Chunichi Dragons 4 - Yokohama Bay Stars 2
Yudai Kawai (9 IP, 2 H, 3 K, R, ER) started the game for the Dragons and pitched well enough to win. Unfortunately his opponent, Futoshi Kobayashi (8 IP, 5 H, 2 K, R, ER) also tossed a great game. And so it became a match-up of bullpens, and the Dragons ultimately got the best of the Bay Stars' -- closer Yuya Ishii took the loss when he gave up 3 runs (1 earned) in .2 innings of work. Shinsuke Saito got the win in relief and Masafumi Hirai recorded a save for the Dragons.
Hirokazu Ibata went 2-for-4 with a walk, homer, 2 runs, and an RBI. Nomoto (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI) got the Dragons going in the top of the 11th with a lead-off home run, his 6th home run of the season. An error, sac hit, ground out, walk, and consecutive RBI singles Masahiko Morino (1-for-5, RBI) and Tony Blanco (2-for-5, RBI) pushed across 2 more runs in the inning, all the Dragons would need in order to win.
The Bay Stars only managed 5 hits against the Dragons, 3 of which came in the 11th. Dan Johnson (1-for-4, HR, RBI) led off the 11th with his second home run of the season. The next two batters went down without much of a fight, but Tatsuhiko Kinjo (1-for-2) and Takehiro Ishikawa (1-for-5) followed with singles. Toshio Saito came in to pinch-hit for Kazuya Fujita and walked to load the bases. Seiichi Uchikawa (1-for-5, 2B, R) then hit a line drive to right that looked as if it might fall in, but Kei Nomoto made a great catch to end the game.
Time: 3h 18m
Hanshin Tigers 6 - Yomiuri Giants 0
Tetsuya Utsumi continued to struggle on the mound for the Giants (the defense didn't help him out much either): 4.2 IP, 7 H, 0 K, BB, 5 R, 3 ER. Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (6 IP, 6 H, 5 K, BB, HBP, 0 R) started for the Tigers and recorded his second victory of the season.
Getting shut-out is something the Giants were probably avoiding, especially since the memories of getting shut-out three games in a row are still a fresh memory. But the Giants couldn't really get much of anything going against Shimoyanagi or the rest of the Tiger's pitching staff. The Giants di have two changes to score: in the top of the 4th, with 1 out, Alex Ramirez (1-for-4) and Yoshiyuki Kamei (2-for-3) got on base with consecutive singles; and in the top of the 5th, the Giants were able to load the bases with 2 out, for Ramirez, but he ended up grounding out to short.
The Tigers strung together 4 consecutive hits (triple, double, and 2 singles) in the 5th to score 3 runs and put the game out of reach. Tomoaki Kanemoto had a big night for the Tigers, going 2-for-4 with 2 doubles, a runs scored, and 2 RBI. Norihiro Akamatsu (3-for-5, 2B, R) led the team with 3 hits.
Time: 3h 17m
Yakult Swallows 5 - Hiroshima Carp 3
The Yakult Swallows came out swinging (10 hits) and launched 3 homers against the Carp: Norichika Aoki (1-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBI) hit a 2-run homer in the 3rd, Jamie D'Antona (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI) hit a solo shot in the 5th, and Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (3-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) followed one out later with his first homer of the season.
The Carp also collected 10 hits, but came up short in both the 6th and 7th innings -- they had runners on first and third with 2 out in the 6th and the bases loaded with 2 outs in the 7th. Kenta Kurihara went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI; Scott McClain went 2-for-3 with a walk and a GIDP.
Hei Chun Lee (2.1 IP, 5 H, K, HBP, 2 R, 2 ER) started for the Swallows, but was removed after 2.1 innings of work. Takehiko Oshimoto (1.2 IP, H, K, R, ER) got the in in relief; Chang-Yong Lim picked up his 8th save. Masayuki Hasegawa (2.2 IP, 7 H, K, BB, 3 R, 3 ER) got the start for the Carp, but it was Rui Makino (3.1 IP, 3 H, K, 2 R, 2 ER) that was saddled with the loss.
Time: 3h 28m
Seibu Lions 8 - Rakuten Eagles 3
Takayuki Kishi (8 IP, 12 H, 7 K, 3 BB, 3 R, 3 ER) won his 5th straight game and managed to stop the red-hot Eagles. Takashi Kawai had a rough start, giving up 5 runs (all earned) on 5 hits, 2 strike outs, and a walk over 2 innings of work.
The Eagles recorded 14 hits and could only score 3 runs (mostly due to 3 double plays that killed rallies in the 3rd, 7th, and 9th innings). Daisuke Kusano (4-for-5, R) led the team with 4 hits; Naoto Watanabe (2-for-5, R), Masato Nakamura (2-for-3, R), and Rick Short (2-for-4) collected 2 hits a piece.
On the other side of the diamond, the Lions were a lot more effecient, scoring 8 runs on 10 hits (including 3 doubles, a triple, and 2 homers). Both Hiroyuki Nakajima and Hiroshi Hirao went 2-for-3, with a walk, home run, 2 runs, and 2 RBI. Takeya Nakamura (1-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI) picked up 2 RBI and now has 32 on the year.
Alex Graman (1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) made his first appearance since being called back up to the parent club. ... The 12 hits given up by Kishi tied a personal high.
Time: 2h 53m
Nippon Ham Fighters 10 - Chiba Lotte Marines 7
The benches cleared in the top of the 8th when Terrmel Sledge took a ball that was heading up and in, off his right hand. But more than that, the HBP was sandwiched in between two walks with only 1 out -- this one scene just about sums up the entire game for the Marines.
Yuta Ohmine was rocked for 8 runs (all earned) on 7 hits, 2 strike outs, and 5 walks. Kazuhito Tadano also had a shaky outing (5 IP, 6 H, K, 4 BB, 5 R, 5 ER), but his team mates scored often and early and made him a winner. Hisashi Takeda picked up his 6th save.
The game was ugly right from the start: the Fighters scored 3 runs in the first on 3 walks and 2 hits. And the Fighters' 4-run fourth began with 2 consecutive walks to start the inning. Yoshio Itoi (1-for-4, SF, 3 RBI) led the offense with 3 RBI; Hichori Morimoto (1-for-4, BB, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI) and Eiichi Koyano (3-for-4, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI) drove in two runs a piece. Atsunori Inaba (2-for-4, BB, HR, 2 R, RBI) drilled his second home run in as many games.
The Marines outhit the Fighters (14-12), but came up short in runs (10-7). The Marines did put up a good fight though, scoring 4 runs over the last 5 innings. They also almost pulled of a comeback in the ninth when they got two consecutive singles from Saburo Ohmura (2-for-5) and Shoitsu Ohmatsu (2-for-4, BB, 2 R) after an out. Unfortunately Toshiaki Imae (1-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI) struck out and Chase Lambin (2-for-5, 2B, R) grounded out to second to end the game.
Tasuku Hashimoto was removed from the game in the 5th after he complained for pain in his right thigh.
Time: 3h 43m
Orix Buffaloes 8 - Softbank Hawks 5
Kameron Loe (5 IP, 10 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 7 R, 7 ER) lost his 4th game of the season and continues to struggle on the mound. Kazuki Kondo (6 IP, 7 H, 3 K, 5 BB, 5 R, 5 ER) didn't pitch particularly well for the Buffaloes, but he didn't really have to. Daisuke Kato gave the Hawks so hope when allowed to runners to reach on singles after getting an out. But a double play ended the inning and he picked up his 6th save of the season.
The Buffaloes used 3 home runs to score 5 runs: a solo shot in the second by Hiroshi Kitagawa (1-for-3, HBP, R, RBI); a 3-run homer off the bat of Shinji Shimoyama (1-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI); and a solo shot by Jose Fernandez (2-for-5, HR, R, RBI) in the 8th. Mitsukata Goto (1-for-5, 2 RBI) contributed 2 RBI's in the 4th with a 2-run single.
Munenori Kawasaki led the Hawks offense with 3 hits (including a double in the second) in 5 trips to the plate. Hiroki Kokubo (2-for-4, 3 RBI) drove in 2 runs with a single in the 4th; he also started the mini-rally (that was killed by a GIDP) in the 9th with a single to left. Satoru Morimoto went 2-for-4 with 2 runs and an RBI.
Time: 3h 2m