Yomiuri Giants 4 - Hanshin Tigers 1
The Giants beat the Tigers behind a strong start by Shun Tono (6.1 IP, 2 H, 4 K, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 1 R, 1 ER). Marc Kroon pitched a scoreless 9th for his second save of the season. The Tigers countered with Atsushi Noumi, but he gave up 4 runs (all earned) on 5 hits, and 3 walks; he also struck out 10.
Tomoaki Kanemoto was held to a double and two walks in four trips to the plate. The only other Tiger to collect a hit was Takahiro Arai (1-for-4 with a double and 2 strike outs). Takuya Kimura (1-for-4, double, 2 RBI, 2 strike outs) and Yoshitomo Tani (1-for-3, 2 RBI) drove in all 4 of the Giants runs.
Kroon's save was his 127th of his NPB career and broke him away from a 13th place tie with Kazuhiko Ushijima on the NPB All-Time Saves List.
Going back to last season, the Tigers have now lost 9 straight against the Giants.
Time: 2h 52m
Yakult Swallows 3 - Yokohama Bay Stars 0
Yasuhiro Ichiba pitched in and recorded his first official win with the Yakult Swallows. He tossed a 5-inning shut-out while giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, 3 HBP, and 4 strike outs. Chang-Yong Lim threw a perfect 9th for his third save of the season. Ryan Glynn took his second straight loss in a Bay Stars uniforms, but actually didn't pitching horribly: 7 IP, 9 H, 7 K, 0 BB, 3 R, 3 ER.
The Swallows racked up 12 hits as a team but managed to only push 3 runs across the plate. Kazuki Fukuchi led the hit parade with a 3-for-5 day; Norichika Aoki picked up 2 hits in 5 trips to the plate. Aaron Guiel (1-for-4, double, 1 run, 1 RBI) and Shinya Miyamoto (2-for-4, double, 2 RBI) pushed across all three runs for the Swallows. The Bay Stars grounded into 3 double plays in the first three innings, effectively killing off any chances they may have had to score some runs.
Time: 3h 23m
Hiroshima Carp 2 - Chunichi Dragons 0
The Carp managed a win in their new digs on their second try. Kenta Maeda pitched a complete game shut-out, giving up only 5 hits and struck out 3. Weiyin Chen matched 0s with Maeda, but was lifted after 7 innings. His replacement, Akinobu Shimizu, immediately loaded the bases in the 8th (3 walks, 1 intentional); Nelson Payano and Shinsuke Saito each walked in a run.
Masahiko Morino was the lone player on either team to record 2 hits (2-for-4 with a double).
Time: 2h 54m
Seibu Lions 5 - Rakuten Eagles 2
Kohei Hasebe pitched a fairly effective 8 innings (2 runs, both earned, on 4 hits, 3 walks, 1 HBP and 3 strike outs), but essentially fell apart in the 9th to give away the game (.2 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 R, 2 ER). It probably would have made more sense to take Hasebe after the 8th (he was sitting on 97 pitches at that point), but Nomura trotted him back out for the 9th. Kazuki Hoashi (6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 K, 3 BB, 2 R, 2 ER) started for the Lions, but didn't factor into the decision. The second relief pitcher, Chikara Onodera (.2 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 0 R), ended up with the win. Alex Graman pitched a perfect 9th for his second save of the season.
Tomoaki Sato (2-for-4) powered the Lions offense, driving in 2 runs in the 5th on a single and 2 more runs in the 9th with a triple. The top of the Eagles line-up did it's job by going 8-for-10, but the rest of the line-up went hitless (0-for-23).
Time: 2h 47m
Orix Buffaloes 5 - Chiba Lotte Marines 2
Kazuki Kondo picked up his second victory in as many starts by going 6 innings while giving up 2 runs (both earned) on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strike outs. Daisuke Kato picked up his second save of the season with a scoreless 9th. Hiroyuki Kobayashi suffered the loss by giving up all 5 runs (all earned) on 6 hits, 1 walk, and 2 strike outs over 7 innings of work.
Both Tuffy Rhodes (1-for-3, 1 run, 2 RBI) and Takeshi Hidaka (1-for-3, 1 run, 2 RBI) hit 2-run home runs for the Buffaloes. Saburo Ohmura (3-for-4, double, home run, 1 run, 2 RBI) was responsible for both Marines' runs.
Rhodes 2-run shot was his 445th of his career. He now has sole possession of 12th place on the NPB All-Time HR list.
Time: 2h 46m
Nippon Ham Fighters 9 - Softbank Hawks 0
The Fighters somehow managed to get 5 scoreless innings out of Shugo Fujii (5 IP, 4 H, 4 K, 5 BB, 1 HBP, 0 R) and the bullpen did the rest (between 3 pitches: 4 IP, 3 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 0 R). Hideaki Takahashi took the loss for the Hawks (6 IP, 5 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 R, 1 ER) and Akihiro Yanase made things even worse (2 IP, 7 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 5 R, 5 ER).
7 of the 9 starters recorded at least one hit and 5 got at least 2 hits. In that group, Kensuke Tanaka (2-for-3, home run, 3 runs, 1 RBI), Toshimasa Konta (2-for-4, triple, 1 run, 2 RBI) and Eiichi Koyano (3-for-5, double, 1 run, 3 RBI) provided most of the offensive firepower for the Fighters. Yuichi Honda was the only player in the Hawks' line-up with 2 hits.
Nobuhiko Matsunaka misjudged a ball that Koyano hit to him in the third -- the play led to 3 runs scoring.
Time: 3h 23m