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Yomiuri Giants 8 - Rakuten Eagles 3
The Eagles are on a painful slide right now and could have really used a win to help break up what was a 4-game losing streak prior to the game. To that end, Katsuya Nomura turned to the inconsistent 24-year-old Kohei Hasebe to try and help stop their slide. But on the third pitch of the game, Hayato Sakamoto took a Hasebe fastball over the fence for his 8th home run of the season.
The Eagles would answer back with a run of their own (specifically on an RBI single by Hasebe) in the top of the 2nd off Giants' starter, Hisanori Takahashi. But the tie would only last until the bottom of the 4th when Hasebe surrendered solo homers to Yoshitomo Tani (1-for-2, BB, HR, R, RBI) and Yoshiyuki Kamei (2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI). Hasebe was lifted 3 batters later, but that wouldn't make things any better for the Eagles over the next 3 innings: Alex Ramirez hit a solo shot in the 5th, Seung-Yeop Lee nailed a pinch-hit 2-run double in the 6th, and Kamei hit his second of 2 home runs in the 7th with pinch-runner Tetsuya Matsumoto on first.
Meanwhile, Takahashi managed to hold the Eagles to 2 hits (both in the 6th) and an HBP (in the 7th) between the 3rd and 8th innings. But things slowly started to get away from Takahashi after he passed the 100-pitch mark: Masato Nakamura hit a single off pitch 102; Takeshi Yamasaki singled off pitch 104; Daisuke Kusano was hit by pitch 107; Toshiya Nakashima pushed across the first run of the inning with a single off pitch 110; and Teppei lined pitch 113 for the second and final run of the inning. Kiyoshi Toyoda replaced Takahashi after that and got the final 5 outs of the game for his first save of the year.
The Eagles are now 1-6 in the month of June. ... Kamei now has 6 home runs this season, surpassing his previous single season high of 5, set last season. ... Unlike his previous 7 home runs that were hit toward left, Sakamoto's 8th home run of the season was hit toward right. ... Abe recorded his 1,000th career hit.
Time: 3h 2m
Yokohama Bay Stars 4 - Chiba Lotte Marines 3
Daisuke Miura tossed three perfect innings to start the game but then lost some of his effectiveness in the top of the fourth as the line-up turned over for their second go-around. Keisuke Hayasaka (1-for-3) led off the inning with a single and a sac bunt later, Shoitsu Ohmatsu (1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) smacked his 2nd home run of the season to give the Marines a 2-0 lead. Lotte would touch Miura up for another run in the top of the 5th when Chase Lambin (1-for-4, 2B, R) doubled to left and then scored on a single by Toshiaki Imae (1-for-3, RBI).
Yuta Ohmine had managed to keep the Bay Stars scoreless over the first 4 frames of the game while scattering 4 hits. And with a 3-run lead going into the bottom of the 5th, it almost appeared as though the Marines would take another game away from the hapless Bay Stars. But Ohmine ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth, surrendering 2 consecutive singles to Takehiro Ishikawa (1-for-3, R) and Shinji Niinuma (1-for-3, R). A bunt by Daisuke Miura (0-for-1) moved the two runners up a base and an HBP to Tatsuhiko Kinjo (2-for-3, HBP, R) loaded the bases for Toshiyuki Kitagawa (owner of a .436 career OPS).
Ohmine started Kitagawa with 2 change-ups out of the zone for balls. He followed that with a fastball up and in that Kitagawa managed to foul off. Then, as if on cue, Kitagawa nailed the fourth pitch, a fastball down the plate, for his first ever, career home run, catapulting the Bay Stars to a 4-3 lead.
Shun Yamaguchi got the final four outs of the game to pick up his 4th save of the season.
With 2 outs in the 6th, Tadahito Iguchi lined a pitch back up the box that struck Miura in the right foot. Time was called and they attended to him for a brief period of time. Miura returned after getting a quick check-up to finish out the 6th.
Time: 2h 37m
Softbank Hawks 8 - Hanshin Tigers 1
D.J. Houlton has been on a pretty good roll so far this season and kept it going against the Tigers, completely shutting down the hot-hitting line-up over the first 5 innings of the game. Houlton finally gave up a lead-off hit to Ikuro Katsuragi (1-for-3, 2B, R) in the bottom of the 6th. Katsuragi then tagged up to third on Keisuke Kano's (1-for-3, 2B, R) fly ball to center and came around to score two batter's later on Takashi Toritani's (0-for-4, RBI) ground out to second. Houlton would hold the Tigers offense to 2 hits over the final three innings of the game with the only real threat coming in the bottom of the 9th when Tomoaki Kanemoto (1-for-4, 2B) doubled with 2 out.
The Tigers countered with Yasutomo Kubo 4 days rest in the hopes that he'd bounce back from a less than stellar outing against the Eagles. Unfortunately the plan backfired and Kubo was tagged for 6 runs (5 earned) over 5.2 innings (6 H, 5 K, BB).
The first run scored on an error by Kanemoto out in left that allowed Munenori Kawasaki to score from first on a double by Jose Ortiz (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R). A 2-run homer by Hitoshi Tamura (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) two batters later gave the Hawks a quick 3-0 lead. 5 more runs in the sixth on 3 consecutive singles, followed by 2 consecutive walks and then a double put the game out of reach for the Tigers.
Houlton required 131 pitches for the complete game. ... 2 outs were already recorded when the Hawks started a rally in the 6th that would ultimately net them 5 runs. ... This was the second time Houlton and the Tigers faced each other. Houlton got the better of the Tigers in the first match-up as well: 7 IP, 2 H, 4 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 1 R, 1 ER.
Time: 3h 0m