Chunichi Dragons 3 - Yomiuri Giants 2
The Dragons managed to beat the red-hot Giants in extra innings. After Tomas De La Rosa led off the 10th with a strike out, the Dragons strung together 3 consecutive hits: a single by Masahiro Araki (2-for-4, R), a single by Hirokazu Ibata (3-for-3, BB, R), and a 2-run triple by Masahiko Morino (1-for-5, 2 RBI). But even before that could happen, the Dragons got a key run in the 8th to tie the game at 1 when Kazuyoshi Tatsunami (1-for-1, R, RBI) smacked a pinch-hit home run over the left field wall.
The Giants' offense had a tough time pushing runs across home plate the entire game -- if not for a walk and a key wild pitch that moved the runner on first over to third, the Giants could have been shut out. The second run came in the bottom of the 10th when Abe Shinnosuke (1-for-4, R, RBI) led off the inning with his 3rd home run of the season.
Daisuke Yamai (7 IP, 1 H, 9 K, 3 BB, 1 R, 1 ER) started the game for the Dragons but it was Masato Kobayashi (.1 IP 1 H, 0 R) that got the win. Hitoki Iwase recorded his 5th save. Satoshi Fukuda (6 IP, 3 H, 4 K, 3 BB 0 R) was on the mound for the Giants but it was Daisuke Ochi (1 IP, 3 H, 2 K, 2 R, 2 ER) that ultimately took the loss.
Sakamoto was caught off second in the bottom of the 10th on a grounder to third with 1 out. ... Tatsunami has now hit at least one home run in each of the 22 seasons he has played. That tied him with Sadaharu Oh.
Time: 3h 34m
Yokohama Bay Stars 3 - Yakult Swallows 0
The Swallows continued their slide by getting shut out by the Bay Stars. Daisuke Miura tossed 8.2 shut-out innings while giving up 3 hits, 7 strike outs, and 3 walks. Yuya Ishii recorded his 5th save by retiring just one batter (Miura walked the last 2 batters he faced, forcing his replacement). Yasuhiro Ichiba had another solid outing, giving up just 1 run (earned) on 5 hits and 8 strike outs over 7 innings.
Despite moving Norichika Aoki (0-for-4) into the lead-off spot, the Swallows' offense could only manage only 3 singles against Miura: 1 by Jaime D'Antona (1-for-3) and 2 from Ryoji Aikawa (2-for-3). The Bay Stars got on the score board in the first when Seiichi Uchikawa (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI) hit his 2nd home run of the season. The remaining two runs scored in the top of the 9th when Swallows' pitching got a little ugly gave up a single and 2 walks before surrendering a big pinch-hit 2-run single to Hiroaki Ohnishi (1-for-1, 2 RBI).
Shuichi Murata went 1-for-4 with a single in the first.
Time: 2h 52m
Hanshin Tigers 4 - Hiroshima Carp 0
After putting together 3 back-to-back solid starts, Kenta Maeda suffered his first bad start of the season: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 4 R, 4 ER. The Tigers got a complete game shut-out from Atsushi Nouimi (9 IP, 8 H, 10 K, 3 BB, 0 R).
The Carp started the first, second, fourth, and 6th innings off with singles. They also collected at least 1 single through each of the first 7 innings of the game. And yet they failed to push a run across the plate. The first four hitters: 8-for-19. That last 5 hitters: 0-for-14.
The Tigers offense was a lot more balanced: 6 different players accounted for the 7 hits. Norihiro Akahoshi went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Tomoaki Kanemoto went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Takahiro Arai was again held without a hit -- he is now 0 for his last 14 -- but managed to drive in the first run of the game with a sac sac fly (the bases were loaded). Kevin Mench's replacement, Aarom Baldiris went 0-for-4 with 2 strike outs.
The last time Nouimi tossed a complete game shut out was in August of 2007. ... Kenta Kurihara was out of the line-up nursing tightness in his lower back.
Time: 2h 44m
Seibu Lions 3 - Chiba Lotte Marines 1
Hideaki Wakui had a pretty dominant start, tossing 9 full innings while giving up a run (earned) on 4 hits, 12 strike outs, 2 walks, and an HBP. Yuki Karakawa started for the Marines and gave up 3 runs (all earned) on 6 hits, 7 strike outs, and 2 walks.
Three of the four runs that scored in the game came off solo home runs: Tomoya Satozaki (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI) hit one for the Marines and Takeya Nakamura (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI) and Hiram Bocachica (1-for-2, BB, HR, R, RBI) hit one a piece for the Lions.
Wakui struck out at least 1 batter in each of the 9 innings and also managed to strike out each of the 9 starters at least once. Both career firsts.
Time: 2h 26m
Nippon Ham Fighters 11 - Orix Buffaloes 0
Yu Darvish may have just tossed his best game of the season: an 11 strike out, complete game shut-out (9 IP, 4 H, 11 K, 3 BB, 0 R). Satoshi Komtasu continued to struggle, this time giving up 11 run (7 earned) on 10 hits, 6 strike outs, and 2 walks over 6.2 innings of work (that's now 20 ER in 15.2 IP).
The Fighters bashed 3 home runs and 2 doubles on their way to scoring 11 runs. Termel Sledge (1-for-3, BB, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI) led the offensive charge with a grand slam in the 4th that gave the Fighters 7-0 lead. And Eiichi Onodera's (1-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI) home run in the 7th was a 3-run shot that put the Fighters up 11-0. Yoshio Itoi (2-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI) was responsible for the third home run, a 2-run shot hit in the second. The only run that didn't score on a home run was the first run that crossed the plate in the first.
The Buffaloes line-up was pretty much dead the entire game. One player did have a mult-hit game though: Mitsutaka Goto went 2-for-4.
Darvish struck out 8 straight batters at one point, starting with the last 2 batters in the 5th. ... Sledge hit his second home run in as many games. ... The 11 runs Komatsu surrendered set a new career high.
Time: 2h 53m
Rakuten Eagles 3 - Softbank Hawks 2
A day after Katsuya Nomura lamented not having any starters beyond Hisashi Iwakum and Masahiro Tanaka, Satoshi Nagai provided a glimmer of hope: 7 IP, 6 H, 9 K, 1 BB, 2 R, 2 ER. And Marcus Gwyn faced 2 batters for his 1st save of the season. Tsuyoshi Wada started for the Hawks and suffered the loss (7.2 IP, 5 H, 8 K, 1 BB, 3 R, 3 ER).
Through their first 22 plate appearances, the Eagles' offense could only muster a double. But for their 23rd plate appearance, Takeshi Yamasaki (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) drilled a solo home run to break-up a shut-out. Then in the 8th, the Eagles got a mini-rally going that produced the tying and game-winning runs on a sac bunt sandwiched between three singles.
The Hawks scored a run in the first and then a run in the 4th when Nobuhiko Matsunaka (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) led off the 6th with a home run. They had a shot to score a couple more runs in the inning after loading the bases with 1 out, but the next two hitters went down on strike outs. The Hawks then managed only 1 hit over the final 5 innings of the game.
Matsunaka's home run in the 4th was his second in as many games. ... Nagai has now beaten the Hawks twice this season. ... Nomura needs only 2 more wins for his 1,500th.
Time: 3h 09m