My sister and my nephew are in town for the next few weeks and Mike has graciously volunteered some of his time to help me cover 3 games out of the daily NPB schedule. For the next three days, Mike will be covering the CL games while I cover the PL games (after that, we'll be putting together a rotating schedule since inter-league play will begin). You will be able to read his coverage of the CL games at SimCentral's Baseball News and More section.
Softbank Hawks 4 - Rakuten Eagles 2
Tough loss for the Eagles as they drop their second straight and fall to 2-5 over their last 7.
Both Satoshi Nagai (9 IPm 4 H, 6 K, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 ER) and Tsuyoshi Wada (7.1 IP, 6 H, 7 K, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 ER) pitched well enough to win, but neither was involved in the final decision, although Nagai could have won the game if not for a wild pitch in the 4th. Brian Falkenborg got the win for the Hawks and Takahiro Mahara picked up a save. Shinichiro Koyama took the loss for the Eagles when he gave up 2 runs in the top of the 10th.
The Hawks scored first with two consecutive doubles hit by Jose Ortiz (1-for-5, 2B, R) and Hiroki Kokubo (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) in the top of the first. They scored their second run of the game in the fourth on a single by Kokubo, a double by Yuya Hasegawa (1-for-4) and a wild pitch by Nagai.
The Eagles finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Rick Short (1-for-3, BB, 2B, R) led off the inning with a double, was sacrificed to third, and then doubled home by Daisuke Kusano (2-for-4, BB, 2B, R, RBI). Their second and final run crossed the plate in the 7th on a lead-off single by Kusano, a fly out, a double by Norihiro Nakamura (1-for-4, 2B), a walk, and finally an RBI single by Ryuji Miyade (2-for-4, RBI). With the bases still loaded and only 1 out, the Eagles failed to score the go-ahead run. The Eagles loaded the bases again in the 8th, but once again failed to score any runs.
The 10th started off innocently enough for the Eagles with a strike out for the first out of the inning. But a triple by Ryuma Kidakoro (1-for-1, 3B, R) and a single by Satoru Morimoto (1-for-4, R, RBI) gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead. A strike out and a stolen base later, Munenori Kawasaki hit an RBI single to right for the fourth and final run of the game.
Tadashi Settsu appeared in his 18th game in relief, tying him for first atop the PL leader board for the most appearances in a game by a pitcher. ... Kusano extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a 2-for-4 night.
Time: 3h 9m
Seibu Lions 18 - Lotte Marines 0
The Lions banged out 17 hits and scored 18 runs and yet the game clocked in at just under 3 hours.
Seven Lions' batters finished with 2 hits a peice, but the biggest bang may have come in the top of the 4th when Hiram Bocachica (1-for-4, BB, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI) drilled a 3-run home run shortly after G.G. Sato (2-for-3, HBP, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI) drove in the first 2 runs of the game with a double to center. But the biggest inning came in the top of the 7th when the Lions sent 12 batters to the plate (6-for-9, 2 HBP, IBB, 3 2B, 8 R).
The Marines couldn't get much going on offense. Tadahito Iguchi went 1-for-2 with a lead-off double in the second, but the next three batters went down in order.
Hideaki Wakui (9 IP, 4 H, 5 K, 4 BB, 0 R) went the distance in shutting out the Marines and picked up his 4th victory of the season. Shunsuke Watanabe had an awful starting, give up 7 runs (all earned) on 8 hits, 4 strike outs, and 2 HBPs over 5.2 innings of work.
18-runs is an NPB season high. ... 5 Lions were hit by a pitch in the game, which ties 3 other teams for second most in a game.
Chiba Lotte Marines
Time: 2h 58m
Nippon Ham Fighters 4 - Orix Buffaloes 2
The Buffaloes season continues to spiral out of control.
Shinya Nakayama lasted only 2.2 inning and gave up 2 runs (both earned) on 3 hits, 3 striek outs, 2 walks, and an HBP -- he picked up his 4th loss and is does not have a victory over 5 starts. Yu Darvish (8 IP, 6 H, 4 K, BB, HPB, 2 R, 2 ER) picked up his 5th victory of the season and Hisashi Takeda recorded his 8th save of the season.
After the Fighters scored 2 runs in the 3rd after a two out, 2-run double by Eiichi Koyano (1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI), the Fighters never looked back and held a lead through out the rest of the game, scoring runs in th 4th and 5th. The run in the fifth should have never scored, but a bad throw not only allowed Atsunori Inaba (0-for-2, HBP, BB) to reach first safely, but also allowed him to move on to second. Inaba touched up and went to third on a fly ball hit by Koyano. A sac-fly by Terrmel Sledge (0-for-2, BB, RBI) pushed the Fighter's fourth, and final, run across the plate.
The Buffaloes didn't really have too many chances to score runs in the game, although they did get runners on second in the first and 8th on doubles that came after 2 outs. The Buffaloes did do a good job of taking advantage of a lead-off walk in the bottom of the fourth and ultimately scored 2 runs on an RBI double by Greg LaRocca (2-for-4, 2 2B, R, RBI) and an RBI single by Mitsutaka Goto (1-for-3, RBI). Tomotaka Sakaguchi went 2-for-3 with an HBP, double, and run scored.
Time: 3h 9m