Yomiuri Giants 8 - Chunichi Dragons 7
Shun Tono (3 IP, 8 H, K, 4 R, 4 ER) was knocked out after only three innings, his shortest start of the year. But fortunately for Tono, Dragons starter Yudai Kawai (4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 K, BB, 6 R, 6 ER) also had a bad game and more than that, this game was less about pitching and more about offense (both pitchers came away with no decisions).
Micheal Nakamura recorded his first win as a Giant and Daisuke Ochi picked up a save. Shinsuke Saito was saddled with the loss.
The Dragons offense pounded out 16 hits (including 5 doubles) on their way to scoring 7 runs. Masahiko Morino went 4-for-5 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored; Tony Blanco went 2-for-3 with a walk, a runs scored, and 3 RBI; and Kei Nomoto went 3-for-5 with a double, 2 runs, and an RBI. Hirokazu Ibata added 2 hits and an RBI in 5 trips to the plate.
The Giants offense collected 5 fewer hits (11), but still managed to score 1 more run than the Dragons. Both Hayato Sakamoto and Michihiro Ogasawara had quiet games yesterday, but bounced back -- Sakamoto went 3-for-5 with a double, homer, 3 runs, and 2 RBI; Ogasawara went 2-for-3 with a double, homer, 1 run, and 3 RBI. Alex Ramirez (3-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI) homer in the 5th was back-to-back with Ogasawara and also his second straight homer in as many games.
Sakamoto's 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th gave the Giants an 8-7 lead.
The Dragons have now been swept by the Giants twice this year.
Time: 3h 48m
Yakult Swallows 4 - Hiroshima Carp 1
Shohei Tateyama (6 IP, 6 H, 7 K, 2 BB, R, ER) managed to hold down the Dragons and pushed his season record to 3-0. Chang-Yong Lim tossed a perfect 9th to notch his 9th save. Takahiro Aoki (3 IP, 4 H, BB, R, ER) was yanked after 3 innings and ultimately did not factor in the decision. Masaki Hayashi (1.1 IP, 3 H, K, BB, 3 R, 0 ER) got the loss when he gave up 3 unearned run in the bottom of the 6th.
The Dragons had a chance to score some runs in the 3rd when they led off the inning with two consecutive innings, but the next three batters couldn't get the job done: Kenta Kurihara (1-for-4) grounded out to third; Shigenobu Shima (1-for-4) struck out; and Scott Seabol (0-for-4) flied out to center. The Dragons did make good use of Takuro Ishii's (1-for-3, 2B, R) lead-off double in the 5th: Eishin Soyogi (1-for-4) moved Ishii over to third on a grounder and Soichiro Amaya (1-for-3, RBI) hit a sac fly to drive him in. But that's all they would manage.
The Swallows offense got some help from the Carp defense, namely on a costly error on a routine grounder hit by Hiroyasu Tanaka (1-for-4, R) by Soichiro Amaya in the 6th with 2 outs and Ryoji Aikawa (2-for-4, R) on first. That opened the flood gates: pinch-hitter Shinichi Takeuchi singled Aikawa home. Keizo Kawashima (2-for-5, R, RBI) singled Tanaka home; and a bad throw by Shima allowed another run to score.
Time: 3h 6m
Hanshin Tigers 12 - Yokohama Bay Stars 4
After getting shut out twice in a row by the Bay Stars, the Tigers came roaring back in the final game of the series to score 12 runs on 9 hits. Kentaro Sekimoto went 2-for-3 with 2 walks, a double, 2 runs, and 4 RBI and Atsushi Fujimoto went 3-for-4 with a walk and 2 runs. Both Takashi Toritani (1-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) and Keisuke Kano (1-for-4, BB, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) hit home runs for the Tigers. Tomoaki Kanemoto (0-for-5) and Takahiro Arai (0-for-4, BB) continued to struggle.
The Bay Stars actually managed to score first, pushing 2 runs across in the secoond on a 2-run homer by Yuta Naito (1-for-2, BB, HR, R, 2 RBI). Seiichi Uchikawa (3-for-4, HR, R, RBI) added a solo shot in the 6th and Yuki Yoshimura (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) capped off the Bay Stars' night with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 9th.
It was a rough start for Futoshi Kobayashi, giving up 5 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits, 3 strike outs, and 4 walks over 6 innings of work. If not for an ugly third that got started on 2 consecutive walks followed by 2 consecutive errors and 4 unearned runs, perhaps the outcome of the game would have been different. Shinobu Fukuhara (5 IP, 5 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 ER) picked up his second victory of the season.
Time: 3h 4m
Nippon Ham Fighters 7 - Orix Buffaloes 2
Masaru Takeda tossed 6 innings while giving up a run (earned) on 7 hits, 4 strike outs, a walk, and an HBP. He is now 2-1 on the season. Makoto Yoshino, used out of the pen in his previous 6 appearances, dropped his first start of the season: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 R, 3 ER.
The Fighters got a bit of a boost in the bottom of the second when Mitsutaka Goto made a throwing error on a ground ball hit by Luis Jimenez (1-for-3, R, RBI) with 1 out in the inning and runners on first and third. The error allowed a run to score and Jimenez was safe at first. The next two batters connected for consecutive hits: an RBI double by Makoto Kaneko (1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI) and a 2-run single by Kensuke Tanaka (2-for-3, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI) gave the Fighters a 5-0 lead. A pitching change would bring in Takehito Kanazawa, who would retire the next batter on a grounder to second. But Atsunori Inaba (2-for-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI) wouldn't go down quite as quietly, and yanked an RBI double to left.
The Buffaloes actually managed to record 12 hits (including 4 doubles and a homer), but only managed to push 2 runs across the plate. Shinji Yamashita (2-for-3, BB, HR, R, 2 RBI) got the Buffaloes on the board in the third with his second home run of the season. Goto (2-for-4, R) crossed the plate in the 7th on a single by Yamashita.
The Fighters have now won 3 in a row. ... The Buffaloes have dropped 4 in a row. ... It was the first time in 8 years that Yoshimi started a game -- he started in place of the hurt Mamoru Kishida.
Time: 3h 8m
Chiba Lotte Marines 6 - Rakuten Eagles 0
Darrell Rasner hasn't been very consistent over his 5 starts this season -- he seems to have a bad start after a good start and based on that pattern, he was due for a bad start. And a bad start it was: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 K, 3 BB, HBP, 4 R, 4 ER. Yuki Karakawa tossed a complete game shut-out for the Marines: 8 IP, 8 H, 11 K, BB, 0 R.
The Eagles' offense managed to collect 8 hits, including 2 doubles, but could not come up with the big hit to get on the board: they left the bases loaded in the third; led off the 4th with a double; and had runners on first and second in the 6th with 1 out. Both Naoto Watanabe (2-for-5) and Masato Nakamura (2-for-4) picked up 2 hits a piece.
The Marines got 2 quick runs in the first on Tadahito Iguchi's (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, 2 RBI) 7th home run of the season. Chase Lambin (2-for-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI) tacked on another run in the second with his second homer of the season. Benny Agbayani (1-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) capped off the Marines' day with a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th.
It was Karakawa's first complete game shut of his career. ... Daisuke Kusano went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. ... Iguchi hit his 200th home run of his career (combined MLB and NPB totals).
Time: 2h 50m
Softbank Hawks 8 - Seibu Lions 1
A day after the Lions held the Hawks to a run, the Hawks answered back with 8 runs and a victory. Toshiya Sugiuchi (8 IP, 4 H, 12 K, BB, R, ER) had a solid start to win his 4th game of the season. Ryoma Nogami (used as a reliever in his previous three appearances) started his first game of the season and lost: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 5 R, 5 ER.
The Lions scored their sole run on a homer by Hiram Bocachica (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI) in the top of the 8th. Hiroyuki Nakajima went 2-for-4 with a double, but the two batters in front of him and the two batters after him went a combined 1-for-14 with a walk, double, and 5 strike outs.
The Hawks collected 10 hits, including 2 solo homers hit by Hidenori Tanoue (1-for-2, 2 BB, HR, R, RBI) in the 3rd and Jose Ortiz (3-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) in the 6th. But the big inning came in the 3rd when the Hawks scored 4 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. Hiroshi Shibahara went 1-for-4 with 2 RBI.
Time: 2h 55m