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Yomiuri Giants 6 - Orix Buffaloes 2
Keiji Ohbiki (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI) hit a solo homer in the top of the first to give the Buffaloes a quick 1-0 lead. But that lead wouldn't last very long. Shinnosuke Abe (2-for-3, HBP, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) hit a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1. The Giants broke the tie in the bottom of the third on three consecutive hits: a double by Takahito Kudo (1-for-3, R), an RBI single by Michihiro Ogasawara (3-for-4, BB, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), and a single by Alex Ramirez (1-for-4, BB). A grounder by Seung-Yeop Lee (0-for-4, HBP, R) put runners on first and third and Yoshiyuki Kamei (1-for-3, RBI) hit a sac fly to drive Ogasawara.
The Buffaloes got another run in the fourth on Shinji Shimoyama's 8th home run of the season, but that would be all they'd score for the rest of the game. Solo shots in the 5th (Ogasawara) and 6th (Abe) gave the Giants a 3-run lead. Their last run crossed the plate on an RBI single by Tetsuya Matsumoto (1-for-2, RBI) in the bottom of the 7th.
Hisanori Takahashi started for the Giants and went 6 innings while giving up 2 runs (earned) on 3 hits, 4 strike outs, and 2 walks. Kazuki Kondo (5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 K, 4 BB, 5 R, 5 ER) lost his third straight for the Buffaloes.
Takahashi has now given up 8 home runs in 8 starts (39.1 IP). ... The Buffaloes were held to 3 hits, tying a season low.
Time: 2h 51m
Yokohama Bay Stars 6 - Rakuten Eagles 5
The Eagles were actually on track for the win, but Koji Aoyama (.1 IP, H, K, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 ER) couldn't hold down a 1-run lead in the bottom of the 9th, wasting a very nice effort by three different relievers (4.2 IP, H, 3 K, 0 R) after an awful start by Darrell Rasner (3.1 IP, 8 H, 6 K, BB, HBP, 4 R, 4 ER).
Tom Mastny (3.1 IP, 6 H, 2 K, 5 BB, 4 R, 4 ER) didn't pitch well for the Bay Stars either and had to rely on the bullpen for help -- three relievers combined: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 4 K, BB, HBP, 1 R, 0 ER. Kimiyasu Kudo ultimately ended up with the win, his first of the season.
The Eagles flexed their muscles early, scoring all three of their runs on home runs: a solo shot by Masato Nakamura (2-for-3, BB, HR, 2 R, RBI) in the first and a 2-run shot by Makoto Kosaka (1-for-3, 2 BB, HR, R, 2 RBI) in the second. The Bay Stars were also pretty active in the early goings, scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the first: RBI singles by Shuichi Murata (1-for-3, HBP, RBI) and Dan Johnson (1-for-4, RBI).
The Eagles expanded their lead by another run in the fourth when Yuji Yoshimi threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded. The extra run would be important because the Bay Stars led-off the bottom of the inning with a triple, followed by a strike out and 3 consecutive singles. A sac fly by Seiichi Uchikawa (3-for-4, R, 3 RBI) tied the game up at 4.
The Eagles regained the lead in the top of the 7th on an error by Johnson. The Eagles managed to hold on to that 5-4 lead for 7 outs, but the roof caved in after that. 2 consecutive walks, followed by 2 consecutive singles, gave the Bay Stars a 6-5 come-from-behind victory.
The last time Kudo won a game was on September 26th 2007. ... The Eagles had won 6 consecutive games against the Bay Stars (dating back to 2007) prior to their loss.
Time: 3h 48m
Hanshin Tigers 4 - Chiba Lotte Marines 3
The Tigers almost let this game get away from them. In the bottom of the 8th, the Marines had runners on first and second with 2 out. Koichi Hori (1-for-1) lined a single to right, but Tadahito Iguchi (the lead runner) was thrown out trying to score. Then in the bottom of the 9th, the Marines managed to load the bases with 2 out and Iguchi (1-for-3, BB, R) flew out to right to end the game.
The Marines had a number of other chances to score runs: runners on first and second with 2 out in the first; runners on first and second with 1 out in the second; and a double play with a runner on first and 1 out killed a potential rally inning.
Chase Lambin went 1-for-2 with a solo homer in the 7th.
The Tigers bunched all four of their runs in 6th on a sac fly by Tomoaki Kanemoto (0-for-3, RBI) with the bases loaded and a 3-run shot by Takahiro Arai (1-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI). They did have another chance in the 7th with runners on first and second and 1 out, but Kanemoto grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Naoyuki Shimizu (5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 4 R, 4 ER) started the game for the Marines and gave up 4 runs in his second consecutive start; he dropped his record to 1-3 on the season. Yasutomo Kubo (6 IP, 3 H, 5 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 2 R, 1 ER) finally managed to pick up his first win after starting the season 0-2 over 5 starts. Kyuji Fujikawa (1 IP, H, K, 2 BB, 0 R) almost coughed a run in the 9th, but managed to hold down the fort to pick up his 3rd save of the season.
The Marines have now gone 5 consecutive games with 10+ team LOBs. ... Arai had gone 9 games without a home run (40 plate appearances worth).
Time: 3h 10m