Tag Archives: Yuki Matsui

NPB 2020 Nov. 7

Saturday’s games

Other news

Marines recruit leads charge to playoffs

Rookie Kyota Fujiwara’s three-run home run brought the Lotte Marines from a run down in a 4-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes that put them in pole position to clinch a playoff spot on Sunday.

Kota Futaki (9-3) allowed a run in the first on a Steven Moya RBI single but held the Buffaloes off the board after that at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Trailing 1-0 in the fourth Fujiwara lined a pitch into the right-field stands with two on to make it 3-1. Frank Herrmann allowed one run in relief and Naoya Masuda another in the ninth. The closer had to sit through a short rain delay with two outs and the tying run on second but came back to earn his 31st save.

The win moves Lotte a half-game ahead of the Seibu Lions before the two teams square off in Chiba on Sunday. A Lotte loss or tie will keep the PL’s postseason picture in the dark until the teams finish their schedule on Monday. A Marines win will send them into the postseason for the first time since 2016.

Nakamura scores hat-trick in Lions comeback

Takeya Nakamura scored three runs as the Seibu Lions overcame a five-run first-inning deficit to earn a 6-6 10-inning tie against the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi on Saturday afternoon.

Seibu starting pitcher Tatsuya Imai surrendered six runs in jus two-thirds of an inning, but seven Seibu relievers combined to work 9-1/3 scoreless innings. Reed Garrett, fireballing rookie Kaima Taira and closer Tatsushi Masuda notched nine of the Lions’ 10 strikeouts in a combined 4-2/3 innings of work.

Shuta Tonosaki singled in a run for the Lions in the first and brought them to within a run when he led off the seventh by homering off D.J. Johnson. Nakamura doubled with one out and scored on Cory Spangenberg’s single to tie it.

Alan Busenitz worked a scoreless eighth for the Eagles, while Yuki Matsui struck out three over two scoreless innings to ensure Rakuten’s final game of the season did not end in defeat.

Akiyama wins it for Tigers

Takumi Akiyama (11-3) worked seven-plus innings, backed by an RBI double from Seiya Kinami and Yusuke Oyama’s 28th home run in the Hanshin Tigers’ 2-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Akiyama left after surrendering his third hit of the game to open the eighth. Forty-one-year-old lefty Atsushi Nomi, who is leaving the Tigers after the season for an uncertain future, “retired” 41-year-old catcher Yoshiyuki Ishihara, who is leaving the game at season’s end.

With the day’s sentimental journeys attended to, Jon Edwards entered an induced an inning-ending double play.

Robert Suarez earned his 25th save for the Tigers.

Sakamoto moves within 1 hit of 2,000

Two of the Central League’s biggest sluggers each went deep twice but they were overshadowed by the buzz surrounding Hayato Sakamoto’s pursuit of 2,000 hits in the Yomiuri Giants’ 6-2 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

Sakamoto, who turns 32 in December, recorded his 1,999th career hit in the third inning before Kazuma Okamoto extended his lead in the CL home run race with his 30th. Sakamoto is 53rd on Nippon Professional Baseball’s all-time hit list, and his 2,000th will tie him with former Lotte Marine Kazuya Fukuura.

The 24-year-old Okamoto has now hit 30 home runs in three straight seasons. Both Swallows runs came on 20-year-old Munetaka Murakami’s 27th and 28th home runs.

Iwakuma goes out a Giant

Are you kidding me? Hisashi Iwakuma, who ended his pro career in a Yomiuri Giants uniform after throwing two innings in the Eastern League for them in 2019, was given a hero’s sendoff at Tokyo Dome, with his teammates all wearing “Thanks Iwakuma” T-shirts.

Active roster moves 11/6/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/16

Central League

Activated

DragonsP19Kazuki Yoshimi
SwallowsP16Juri Hara
SwallowsP47Keiji Takahashi

Dectivated

GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
BayStarsP53Spencer Patton
BayStarsP94Takamasa Kasai
BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
BayStarsIF6Keito Mori
BayStarsIF23Tyler Austin
TigersP16Yuki Nishi
TigersP34Masaki Tanigawa
CarpP57Norihiko Tanaka
CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki
CarpOF59Minoru Omori
SwallowsP15Yuma Oshita
SwallowsP48Yuto Kanakubo

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesIF26Naoto Watanabe
BuffaloesP13Hiroya Miyagi
BuffaloesC62Katsuki Yamazaki

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Nov. 8, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ryota Takinaka (2-1, 3.18) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-4, 5.31)

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

Kota Futaki (8-3, 3.53) vs Tsubasa Sakakibara (1-3, 4.89)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (4-2, 3.43) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (10-7, 4.50)

Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuta Nakamura (3-3, 2.21) vs Takumi Akiyama (10-3, 3.09)

NPB 2020 Nov. 5

Thursday’s games

Other news

Higashihama’s luck runs out

Things went south in a hurry for Nao Higashihama, and the Lotte Marines exploited their advantage to pick up a crucial 6-1 win over the SoftBank Hawks on Thursday at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium to stay in the Pacific League playoff picture.

Higashihama (9-2) needed two big plays from Yusuke Masago. The Hawks center fielder saved two runs by making a catch against the wall in the second inning, but couldn’t quite haul in Hisanori Yasuda’s two-out fifth-inning fly to the gap in left.

The Marines came from a run down in the inning after Seiya Inoue, who was robbed by Masago in the second, got justice with a one-out broken-bat single. With first baseman Kenji Akashi holding the big Marine at first, Yudai Fujioka bounced one over his head to put two on. With two outs, a decent 0-2 fastball drifted into the heart of the zone, and the rookie Yasuda put a good swing on it, driving it to left center. Masago came up short and the ball bounced to the wall. Fujioka, who had to hesitate on the play scored on a close play at the plate.

Trailing 2-1 in the sixth, Higashihama gave up a one-out single and three two-out walks.

Manabu Mima (10-4) allowed an unearned run in the third. With two on and two outs, he gloved a liner from Yuki Yanagita but lost control of the ball. He retrieved it and threw wide to first, scoring the Hawks’ only run of the game. With the tying run at the plate in the form of slugger Alfredo Despaigne, Hirokazu Sawamura came in and struck out the big Cuban on four straight splitters. The Marines’ lucky two-run fifth snapped a 28-scoreless-inning streak since Lotte scratched him for a run in the Hawks’ 5-1 win on Oct. 10.

Eagles ride late rally

Thirty-two-year-old veteran Ginji Akaminai and rookie Hiroto Kobukata each doubled in a ninth-inning run off Taiwan right-hander Chang-Yi (2-4) as the Rakuten Eagles broke up a 2-2 tie to beat the Orix Buffaloes 4-2 at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Former Padre Kazuhisa Makita (2-2) earned the win, and lefty Yuki Matsui earned his second save as he transitions back to the bullpen after spending the first half of the season transitioning to the starting rotation. Longtime starter Wataru Karashima, who spent the first half of the season in the bullpen, allowed two runs over seven innings in which he struck out 10, walked one and allowed five hits.

Ono earns Dragons an ‘A’

Sawamura Award winner in waiting Yudai Ono (11-6) struck out seven and walked one over seven innings to pitch the Chunichi Dragons to a 2-0 win over the DeNA BayStars at Nagoya Dome. The win clinched the Dragons’ first top-three “A-class” finish since 2012.

That 2012 second-place finish came under the late Morimichi Takagi in the first year after the club fired their best manager ever, Hiromitsu Ochiai, for not being fan friendly, and three years after the team’s parent company began cutting spending in the wake of the downturn in Japan’s newspaper business.

Ono leads the CL with a 1.82 ERA, 148 strikeouts, 10 complete games, six shutouts and 148-2/3 innings.

Speedy Murakami swipes 3 in 1 inning

Munetaka Murakami raised his career stolen base total to 16 with three in the second inning of the Yakult Swallows’ 8-7 loss to the Hanshin Tigers.

The steals came in his 265th career game, as he became the 17th player in Japan to manage the feat. The 20-year-old cleanup hitter singled, took second on the next pitch, stole third as part of a double steal. He stole home when the Tigers tried to pick off his teammate at second.

The feat hadn’t occurred in the CL since 1953. It last happened in Japan when Nippon Ham’s Makoto Shimada did it in 1979.

The Tigers overcame a seven-run implosion by right-hander Yuki Nishi.

Chono leads Carp, Sakamoto inches closer

Former Giant Hisayoshi Chono hit his 10th home run and set up the winning run with a 10th-inning leadoff single as the Hiroshima Carp came from behind to beat Yomiuri 5-4 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto belted his 18th home run in the sixth inning. The two-run shot tied it 2-2 and moved Sakamoto within two hits of 2,000 for his career.

Government slams ‘Tazawa Rule’

Japan’s government announced Thursday that it was a day late and a dollar short. According to the Mainichi Shimbun, the fair trade commission said it suspected Nippon Professional Baseball’s Tazawa Rule was a violation of Japan’s antimonopoly act.

NPB gave up on the rule this summer, and the FTC said it has dropped its investigation. The biggest surprise is less that the FTC dropped its inquiry than the realization that Japan actually has an antimonopoly law.

The rule in question was created in 2008 in the days before Tazawa, a top amateur prospect with corporate club Japan Energy, signed with the Boston Red Sox. The rule was aimed at players who turned pro overseas, and prohibited Japanese clubs from signing them after they returned to Japan for a period of two-to-three years.

The whole thing was riddled with irony, no less because the rule was put into place about the same time that lefty reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi was named Central League rookie of the year. Yamaguchi had turned pro in the United States, where he played rookie ball in Missoula, Montana.

The rule may have influenced high school pitchers Yusei Kikuchi and Shohei Ohtani as they chose to remain in Japan after declaring their intent to go overseas.

NPB did away with the Tazawa rule this summer when he returned to Japan and joined the Musashino Heat Bears of the independent Baseball Challenge League.

In retrospect, the rule negatively impacted Tazawa and NPB, while limiting the options of two other players who were keen on turning pro with a major league club, Yusei Kikuchi and Shohei Ohtani.

The rule prevented Tazawa from choosing to enter NPB’s 2019 draft rather than accept a camp invite with the Cincinnati Reds. It also prevented Japan from selecting him in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The 2013 squad, Japan’s first not to reach the final, was prohibited from selecting Tazawa, despite both head coach Masataka Nashida and pitching coach Tsuyoshi Yoshida saying how useful his participation would have been.

By getting rid of the rule, it made Tazawa eligible to be drafted last October, but no teams even took a flyer on him–a common practice when a player has broken one of the owners’ unwritten rules. Players of known quality who leave their teams in contract disputes have historically been ignored.

Martin re-enlists with Marines

Outfielder Leonys Martin, who is currently out with an ankle sprain and is expected to miss most or all of the postseason if the Lotte Marines qualify, has agreed to a two-year extension, ESPN’s Enrique Rojas has reported.

The deal according to Rojas is worth $6 million. The 32-year-old joined Lotte just before last year’s July 31 new-signing deadline joined Lotte just before last year’s July 31 new-signing deadline. Since then, he has made a big contribution with his powerful arm and his home run pop.

Although his numbers have been remarkably consistent since he arrived, his on-base percentage has jumped in 2020 because he is leading both of Japan’s leagues in being hit by pitches with 17, in 448 plate appearances.

Active roster moves 11/5/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/15

Central League

Activated

SwallowsP44Hiroki Onishi

Dectivated

BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto
CarpP66Atsushi Endo
SwallowsP19Masanori Ishikawa

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesOF25Ryo Nishimura

Dectivated

FightersP18Kosei Yoshida
BuffaloesOF00Hayato Nishiura

Starting pitchers for Nov. 6, 2020

Pacific League

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

Takayuki Kishi (6-0, 3.39) vs Shota Hamaya (3-2, 4.84)

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

Hiroya Miyagi (0-1, 4.09) vs Ryusei Kawano (3-4, 5.13)

Central League

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

Kazuki Yoshimi (1-2, 5.71) vs Keiji Takahashi (1-3, 3.98)

NPB 2020 Oct. 30

Friday’s games

Other news

Giants tie up title

The Yomiuri Giants got exactly what they needed to clinch their second straight pennant on Friday after the second-place Tigers tied. Knowing Hanshin had been held to a 3-3 tie in Yokohama. The Giants began celebrating as soon as they held the Yakult Swallows scoreless in the top of the 10th at Tokyo Dome in their own 3-3 tie.

The Swallows tied it 3-3 in the eighth, and Scott McGough allowed the Giants to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth but kept them from scoring, which was pretty much the story of the game as both team had big chances to score but failed at the last hurdle.

Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, whose team remained mired in a five-game losing streak and who barely scraped out a tie, said the game was a fitting pennant clincher in a season that only barely happened and said he was proud of the effort baseball had made to get it in.

The Swallows tied it in the fifth but failed to break the game open, stranding multiple runners in scoring position in the fifth and seventh.

The Giants, turned away in the fourth by starter Hiroaki Saiuchi, took the lead in the sixth when Yoshihiro Maru doubled and scored on a Takumi Oshiro single but left the bases loaded against rookie Naruki Terashima.

Kazuma Okamoto put some juice with a one-handed swing on a low straight fastball from Saiuchi in the bottom of the third to raise his league-leading home run total to 29 and make it a 2-1 game after Taishi Hirooka homered off Nobutaka Imamura in the top of the third.

Hirooka singled in the fifth, stole second and scored the tying run on singles by 19-year-old rookie Hideki Nagaoka and Yasutaka Shiomi.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto, their 31-year-old shortstop, moved within four hits of 2,000 in his career. Giants flame thrower Thyago Vieira hit 101 mph on the gun in the Swallows’ scoreless 10th.

Giants-Swallows highlights

BayStars tackle Tigers

Jose Lopez tied it in the ninth with a two-run home run off Tigers closer and fellow Venezuelan Robert Suarez. Lopez’s homer was his 10th of the season and his 999th hit since coming to Japan in 2013 with the Giants. With one more hit he will join Hideki Matsui and former Seattle Mariners teammate Ichiro Suzuki as third player with 1,000 hits in both MLB and NPB.

Joe Gunkel started for the Tigers and allowed a run over six innings and got the Tigers first-run started with a third-inning leadoff single. Jefry Marte went 2-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and an RBI, while Gunkel sacrificed a runner to contribute to the Tigers’ third run. Jon Edwards pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the visitors.

Carp blow up Dragons

Rookie leadoff man Minoru Omori and No. 2 hitter Kosuke Tanaka each drove in four runs and Seiya Suzuki came off the bench to deliver a game-tying seventh-inning single before hitting a two-run homer in the eighth as the Hiroshima Carp flayed the Chunichi Dragons in a 17-3 whipping at Nagoya Dome.

Rookie catcher Ariel Martinez marked his first-team return after a 10-week injury layoff by coming off the bench to bat for Cuban compatriot Yariel Rodriguez and delivered tie-breaking pinch-hit double in the fifth. Rodriguez allowed two unearned runs over five innings.

More zeros for Higashihama

Nao Higashihama (9-1) threw eight scoreless innings and Yuito Mori closed it out for his 30th save after Takeya Nakamura’s two-run ninth inning homer made it a one-run game as the SoftBank Hawks held off the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome 4-3.

Higashihama, the Hawks’ Opening Day starter has now thrown 24 consecutive scoreless innings, and has allowed two runs over his last 39-2/3 innings. Ukyo Shuto extended his record streak of consecutive games with a stolen base to 13.

The Lions’ loss left them in third place, one game out of the second and final Pacific League playoff spot and only half a game ahead of the fourth-place Rakuten Eagles.

Eagles go back to basics with Matsui

Former closer Yuki Matsui struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to preserve a 2-1 Rakuten Eagles win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium in his first save of the season after Takayuki Kishi (6-0) allowed a run over eight innings.

Kishi struck out 10 without issuing a walk while allowing four hits. Hideto Asamura drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Hirokazu Sawamura (0-2). Matsui’s return to the starting rotation was a key part of the Eagles plans this season, but he moved to middle relief after making 10 starts.

Yamaoka goes distance

Orix Buffaloes Opening Day starter Taisuke Yamaoka (4-5) allowed two runs over the distance while striking out eight to outduel Nick Martinez (2-7) in a 3-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome. Steven Moya halved the Fighters’ 2-0 lead in the fourth with an RBI double.

Active roster moves 10/30/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/9

Central League

Activated

BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa
TigersP49Joe Gunkel
DragonsC57Ariel Martinez

Dectivated

BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP36Sho Ito
LionsOF53Aito Takeda
HawksOF32Tatsuru Yanagimachi
EaglesP15Jon Thomas Chargois
EaglesP20Tomohiro Anraku
FightersC22Shinya Tsuruoka

Dectivated

LionsP57Tsubasa Kokuba
LionsOF72Seiji Kawagoe
HawksP37Matt Moore
EaglesP52Taisei Tsurusaki
EaglesOF46Ko Shimozuru
FightersIF44Christian Villanueva

Starting pitchers for Oct. 31, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ryusei Kawano (2-4, 5.59) vs Andrew Albers (4-7, 3.55)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ken Togame (1-1, 6.16) vs Shuta Ishikawa (9-3, 2.54)

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

Kota Futaki (7-3, 3.50) vs Ryota Ishibashi (1-5, 6.05)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Tomoyuki Sugano (13-2, 2.05) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (10-6, 4.29)

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

Shoichi Ino (6-6, 3.56) vs Takumi Akiyama (9-3, 3.00)

Dragons vs Carp: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahiro Matsuba (3-7, 4.24) vs Yuta Nakamura (3-3, 2.08)

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)