Mike has the other games covered in SimCentral's Baseball News and More section.
Softbank Hawks 5 - Yomiuri Giants 3
Despite a stretch of 4 games without a victory (and 3 losses during that stretch), D.J. Houlton (6 IP, 3 H, 5 K, BB, HBP, 0 R) has been an effective pitcher. And on Wednesday night, he finally got a W for his efforts, effectively limiting the Giants line-up to 3 hits over 6 innings.
When the Giants finally got on the board it was in the bottom of the 8th with Brian Falkenborg on in relief. A strike out started things off, but consecutive singles to Hayato Sakamoto (1-for-4, BB, R) and pinch-hitter Takuya Kimura (1-for-1), followed by a grounder them over to second and third, and then a timely 2-run single finally got the Giants on the board.
With Takahiro Mahara on the mound to close out the game in the nith, Yoshiyuki Kamei led off with a solo home run. A strike out later, pinch-hitter Yoshitomo Tani (1-for-1, 2B) doubled to center, giving the Giants a great chance to close down on a 2-run gap. But Mahara slammed the doors: Takahito Kudo (0-for-2, HBP) grounded out first and Sakamoto struck out to end the game.
On the other side of the diamond, Seth Greisinger continued to struggle, giving up 5 runs (all earned) on 8 hits, 2 strike outs and 2 walks over 4.2 innings of work.
It was Munenori Kawasaki's (2-for-5, 3B, RBI) triple in the 3rd put that put the Hawks on the board first. But more than Kawasaki's triple, Yuichi Honda (4-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R) and Hiroki Kokubo's (3-for-5, R, RBI) combined 5 hits (and scored 3 times) off Griesinger really set the pace of the game in favor of the Hawks: Honda scored on Kawasaki's triple in the third; Kokubo came around to score in the fourth; and Honda crossed the plate when Kokubo singled him home in the fourth.
The papers are playing up the angle of Matsunaka being snubbed by Hara during the WBC. ... The Hawks are now 6-0-1 durin Inter-league play.
Time: 3h 16m
Yokohama Bay Stars 5 - Nippon Ham Fighters 4
This game almost ended up being a great story for the Fighters, but unfortunately the Bay Stars got the last laugh.
A 3-run shot by Dan Johnson (1-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI) in the second inning gave the Bay Stars an early 3-0 lead. The Fighters answered back in the top of the fourth when Makoto Kaneko (2-for-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI) lined a 2-run triple to center. The Bay Stars would get back one of those runs in the bottom of the 5th after Brian Sweeney allowed a base-runner to reach on a bad throw and then gave up a run-scoring single to Seiichi Uchikawa (1-for-4, RBI).
But the Fighters kept at it, scoring 2 more runs in the 6th to finally tie the game at 4: Kaneko drove in a run with a double and Tomohiro Nioka (0-for-0, RBI) pinch-hit a sac fly to center. The Bay Stars had a chance in the 8th to take the lead when Yoshio Itoi (3-for-4, 2 R) led off the inning with a single. But instead of perhaps coming around to score on Shinya Tsuruoka's (1-for-2, IBB, BB, 2B) double a batter later, he was picked off at first.
The Bay Stars would make the Fighters' pay for that mistake in the bottom of the 8th. After Kazumasa Kikuchi retired Uchikawa for the first out, he went to 2-2 on Shuichi Murata after falling behind 2-0. Murata fouled off a slider to stay alive and then smacked the sixth offering from Kikuchi for his 7th home run of the season. And that would be all the Bay Stars would need.
Neither Sweeney (5 IP, 6 H, 6 K, BB, 4 R, 3 ER) nor Les Walrond (5.1 IP, 6 H, 8 K, 2 BB, 4 R, 4 ER) was involved in the final decision. Kikuchi surrendered the game-winning home run in the bottom 8th for his 1st loss of the season. Atsushi Kizuka picked up the win for the Bay Stars and Shun Yamaguchi got the save.
It was Kizuka's first victory since April 1st, 2008. Kizuka had right shoulder problems last season and was limited to 16 appearances.
Time: 3h 20m
Hanshin Tigers 4 - Seibu Lions 1
While the rain out on Sunday and the loss on Tuesday guaranteed the Hanshins a losing record for the month of May, it appears as if they are slowly to pull out of their nasty funk.
But this wasn't an easy win for the Tigers, at least not for the offense. And if not for Kazuhisa Ishii's getting out from under him in the 7th while trying to field a bunt, the Tigers may not have even had a 4-run fourth (at the time the Tigers had one 1 run in, a runner on first and 1 out).
After Ishii, two relievers tried to pick him up but failed miserably: Ryoma Nogami faced Kentaro Sekimoto (2-for-3, BB, R, RBI) and gave up an RBI single; Tomoki Hoshino surrendered a single to re-load the bases and then hit Tomoaki Kanemoto (0-for-3, HBP, RBI) to push another run home. The third reliever (Shinya Okamoto) managed to record the final two outs of the inning, albeit the first on a sac fly to Takahiro Arai (0-for-2, BB) that ended up being the fourth and final run the Tigers would score.
Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (7 IP, 6 H, 2 K, BB, R, ER) started for the Tigers and picked up his 4th win of the season. Kyuji Fujikawa struggled a little in the 9th, giving up both a hit and walk to start the inning; but he struck out the next three batters to record the save. Ishii (6.1 IP, 4 H, 9 K, 4 BB, 3 R, 2 ER) was doing a fairly decent job before he had to be replaced after he slipped while trying to field a bunt in the 7th.
Shimoyanagi 4 wins is tops on the Tigers. ... The Lions are now 2-5 during Inter-league play; 1-4 over their last 5; and have fallen 5 games under 500.
Time: 3h 15m