Right-hander Shuta Ishikawa allowed two runs over 5-1/3 innings as the SoftBank Hawks’ wiped out the Yomiuri Giants13-2 in Sunday’s Game 2 of the Japan Series to take a 2-0 series lead.
The win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome extended SoftBank’s record postseason winning streak to 14 games and extended their record for Japan Series wins to 10.
Yurisbel Gracial, the 2019 series MVP scored three runs and drove in two with his first home run of the series, while Cuban compatriot Alfredo Despaigne iced the game with a seventh-inning grand slam.
The Giants broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fifth, when Zelous Wheeler, who drove in Yomiuri’s run in Saturday’s 5-1 loss, hit a two-run home run.
Ishikawa allowed four hits, a walk and hit a batter while striking out seven, but left after allowing back-to-back one-out singles in the sixth with SoftBank leading 7-2. Lefty Shinya Kayama struck out Yoshihiro Maru and submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi loaded the bases with a walk before striking out Hiroyuki Nakajima to end the inning without a run scoring.
Yuki Yanagita, whose RBI double opened the scoring in SoftBank’s three-run first against lefty Nobutaka Imamura, singled and scored on Gracial’s two-run third-inning homer and walked ahead of Despaigne’s slam.
No team had scored 12 runs in a game since Game 2 of the 2010 series, when the trickery of Lotte Marines manager Norifumi Nishimura backfired in a one-sided loss.
Nishimura tried to fool the Chunichi Dragons into thinking Bill Murphy would not start by keeping him out in the outfield during pregame practice instead of having come in early. Murphy never got into a rhythm and allowed seven runs in 1-1/3 innings.
The last time a team scored 13 runs was the Daiei Hawks’ 13-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers in Game 2 of the 2003 series.
Ryoya Kurihara introduced himself in a big way to the Japan Series on Saturday with a homer, two doubles, and four RBIs in Game 1. And that was just his first three at-bats. Kurihara’s offensive explosion carried SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga to a 5-1 win.
The 24-year-old SoftBank Hawks outfielder, who entered the season with 57 plate appearances, became a regular slammed a two-run homer off Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano in the second, doubled and was thrown out at the plate in the fourth, and belted a two-run double in the sixth.
Senga delivered a prototypical outing. His fastball hummed and often jumped, while his split and slider were unpredictable. The Giants hitters did a good job of fouling off the fastball and laying off his secondary pitches.
Hiroyuki Nakajima and Naoki Nishikawa both hammered splitters that failed to tumble and drove them to the wall in the fifth inning but both balls were caught.
Sugano was also pretty close to his season norms as he tried to stay just out of the strike zone and get people to chase, and did get some weak swings on the corners but also fell behind hitters, and gave up his share of hard-hit balls.
The Giants went to rookie Shosei Togo in the seventh, while Senga stayed in to work the home half as his pitch count crossed the 100-mark.
Hawks leadoff man Ukyo Shuto made it 5-0 in the eighth, by drawing a walk off lefty Yuki Takahashi, stealing second and scoring on an Akira Nakamura single.
The Hawks entered the series with the longest postseason winning streak in NPB history, 12 games dating back to Game 2 of the 2019 PL Climax Series first stage. They also set an NPB record by winning their ninth straight series game, dating back to Game 3 of the 2018 series.
The Giants entered having lost five straight series games, their last win coming against Masahiro Tanaka in Game 6 of the 2013 series, his final start in Japan, although he came in to save Game 7.
Livan Moinelo dazzled the Giants with his fastball and curve, striking out three in the eighth before closer Yuito Mori did his usual thing, loading the bases and allowing a run before closing it out.
The game’s attendance of 16,489 — restricted due to the novel coronavirus pandemic — was the series first under 20,000 since Game 8 of the 1986 affair, when 16,828 attended a Monday afternoon game when the teams finished the first seven games tied 3-3-1.
In the kind of snit Yomiuri is famous for, its TV network cut away the game’s only live broadcast for commercials instead of airing Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo’s postgame interview. This is reminiscent of the Yomiuri Shimbun’s coverage of Game 6 of the 1996 series.
That year, every newspaper in Japan had a front page photo of Ichiro Suzuki and the Orix BlueWave celebrating their Japan Series championship, except Japan’s top financial paper, the Nikkei Shimbun and the Yomiuri, whose team lost.
SoftBank Hawks Opening Day starter Nao Higashihama (7-1) allowed a run over eight innings in a 5-1 win over the Lotte Marines on Saturday at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome that kept his team atop the Pacific League standings.
The win was SoftBank’s fifth in16 tries this season against their nemeses, who pulled into a virtual tie with a 3-1 win on Friday.
Higashihama gave up three hits and three walks while striking out eight. Rookie Kazuki Sugiyama pitched around a pair of one-out singles in the ninth to close it out.
Keizo Kawashima opened SoftBank’s account in the second with a one-out single off rookie lefty Toshiya Nakamura (2-5). He scored on a Nobuhiro Matsuda double, and Ryoya Kurihara capped the inning with his 14th home run.
The Marines changed pitchers in the third, with rookie Takuro Furuya making his first-team debut. The right-hander issued a one-out walk to Akira Nakamura. A wild pitch and a Yuki Yanagita single made it 4-0.
A base-running out by Matsuda allowed Furuya to work around a single and three straight walks in the fourth. The Marines got their lone run in the sixth on a Kenji Nishimaki double and a Kyota Fujiwara single. Both were called up Tuesday, when the Marines switched out 11 players following a series of coronavirus infections.
Yurisbel Gracial completed the scoring in the seventh with his ninth home run.
Arihara throws 1st shutout
Nippon Ham Fighters ace Kohei Arihara (6-8) did everything right in his six-hitter except get Pacific League batting leader Masataka Yoshida out in a 4-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome.
Yoshida went 3-for-4 with a double to raise his average to .354, but his teammates couldn’t solve the right-handed Arihara.
“Their hitters came in ready to swing at the first pitch and I used that to my advantage,” said Arihara, who walked two and struck out six.
Buffaloes right-hander Taisuke Yamaoka (2-4) allowed three runs over six innings on six hits, a walk and a hit batsman but got zero run support for the second straight outing. He gave up a one-out solo homer to Ryo Watanabe in the second and two more runs in the sixth before making his exit.
“I was the one who allowed the first run. And that was the ballgame,” said Yamaoka.
Hatake silences Dragons
Yomiuri Giants right-hander Seishu Hatake extended a pre-game moment of silence at Nagoya Dome, muting the Chunichi Dragons’ offense for seven innings in a 7-1 win.
With the home team wearing the No. 88 of late Dragons manager and Hall of Fame second baseman Morimichi Takagi, who passed away in January, a moment of silence was observed in his memory.
Hatake (3-3) overcame an awkward start as he worked seven scoreless innings after allowing five this and three walks. Dragons starter Yariel Rodriguez (2-4) kept the Giants in check until the wheels fell off in a four-run fifth.
Rodriguez, who had impressed in his first two outings this season against the Giants, allowed a second-inning run on a Yoshihiro Maru single and a Zelous Wheeler double.
The right-hander struck out the side in the third and fourth before Wheeler singled to open the fifth. Wheeler was caught stealing for the second out on a busted run-and-hit, but Gerardo Parra followed with the first of five straight hits.
Wheeler homered in the sixth, while Zoilo Almonte cashed in the Dragons’ only run with an eighth-inning RBI single.
Austin, Soto overpower Tigers
Tyler Austin hit his 16th home run and Neftali Soto continued to climb back into the home race with his 20th and 21st homers as the DeNA BayStars overcame an early two-run deficit to beat the Hanshin Tigers 5-3 at Koshien Stadium.
Tigers starter Joe Gunkel (1-4) allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits over six innings. He struck out four without a walk.
Austin homered in the third and Soto went deep in the fourth to make it a 2-2 game. Hanshin’s Yusuke Oyama singled in his second run of the game in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead for the Tigers. Austin re-tied it in the fifth with an RBI single, Soto homered in the sixth and Austin singled in another run in the seventh.
Rookie Hiromu Ise (1-0), the BayStars’ third pick last autumn, struck out two in two perfect innings to earn his first career win. Spencer Patton and Edwin Escobar followed with one scoreless inning apiece before Kazuki Mishima earned his 13th save.
Jon Edwards allowed one run in an inning of relief for the Tigers.
Rookie Morishita dodges bullets for 8th win
The Hiroshima Carp’s top pick in last year’s draft, Masato Morishita extricated from a pair of bases-loaded predicaments to go six innings in a 3-0 victory over the Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.
Morishita (8-3) allowed four hits, issued three walks and hit a batter while striking out eight. Koki Ugusa, the Carp’s second pick last autumn, had two hits, driving in two in the fifth with a high chopper over the head of the shortstop.
“It’s not like we didn’t have an approach planned for him (Morishita),” Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu said. “We just didn’t do a very good job of executing it.”
Tsuji slams decision to start in rain
Seibu Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji was not in a forgiving mood on Saturday when Daiki Enokida, called up to bolster his depleted starting rotation, needed to throw 75 pitches against the Rakuten Eagles in a game that began in the rain Sendai and was called after three innings.
The game is to be replayed on Tuesday, putting Tsuji in a bind.
“This is a problem, because we simply don’t have the pitchers,” Tsuji said.
The game started in a steady rain, with water standing in pools.
“Common sense would tell you we couldn’t play baseball in that,” Tsuji said.
Active roster moves 10/10/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/20
The Lotte Marines had enough trouble on Tuesday without having to face Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who allowed two hits and two walks over eight innings to improve to 8-3 in the Orix Buffaloes’ 3-0 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.
The Marines played the game after the local health authorities told them it would not be necessary to call it off despite the club having become an official coronavirus cluster with two positive tests on Sunday and 11 more on Tuesday – when the test results were announced a day later than expected.
Yamamoto struck out nine, and closer Brandon Dickson picked up the pace with two strikeouts in the ninth to secure his 12th save in a game played like no one wanted to stick around the ballpark any longer than they had to. The game wrapped up in 2 hours 27 minutes.
Ayumu Ishikawa, the Marines’ Opening Day starter, allowed all three runs over seven innings to fall to 7-4.
Takahashi outduels Senga
Reliever Kaima Taira got Lions starter Kona Takahashi (6-8) out of a seventh-inning jam with a double play as the Seibu Lions got past SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga in a 3-1 win at MetLife Dome.
Senga (7-6) walked a career-high seven batters but still kept it close, allowing just one run over six innings in a 142-pitch effort.
Takahashi struck out eight, hit a batter and walked one while allowing two hits over 6-1/3 innings.
Tomoya Mori drove in all three Lions runs with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly and a two-run eighth-inning triple. Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda allowed a run in the ninth but notched his 24th save.
Fighters pluck win from Norimoto
Taishi Ota’s 11th home run of the year brought the Nippon Ham Fighters from behind against Rakuten Eagles’ ace Takahiro Norimoto (5-5) in a 5-3 win at Sapporo Dome.
Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-4) allowed three runs, one earned, over 6-1/3 innings to earn the win.
Sugano earns 100th career win
Tomoyuki Sugano improved to 13-0 thanks to some solid run support to earn his 100th career victory in the Yomiuri Giants’ 6-4 win over the DeNA BayStars at Tokyo Dome.
Yoshihiro Maru broke a 1-1 tie with a third-inning home run off rookie Yuya Sakamoto (3-1) who took his first career loss. Sugano had a fourth-inning hiccup when some poor pitches led to a two-run Jose Lopez homer. Zelous Wheeler canceled that out in the fifth with a two-run shot off former BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki. Tyler Austin went deep off lefty Kota Nakagawa in the eighth for his 14th home run.
The Giants ace allowed three runs over seven innings on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth for his 15th save.
Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-4) worked 7-2/3 innings against a depleted Yakult Swallows lineup squad and their scheduled starting pitcher in the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-0 win at Nagoya Dome.
Announced Swallows starter Yasuhiro Ogawa was scratched after developing a fever. Out of concern of a possible coronavirus infection, the Swallows also kept star second baseman Tetsuto Yamada, shortstop Naomichi Nishiura and closer Taichi Ishiyama off the game roster. Ogawa tested negative, and the other three players are expected to play from Wednesday.
In Ogawa’s absence, the Swallows turned to rookie Takuma Kubo (0-1), who allowed all four runs in the second inning to earn his first career loss in his first career start. Katsuno allowed five hits, a walk, and hit a batter while striking out six.
Tigers, Carp draw
Hanshin Tigers closer Robert Suarez allowed the tying run to score in the bottom of the 10th but got out of the inning with the potential winning run on base in a 4-4 10-inning tie with the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.
Marines getting presidential
Perhaps the Lotte Marines’ home park should be known as the White House, where Wednesday’s game against the Orix Buffaloes went ahead after the local health authorities — perhaps following Donald Trump’s advice that we shouldn’t fear the virus– said there was no reason to cancel.
After over a day of waiting for test results that should have been known Monday after a game that shouldn’t have been played Sunday, the Lotte Marines announced Tuesday afternoon that seven players and four members of the team staff have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officially making the Marines Japan’s first pro sports body in Japan to become an infection cluster.
In addition to them, four others have been determined to have been in close contact with pitcher Daiki Iwashita, who fell ill on Saturday and returned a positive test on Sunday, the same day the team hosted the Seibu Lions. The four were seated near him on the team’s flight on Friday from Chitose Airport to Haneda Airport.
At the same time, the Marines announced that their Eastern League farm game against the DeNA BayStars’ minor leaguers had been called off, ostensibly because much of the farm team will be needed to replace the first team on the active roster. Wednesday’s game has also been scratched.
The infected and those in close contact have made 1,167 plate appearances this season, slightly more than one third of the team’s total and have accounted for 129-1/3 innings pitched of the team’s 811 this season.
On Sunday, the Marines tested everyone connected to the first team, but Monday and came and the club shrugged its shoulders and said, “Sorry. We haven’t heard anything.”
Iwashita fell ill after he returned from the team’s roadtrip to Sapporo, where he allowed two runs over six innings in his start.
One first-team staff member, who was not deemed to have been in close contact with Iwashita, also tested positive on Sunday.
On Sept. 25, the Hanshin Tigers called up nine players from their farm team to replace four who tested positive and five others who had been in close contact with them. The following day, the Tigers were only able to suit up 17 minor leaguers for their Western League farm game.
P Daiki Iwashita
OF Takashi Ogino
OF Katsuya Kakunaka
OF Ikuhiro Kiyota
OF Tsuyoshi Sugano
IF Takeshi Toritani
SS Yutai Fujioka
IF Ryo Miki
Assistant coach Shota Ishimine
Four members of 1st team staff
Who’s been in contact
P Yusuke Azuma
P Fumiya Ono
OF Koshiro Wada
P Daiki Yamamoto
Swallows’ Ogawa held back due to fever
The Yakult Swallows pulled scheduled starter Yasuhiro Ogawa from Tuesday’s game against the Chunichi Dragons after the 30-year-old right-hander developed a 37.3 C fever. He was ordered to rest at the team’s hotel in Nagoya.
The Swallows opted to pull infielders Tetsuto Yamada and Naomichi Nishiura and closer Taichi Ishiyama from the game roster for Tuesday’s game game pending the result of a test on Ogawa.
Ramirez rumors starting again: Sponichi
Sports Nippon Annex reported Tuesday that the DeNA BayStars are considering replacing manager Alex Ramirez with minor league manager and former ace pitcher Daisuke Miura.
There appears nothing more concrete to this story than there was six weeks ago when some pundits picked apart Ramirez’s work and pointing out his unorthodox decisions, in an effort to promote the candidacy of someone else–hopefully someone who could then gift them coaching jobs with the team.
The team’s owner, Tomoko Namba, has indicated the team’s mission is to win, and a former DeNA international employee has said the pressure within the organization to do so–despite a limited talent base–is extreme and has turned the BayStars’ front office into a pressure cooker.
Active roster moves 10/6/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/16
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
Cuban rookie Yariel Rodriguez didn’t bring his best command to Tokyo Dome on Saturday, when the Yomiuri Giants pummeled him in a 12-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons.
In his two previous starts against the Giants, Rodriguez (2-1) allowed three runs over 13-1/3 innings. But this time, the right-hander missed too many pitches, Giants hitters put good swings on what they saw, and seven-time Golden Glove-winning center fielder Yohei Oshima made a huge error in a five-run second inning.
“Today’s opposing pitcher has tremendous stuff, so our focus was on trying not to do too much, basically try and hit it back up the middle. He did miss a little and we handled some of those well,” Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said.
“We were trying to get one run and things went our way in a hurry.”
Lefty Nobutaka Imamura (2-0) allowed the Dragons to open the scoring in the top of the second on a Dayan Viciedo single and a walk. A force at second set up a possible double play on a comebacker. Imamura went for it instead of checking Viciedo, who scored when the Giants failed to turn two.
But after a five-run fifth, in which he drove in the tying run, Imamura executed pitches. He allowed a run over seven innings on six hits and two walks while striking out eight.
Taking a 1-0 lead into the second, Rodriguez struck Yoshihiro Maru out swinging on a slider in the dirt. But four-straight balls put a man on, and Takumi Oshiro did well to get the head on a 2-2 low inside fastball and hit a flare to left. Akihro Wakabayashi fouled off a pair of 2-2 pitches before lashing a hanging slider for a single to load the bases.
With the pitcher up, Rodriguez had a chance to get out of the inning, but Imamura fouled off a couple of fastballs before knocking a straight 1-2 heater down the pipe between third and short to tie it 1-1. Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto chased a slider high and away, but the ball hit off the end of the bat and landed in shallow center for a single. Oshima charged the ball to set up a throw to the plate but came up empty and by the time left fielder Zoilo Almonte retrieved it and got the ball back, Sakamoto was on second with a two-run single and three runs had scored.
“There were some anxious early moments for him (Imamura),” Hara said. “But with the big rally, and his getting a hit in that, he began establish his fastball. He mixed in his secondary pitches, and pitched up to his abilities.”
Rodriguez hit Zelous Wheeler with a pitch before Kazuma Okamoto singled in Sakamoto with two outs. The right-hander then retired the last seven batters he faced before making his exit and the Giants exploded for seven runs over the final four innings, including two on Wheeler’s eighth home run.
Fujinami fails to earn 2nd win
Right-hander Shintaro Fujinami nearly squandered a five-run lead, exiting in the fifth inning in the Hanshin Tigers’ 6-5 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda stadium.
Jerry Sands opened the Tigers’ three-run third with a single and and singled their two-run third off ace Daichi Osera (5-3). But Shota Dobayashi scored three runs for the hosts and Ryohei Matsuyama continued to hit the ball hard when it counts, delivering one-run singles in each of the fourth and fifth innings.
Jose Pirela also reached base three times for the Carp and drove in a run.
Tigers lefty Yuta Iwasada (3-2) earned the win for 1-1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Joe Gunkel worked a scoreless seventh for the Tigers.
Soto, ‘Stars pen stops Swallows
Neftali Soto singled in a run in the DeNA BayStars’ two-run first, and was credited with three more in their 9-3 come-from-behind win over the Yakult Swallows at Yokohama Stadium.
Five DeNA relievers allowed three hits but no walks or runs over the final five innings to seal the win.
BayStars right-hander Shinichi Onuki was yanked after blowing a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Yuki Kuniyoshi (3-2) took over in the fifth and struck out the side. He then led off the BayStars’ five-inning fifth with a single en route to earning the win.
Nominal BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki allowed single and a double with one out in the eighth but no runs came across. The fourth of five reliei
Swallows starter Matt Koch (2-0) allowed seven run, two earned, on 10 hits. He struck out two but did not walk a batter in his 4-2/3-inning stint.
Moore returns, earns 1st Japan win
Matt Moore survived a scary swing from Sho Nakata to work five scoreless innings,while Nippon Ham Fighters ace Kohei Arihara was victimized by a pair of errors as the SoftBank Hawks won 3-0 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.
Moore (1-1) was pitching for the first time since he was scratched from a July 7 start due to a left calf muscle injury. With two on and one out in the first, he left a knuckle curve up and away to Nakata. The Fighters cleanup hitter got under it a tiny bit too much and only managed a towering fly to the warning track in left.
Speedster Ukyo Shuto put the Hawks on the board by beating out a one-out bunt in the third and going to second on the errant throw to first. Arihara followed a walk by getting a double play grounder, but second baseman Ryo Watanabe’s throw to his shortstop missed and Shuto scored. With runners on second and third, Yurisbel Gracial squared up an 0-1 fastball down the pipe, but hit a bullet to short for the second out. Arihara got out of the inning by getting Friday’s hero for the Hawks, Ryoya Kurihara, to go down swinging at a good changeup in the dirt.
Moore (1-1) allowed four hits and walked three while striking out seven in a 95-pitch effort. Yuki Matsumoto retired all six Fighters he faced in the sixth and seven, while Livan Moinelo retired Nakata to escape the eighth with one on.
For the second-straight game, closer Yuito Mori allowed three hits in the ninth but a base-running error helped him record his 16th save.
Arihara (3-6) worked seven innings, allowing an unearned run on three walks and four hits while striking out seven in his third-straight solid outing.
Asked about the errors behind him, Arihara said, “They helped me out a lot of times today.”
Martin again provides Marines’ firepower
Leonys Martin’s 17th home run did not reach the third deck at Kyocera Dome as each of his two home runs had the day before, but his two-run fourth-inning home run off Chang Yi (1-2) overturned a 1-0 deficit in the Lotte Marines’ 5-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes.
Here’s a collection of Martin’s latest blasts:
Kota Futaki (2-2) allowed a first-inning run on back-to-back one-out doubles by Masahiro Nishino and Keita Nakagawa but retired Masataka Yoshida and Adam Jones to end the inning and left the game with 2-1 lead after seven. He scattered six hits but walked none and struck out eight.
The Buffaloes threatened to tie in the fifth, but with two outs and a runner on second, rookie center fielder Koshiro Wada made a diving catch in the gap to rob Shuhei Fukuda an RBI double.
The Marines got to Chang for two more runs in the eighth. Martin scored the third run of the inning after being intentionally walked.
Spangenberg rakes as Nolin wins debut
Corey Spangenberg went 4-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs, while Sean Nolin (1-0) allowed three runs over six innings to earn the win in the Seibu Lions’ 6-3 victory over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.
Rookie Sena Tsuge, Seibu’s fifth pick in last autumn’s draft, homered for the second-straight game to make it 2-0 in the third against Takahiro Shiomi (3-5).
Nolin did not allow a base runner until the fourth, when he led 5-0. Eigoro Mogi singled with two outs and scored on former Lion Hideto Asamura’s 18th homer. Stefen Romero opened the Eagles’ fifth with this 17th.
J.T. Chargois walked a pair of batters in the top of the sixth, and Spangenberg completed the scoring with an RBI single.
The Eagles loaded the bases against Lions closer Reed Garrett with one out in the eighth, but he struck out Romero and ended the inning on a grounder to the pitcher. Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda worked the ninth for his 13th save.
Nolin, a first-year-import, allowed five hits but no walks while striking out six in a 100-pitch effort.