered Yanagita’s second home run.

Jones hits’ Japan’s magic milestone

Although he’s only played a few months here, the Orix Buffaloes happily celebrated Adam Jones’ reaching Japan’s iconic 2,000-hit milestone in their 12-4 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.

Jones entered the game with 1,939 career major league hits and 59 in the Pacific League for the Buffaloes. His second hit of the game, an RBI double was his 2,000th, which is in Japan — with it’s shorter seasons — what 3,000 is in the majors.

Only one imported player has ever had 2,000 hits in Japan, DeNA BayStars manager Alex Ramirez. Second on that list is Tuffy Rhodes with 1,792.

Two nights after they were one-hit, the Buffaloes cranked out 16 hits in the one-sided win. Corey Spangenberg hit his 10th home run for the Lions. The first-year import also hit his Japan-best 21st double. Spangenberg also leads both leagues with six triples.

Nakata hits 250th HR in Fighters’ win

Sho Nakata became the 64th player to reach 250 home runs in Japan when he capped a three-run first inning with his 24th of the season in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 5-3 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Marines right-hander Daiki Iwashita (4-5) allowed four runs over six innings to take the loss. He gave up five hits and a walk while striking out eight.

Former Cleveland Indians farmhand Toru Murata (1-1) struck out two over two perfect innings of relief to earn his first win in two years. Nick Martinez struck out three and walked two in a scoreless ninth to earn his first save in Japan. His only other save came with the Single-A Hickory Crawdads in 2012.

Active roster moves 9/10/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/20

Central League

Activated

TigersP48Yukiya Saito
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma
SwallowsC32Naoki Matsumoto

Dectivated

TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
CarpIF45Tatsuki Kuwahara
SwallowsP68Hirofumi Yamanaka
SwallowsC52Yuhei Nakamura

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP16Nao Higashihama
HawksP49Yuto Furuya
MarinesC53Naoya Emura
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu

Dectivated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksP48Yuta Watanabe
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura

Starting pitchers for Sept. 11, 2020

Pacific League

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

Ryota Ishibashi (1-3, 7.71) vs Kosei Yoshida (-)

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

Toshiya Nakamura (1-2, 4.50) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2, 4.15)

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

Matt Moore (1-1, 2.61) vs Zach Neal (3-4, 4.76)

Central League

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

Shosei Togo (7-3, 2.50) vs Albert Suarez (2-0, 0.53)

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

Shoichi Ino (5-3, 3.08) vs Yuya Yanagi (2-4, 3.30)

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

Yuki Nishi (5-3, 2.57) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-4, 6.04)

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 8-20 games and news

Marines traverse 10th-inning mine field to beat Hawks

The Lotte Marines pulled into a tie for the Pacific League lead on Thursday with the SoftBank Hawks, whom they beat 5-4 in 10 innings.

With the game tied 2-2 after nine innings, the Marines walked Yuki Yanagita with one out and a runner on third. As much as I hate intentional walks, facing Yanagita with the go-ahead run on third is not a pleasant thought. It still proved to be a poor decision as the free pass resulted in the Hawks scoring twice on a two-out Ryoya Kurihara single to make it 4-2.

The Marines got the first two runners on in the bottom of the 10th, but Shogo Nakamura had to beat the throw to first to stay out of the triple play. Leonys Martin then tied it with a home run off the wall behind the right-field stands at Zozo Marine Stadium. With two on and two out, Hawks reliever Arata Shiino uncorked a wild 3-2 pitch. Takashi Toritani, the 39-year-old former Hanshin Tigers captain who was signed over the winter after a tryout, took off from second with the pitch and scored to win it.

Shimauchi homer derails Fighters’ victory plans

Hiroaki Shimauchi’s two-out, two-strike, three-run homer off closer Ryo Akiyoshi took Rakuten Eagles starter Yuki Matsui off the hook for a tough loss while depriving Nippon Ham Fighters starter Nick Martinez of his second win as

Martinez threw five scoreless innings at Sapporo Dome, leaving only after a line drive stung his pitching hand as he recorded a tough out to end the fifth inning. Martinez got a lot of weak contac,t although he went through a stretch in the third where the Eagles seemed to be sitting fastball and he obliged them with misses in the heart of the zone.

Matsui, who is transitioning this season from closer to starter, allowed two runs on three hits and two walks over six innings. A leadoff walk and a single off a good pitch put runners on the corners. Matsui missed badly to Sho Nakata, but the Fighters cleanup hitter miss-timed it and hit a tough grounder into the hole, where rookie shortstop Hiroto Kobukata made a good play to record the second out as Haruki Nishikawa scored.

In the fourth inning, Nakata blasted a fastball in the heart of the zone in the well up into the outfield seats for his 19th home run of the season and his fourth in five games. Like Martinez, Matsui got away with some mistakes, but after the first inning, he established a rhythm as he mixed his bread-and-butter slider with well-located fastballs and splitters.

The Fighters scored off reliever J.T. Chargois in the seventh after leadoff hitter Ryo Watanabe put a good swing on a good low fastball to reach on a leadoff single. After pinch-hitter Kenshi Sugiya’s textbook sacrifice, Chargois, who had been unleashing some of the filthiest sliders you’ll see, hung one in the heart of the zone and light-hitting catcher Yushi Shimizu got it through the infield for an RBI single.

A trio of Fighters relievers, lefty Mizuki Hori, right-hander Taisho Tamai and lefty setup man Naoki Miyanishi retired nine straight, while Eagles right-hander Tomohiro Anraku survived loading the bases with two outs to keep it a 3-0 game going into the ninth.

After a one-out walk and a single, Akiyoshi struck out Eagles batting star Hideto Asamura for the second out. Shimauchi hit a foul fly that was nearly caught to run the count to 1-2, when the side-armer hung a fastball up in the zone, and the left-handed-hitting Shimauchi launched if 15 rows back into the distant right-field stands.

Veteran Chihiro Kaneko stranded a runner in scoring position and left the mound pumping his fist after striking out two batters looking at fastballs away to keep the game tied going into the bottom of the 10th.

Eagles right-hander Alan Busenitz, however, matched him in the bottom of the 10th, escaping a two-on, one-out jam against – despite a hanging 3-2 breaking ball to Nakata – to preserve the tie.

Lions send Nishimura out on losing note

What looked like a bullpen day for the Seibu Lions was one fitting their relief warhorse, Katsunori Hirai (5-2), who threw five scoreless innings in his first career start before six teammates finished up a 6-4 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Buffaloes skipper Norifumi Nishimura announced his resignation after the game and he will be replaced by long time former Nippon Ham Fighters player coach Satoshi Nakajima, who has coached with Orix since last year and is currently their Western League farm manager.

Giants complete shutout sweep of Tigers

Hayato Sakamoto drove in both runs to earn rookie Shosei Togo (6-2) the win in a 2-0 Yomiuri Giants victory over the Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo Dome that completed a three-game shutout sweep.

Togo worked 6-2/3 innings. He gave up three hits and a walk while striking out 11. Rubby De La Rosa worked a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save.

Koyo Aoyagi (5-3) allowed a run over six innings, with the lone run coming in the sixth off a hustling leadoff triple by Shinnosuke Shigenobu and a high first pitch to Hayato Sakamoto that was tailor made to drive for a long fly to bring in the run.

BayStars hammer Johnson in Peoples’ 1st win

First-year DeNA BayStars import Michael Peoples (1-1) allowed a run over five innings to earn his first win in Japan in a 12-1 blood-letting against the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Peoples allowed three hits, including Shota Dobayashi’s 10th home run, without issuing a walk. Carp starter Kris Johnson, the 2016 Sawamura Award winner, fell to 0-5 after allowing four runs over 5-1/3 innings. DeNA’s Neftali Soto, the two-time defending Central League home run champ, hit his ninth home run, a three-run shot in the eighth inning.

Swallows’ Takanashi stops Dragons’ streak

Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-2) allowed two runs over six innings for the Yakult Swallows in their 7-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium. The loss snapped Chunichi’s longest win streak of the year at four games.

The game was the first of the season for Swallows catcher Yuhei Nakamura, who during the summer fell victim to the team’s most frequent malady, a lack of upper-body fitness. Nakamura singled, had an RBI double, twice reached on errors and scored twice. Norichika Aoki broke a 2-2 tie, when he led off Yakult’s five-run fifth with his eighth home run.

Lions suspend 2 for covid-19 rule violations

The Seibu Lions have suspended two minor leaguers for violating the team’s protocols to prevent infections from the novel coronavirus, the Daily Sports reported Thursday.

The pair, 23-year-old infielder Ryuse Sato and 26-year-old outfielder Makoto Aiuchi, have been suspended indefinitely after it was learned that the two went to Chiba Prefecture to play golf when they were under orders to refrain from unnecessary activities.

Sato committed a moving violation while driving his car on their outing, ostensibly the reason they were caught out.

BayStars’ Patton has with lower-back sprain

DeNA BayStars reliever Spencer Patton (32) is dealing with a minor lower-back sprain manager Alex Ramirez revealed Thursday according to Sanspo.com.

The right-hander took the mound on Tuesday to start the eighth inning in Hiroshima, but left the game with lower-back stiffness after issuing a seven-pitch walk. According to Ramirez, Patton’s status is day to day.

Active roster moves 8/20/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/30

Central League

Activated

GiantsOF43Shinnosuke Shigenobu
BayStarsP45Michael Peoples
SwallowsP44Hiroki Onishi
SwallowsC52Yuhei Nakamura

Dectivated

GiantsP42Cristopher Mercedes
GiantsOF94Shuhei Kato
BayStarsP59Kentaro Taira
SwallowsP16Juri Hara
SwallowsP54Masato Nakazawa
SwallowsC57Yudai Koga

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP66Yuki Matsumoto
HawksIF36Taisei Makihara
FightersP27Nick Martinez

Dectivated

HawksP10Kotaro Otake
HawksIF6Kenta Imamiya
FightersP35Takahiro Nishimura

Starting pitchers for Aug. 21, 2020

Pacific League

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

Takayuki Kato (0-1, 3.98) vs Takahiro Norimoto (3-3, 3.95)

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

Ayumu Ishikawa (3-2, 4.21) vs Nao Higashihama (2-1, 2.90)

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

Sachiya Yamasaki (2-2, 4.46) vs Zach Neal (2-2, 5.26)

Central League

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

Daiki Yoshida (1-2, 4.81) vs Shintaro Fujinami (0-4, 4.00)

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

Takahiro Matsuba (2-3, 3.08) vs Shinichi Onuki (5-2, 1.86)

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

Masato Morishita (4-2, 2.31) vs Kazuto Taguchi (2-2, 4.03)