Tsuyoshi Wada returned from COVID quarantine and the Hawks must be keen to build him up since they sent him out in relief for just the first time in five years and his fifth time in 16 seasons with the Hawks. Between that and two home runs from Yuki Yanagita, things should have been looking bright for SoftBank.
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At Jingu, the other league leaders welcomed back a big cohort of players from COVID quarantine as they tried to salvage the final game of their three-game series against Hiroshima, who decided not to start Shogo Akiyama who may have worn himself out from running around the bases on Friday and Saturday.
Buffaloes 7, Hawks 4: At Osaka Dome, Yuki Yanagita’s one-out homer tied it 1-1 fourth before Alfredo Despaigne walked, Kenta Imamiya doubled and Yurisbel Gracial singled both home off Daiki Tajima.
Yuma Mune singled off Nao Higashihama to drive in Shuhei Fukuda in the third. Yanagita’s 13th home run made it 4-1 in the fifth, but Mune singled in Masataka Yoshida for the first run in Orix’s three-run fifth. Kotaro Kurebayashi singled in Yutaro Sugimoto and Mune scored on a sac fly to tie it off Higashihama.
Thirty-nine-year-old Motoki Higa (2-0) struck out the Hawks in the sixth, and Wada took the mound for the first time in over a month in the home half. He issued a leadoff walk but gave up a two-out single to Yoshida and a two-run Sugimoto double. Kenya Wakatsuki added a solo homer for the Buffaloes in the seventh.
Three more relievers worked scoreless innings with Jacob Waguespack getting his first save.
Eagles 9, Lions 2: At Seibu Dome, Rakuten avoided falling into fifth place by getting six straight one-out hits in a four-run third-inning off Katsunori Hirai (5-5), while Wataru Karashima (3-2) held the Lions to a two-run Shuta Tonosaki home run over five innings.
Rookie Atsuki Muto tripled to open the Eagles’ third and scored on Ryosuke Tatsumi’s single. Tatsumi singled twice, homered, scored three runs and drove in two for third-place Rakuten, who lead fourth-place Lotte on wining percentage. The Lions enter the all-star break a half game back of the Hawks.
Fighters 5, Marines 4: At Sapporo Dome, Yuma Imagawa homered for the second straight day, hitting a first-inning grand slam off Enny Romero (7-5). Brandon Laird homered in his old home park for the second straight day, too, his 14th homer, off Hiromi Ito (8-7) making it 4-1 in the second.
Seiya Inoue singled in Takashi Ogino and Akito Takabe in the third, and doubled in Ogino in the seventh to tie it, only for Ryusei Sato to lead off the home half with a single and score the go-ahead run when Romero failed to find the bag on a Kotaro Kiyomiya’s two-out ground ball to first.
Swallows 4, Carp 2: At Jingu Stadium, Yakult returned to close to full strength after its COVID outbreak with catcher Yuhei Nakamura, center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi and second baseman Tetsuto Yamada all in the starting lineup for the first time in more than two weeks.
Cy Sneed (5-3) allowed two runs, one earned, over six innings, the bullpen delivered nine straight outs with Scott McGough getting his 25th save, as Domingo Santana, Hideoka Nagaoka, Yamada and Jose Osuna each hit a solo home run as Yakult avoided being swept at Jingu.
Tigers 1, BayStars 0: At Koshien Stadium, Joe Gunkel (5-5) got some solid defensive support allowing him to limit DeNA to six singles and no walks over six innings, and three relievers completed the seven-hit shutout as Hanshin, which set a CL record for the longest season-opening win streak, entered the all-star break at .500 in a tie for second with Hiroshima.
For the second time in franchise history, the Tigers reached .500 in a season after falling 15 games below.
Active roster moves 7/24/2022
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/3