Yokohama Bay Stars 9 - Yomiuri Giants 8
It wasn't a very pretty game for either team. The Bay Stars surrendered 4 unearned runs, the Giants 2. And the game-deciding run scored on a bases loaded HBP in the bottom of the ninth with 1 out.
Tom Matsny (5 IP, 5 H, 4 K, BB, 5 R, 3 ER) started for the Bay Stars and Shun Yamaguchi (1 IP, 0 H, K, 2 BB, 2 R, 0 ER) ultimately got the win in relief. Satoshi Fukuda (5 IP, 4 H, 3 K, 3 BB, 6 R, 6 ER) got the start for the Giants, but it was Kiyoshi Toyada that ultimately got stuck with the loss when he hit Shuichi Murata (0-for-4, 2 RBI) in the 9th with the bases loaded.
The Bay Stars got on the board first on a 2-run homer by Dan Johnson (2-for-3, BB, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) in the 2nd. The Giants would strike back with 4 in the 4th: Alex Ramirez (2-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI) hit a 3-run homer to give the Giants a 3-2 (the lead-runner on base reached on an error); Shinnosuke Abe (1-for-4, RBI) added another run with an RBI single a few batters later. But that lead wouldn't last very long for the Giants. In the bottom of the 5th, after the Giants pushed across another run the top half of the inning, the Bay Stars pushed 4 runners across the plate to give the team a 6-5 lead: with the bases loaded Takahiro Saeki hit a sac-fly to score 1 run; 2 batters later, with the bases loaded once again, Seiichi Uchikawa (1-for-4, IBB, 2B, 3 RBI) hit a 3-run double.
The Giants would tie the game in the 6th with a run, but the Bay Stars fought back and pushed 2 more runs across in the 7th with the help of 2 errors. But the Giants hadn't given up yet, scoring 2 runs to tie the game in the top of the 7th (both of which scored due to an error on a tough play by Toshiyuki Katagawa).
When the Bay Stars managed to win the game in the bottom of the 9th on a HBP with the bases loaded, it seemed the perfect ending to such an ugly game.
The 6 runs Fukuda gave up were the most he's given up so far this season.
Time: 3h 13m
Yakult Swallows 7 - Chunichi Dragons 1
Masanori Ishikawa (7 IP, 6 H, 2 H, R, ER) picked up the win for the Swallows to give him a 5-1 record on the season. Takuya Asao (6 IP, 13 H, 2 K, BB, 5 R, 5 ER) suffered the loss for the Dragons.
The Swallows pounded out 16 hits over 9 innings to score 7 runs. Kenzo Kawashima (3-for-4, BB, 2B, 4 RBI), Aaron Guiel (3-for-4, BB, HR, R, RBI), and Yoshiyuki Noguchi (4-for-4, HR, 3 R, RBI) caused most of the damage. Norichika Aoki (0-for-5) still can't seem to find his stroke. Jamie D'Antona finished 1-for-4.
The managed to scatter 8 runs but could only score one, and ever that run wasn't exactly a product of the Dragons' offense: in the bottom of the 6th with runners on first and third, Ishikawa tossed a wild pitch that allowed the runner on third to score. Tony Blanco (2-for-4) and Kazuhiro Wada (2-for-4, 2B) finished with 2 hits a piece.
Noguchi recorded 4 hits in one game for the first time in his 10 year pro career. ... The 16 hits the Swallows collected as a team is a season high. ... Motonobu Tanishige was back behind the plate as the starting catcher, the first time since April 7th when he was hurt.
Time: 3h 5m
Hiroshima Carp 2 - Hanshin Tigers 1
It seems whenever the Tigers appear to be coming out of their team funk, they lose a game and re-start the vicious cycle of losing. Whether or not the loss tonight does that again, who knows, but it could not have been what the Tigers envisioned.
Carp starter Yuki Saito (6 IP, 4 H, 6 K, 4 BB, R, ER) pitched into and out of trouble all night, putting at least 2 runners on base in 3 of the 6 innings he tossed. The one run he gave up came on a solo homer by Takahiro Arai (1-for-5, RBI) in the bottom of the 6th.
Yasutomo Kubo (6 IP, 4 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 0 R) pitched a pretty solid game for the Tigers (outside of the 4th where a pick-off and GIDP saved him from a big inning), but was lifted after giving up a lead-off triple and a walk to the first two batters of the 7th inning. Hirotaka Egusa picked up Kubo and wriggled out of the inning without giving up a run. But the hard work by both Egusa and Kubo went down the drain in the 8th when Jeff Williams (1 IP, H, 3 K, 3 BB, R, ER) walked in a run, letting the Carp tie the game at 1.
And then, with the score tied at one, the Tigers called on Kyuji Fujikawa to pitch the 10th. His time away from the game was evident: after striking out the first two batters of the inning, Fujikawa walked Soichiro Amaya on 6 pitches (the last a 150km/h fastball) and surrendered a game-winning RBI double to Kenta Kurihara (1-for-2, 3 BB, 2B, 2 RBI). Kurihara's double came on Fujikawa's 21st pitch of the inning -- a 136km/h forkball.
The Tigers did manage to get runners on first and second with 2 out in the bottom of the 10th for Arai, but he flew out to right to end the game.
Going back to his last appearance on May 2nd against the Giants, Fujikawa has now lost 2 in a row. ... Through 6 starts, Kubo has yet to record a win.
Time: 3h 41m
Rakuten Eagles 7 - Nippon Ham Fighters 3
Masahiro Tanaka (7 IP, 8 H, K, 2 BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 ER) started the season with 4 consecutive complete game victories. So when word hit that Tanaka would be back on the mound after resting his arm at Ni-gun, many began to wonder if he'd be able to continue the streak. While Tanaka didn't quite have his "A" stuff, he did have enough to help the Eagles win. Yataro Sakamoto (3 IP, 4, 2 K, 2 BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 ER), appearing as a starter for the first time this season, took the loss for the Fighters.
The Eagles offense pushed 7 runs across the plate between the 3rd and 5th innings, including 3 runs in the third when they sent 8 batters to the plate and scored 3 runs. Makoto Osaka (1-for-4, R, 2 RBI) pushed 2 runs across the plate with a 2-run single in the 3rd. Takeshi Yamasaki (1-for-1, HBP, 2 BB, HR, R, 2 RBI) added 2 more runs in the 5th when he hit his 6th home run of the season.
The Fighters managed to collect one more hit than the Eagles (9-8), but could not come up with the big hit when they needed it the most. While the Fighters pushed 2 runs across in the 6th with a 2-run double by Eiichi Koyano (1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) with no out, they couldn't do any more damage in the inning. They even managed to set up a first and third with 1 out situations for Tomochika Tsuboi (0-for-4), only to see him ground into an inning ending double play. They had another chance in the 7th with they got runners on first and second with only 1 out, but neither Hichori Morimoto (1-for-3, R) nor Kazuya Murata (0-for-1, R) could get the job down.
Daisuke Kusano went 1-for-4 with a single in the 5th to extend his hitting streak to 19. ... Tanaka won his 5th straight game of the season. Atsunori Inaba was hit by a pitch in the 6th and was lifted for a pinch runner as a precaution. He was hit near the pinky finger area of his right hand. ... Naoto Watanabe had to be assisted off the field in the 3rd inning when he injured his right leg while running the bases. He was later diaganosed with a light sprain. ... The Eagles hit three consecutive sac bunts in the 4th en route to scoring 2 runs that inning.
Time: 2h 52m
Seibu Lions 8 - Orix Buffaloes 3
After an awful start on the 5th against the Eagles, Kazuhisa Ishii (6.2 IP, 8 H, 7 K, 3 BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 ER) rebounded nicely with a win. Shogo Yamamoto (4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 K, 4 BB, 6 R, 6 ER) got the loss for the Buffaloes in his worst start of the season.
Of the 8 hits the Lions' offense banged out, 6 went for extra base hits. Takeya Nakamura (2-for-4, BB, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI) hit home runs in two consectutive at bats and drove in 4 RBIs; G.G. Sato (2-for-3, BB, 2B, HR, RBI) led off the fourth with his 5th home run of the season; and the Lions hit consecutive doubles in the second by Sato and Kenta Matsuzaka (1-for-3, HBP, 2B, R, RBI) that led to a run.
The Buffaloes missed a couple of good chances to score runs, the best coming in perhaps the 4th inning when Mitsuaka Goto (1-for-4) singled to start the inning and promptly stole second. An infield hit by Ikki Shimamura (1-for-3, BB, R) put runners on first and second with no out. Things started going down hit from there: Goto got picked off at second, Takeshi Hidaka (0-for-2) fouled out to third, Koji Yamasaki (1-for-3, BB, R) teased the crowd with a single, before Tomotaka Sakaguchi (3-for-4, R, RBI) grounded out to short to end the inning. Greg LaRocca (1-for-4, HBP, 2B, 2 RBI) drove in 2 runs with a double in the 7th.
Nakamura's first home run was also his 100th of his career. ... With the victory, Ishii now has 150 career wins (MLB and NPB combined). ... Tuffy Rhodes was hit in his right hand in the 7th and was promptly lifted for a pinch runner.
Time: 3h 10m
Chiba Lotte Marines 7 - Softbank Hawks 0
The last time Yuta Ohmine took the mound he gave up 8 runs over 3.2 innings of work against the Fighters. Tonight, it was the complete opposite as Ohmine (9 IP, 6 H, 6 K, BB, 0 R) tossed a complete game, shut-out victory against the Hawks. Kenji Ohtonari (6.1 IP, 10 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 6 R, 6 ER) had a rough night and was saddled with the loss.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka (3-for-4, BB, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI) and Benny Agbayani (3-for-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI) had big nights for the Marines. Naotaka Takehara (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI), Tadahito Iguchi (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, RBI), and Kazuya Fukuura (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI) each contributed a solo home run.
The Hawks did manage to collect 6 hits against the Hawks, but they were held without a hit over the first 3 innings of the game. The Hawks did have a shot at scoring a run in the 4th when they got 2 consecutive hits (single and double) with 2 outs, but Jose Ortiz ended the inning with a fly out to right. Yuya Hasegawa (2-for-3, BB) was the lone hitter in the line-up to have a mult-hit game.
Bobby Valentine celebrated his 59th birthday with a shut-out victory. ... Iguchi has now hit a home run in 4 consecutive games.
Time: 2h 39m