Mike will have the other game covered in SimCentral's Baseball News and More section.
Chiba Lotte Marines 9 - Yomiuri Giants 4
W: Naoki Shimizu (3-3; 7 IP, 6 H, 4 K, BB, R, ER)
L: Tetsuya Utsumi (2-5; 6.2 IP, 6 H, 7 K, BB, 4 R, 4 ER)
The game was pretty close through the first 6 or so innings that Tetsuya Utsumi pitched. Things quickly got out of hand after that as the Giants bullpen coughed up 5 runs on 5 hits (which included 2 home runs and 3 doubles), 4 walks, and an HBP.
Tsuyoshi Nishimura (2-for-4, BB, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI) belted a lead-off homer off Utsumi to give the Marines an early 1-0 lead in the first. The Giants quickly answered back when Alex Ramirez (0-for-3, R, RBI) chased Tetsuya Matsumoto (1-for-4, 2B, R) home with a sac fly in the bottom of the first. The score would remain tied at one until the top of the 6th when Naotaka Takehara (2-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI) nailed his 2nd home run of the season to put the Marines in front, 2-0.
The Marines tacked 2 more runs on in the top of the 7th after they loaded the bases and Takehara came through with a big 2-run double off Shun Tono (both runs were charged to Utsumi). A solo home run by Tadahito Iguchi (2-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI) to lead off the 8th, and a 2-run home run by Toshiaki Imae 2 outs later, gave the Marines a 7-1 lead.
The Giants finally managed to come through against the Marines with a few runs in their half of the 8th. With Yoshihiro Ito on the mound in relief of Shimizu, Yoshiyuki Kamei (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, 2 RBI) hit a 2-run home run, followed by a pinch-hit solo home run by Shinnosuke Abe (1-for-1, HR, R, RBI) to cut the lead to 7-4. But the Marines would put the game away for good with 2 more runs in the 9th on a 2-run double by Iguchi.
Taishi Ohta made his first pro appearance when he pinch hit for Matsumoto in the botom of the 9th and struck out. ... The two teams finished 1-1-2 against each other during Inter-league play this season.
Time: 3h 2m
Yakult Swallows 6 - Seibu Lions 5
W: Chang-Yong Lim (2-0; 1 IP, H, 0 K, 2 BB, R, 0 ER)
L: Ming-Chieh Hsu (0-1: .1 IP, H, 0 K, BB, HBP, R, 0 ER)
Neither starter was particular effective, but they both did just enough to keep their teams close. Masanori Ishikawa (7 IP, 8 H, 4 K, BB, 4 R, 4 ER) started the game for the Swallows and gave up all four of his run on home runs: a 2-run homer to Hiroyuki Nakajima (2-for-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) in the first; and back-to-back homers to start the fourth by Nakajima and Takeya Nakamura (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI).
Takayuki Kishi (7 IP, 9 H, 3 K, 0 BB, 4 R, 4 ER) was on the mound for the Lions and gave up 3 of his 4 runs on the long ball: a 2-run blast by Shinichi Takeuchi (4-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) in the third; and a solo homer to Aaron Guiel (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) in the 4th. The fourth run he surrendered came in the bottom of the 5th when Norichika Aoki (0-for-4, RBI) chased a runner home on a ground out to second with the bases loads with only 1 out.
With both teams knotted at 4 after 7 fulling innings of play, the winner would be decided over the final 2 innings of the game.
The Swallows struck first in the bottom of the 8th when Jamie D'Antona (1-for-4, 2B) doubled off reliever John Wasdin to get things started. He (or rather the pinch-runner) would later come around to score on a single by Ryoji Aikawa (1-for-4, RBI) to give the Swallows their first lead of the game. But it would be short lived as the Lions fought back against Chang-Yong Lim.
G.G. Sato (2-for-4) reached first on an error to start the top of the 9th. The next two batters failed to move or drive Sato in. And for a moment, it appeared as though Lim had a another save locked away. But then Tatsuyuki Uemoto (1-for-1, 2B, RBI) nailed a pinch-hit double to tie the game at 5. Lim would walk the next two batters he faced to load the bases, before ultimately retiring Nakajima on a hard-hit grounder to second that almost got through.
After Yuichi Matsumoto (1-for-1, 2B) hit a lead-off double for the Swallows, Takeuchi was intentionally walked. Hiroyasu Tanaka (2-for-3) laid down a bunt to move the runners to second and third. Perhaps feeling the pressure, Ming-Chieh Hsu hit Yasushi Iihara (0-for-0, HBP) to load the bases with only one out. D'Antona's pinch-running replacement, Kazuki Fukuchi (0-for-1, R), then hit a grounder to first, which Nakamura was easily able to field, but absolutely botched when throwing home, to give the Swallows their second straight walk-off win.
The two teams finish Inter-league play with a 2-2 record against each. ... Aoki left the game early after he appeared to hurt his leg while running down the first base line in the bottom of the 7th. ... Aoki was the only starter in the line-up that did not have at least 1 hit. ... Ryota Igarashi has now gone 21 straight apperances without surrendering a run. That eclipses the previous mark set by Lim earlier this year. ... Nakajima picked up his 100th and 101st career home runs. His 10 home runs on the season now gives him 6 consecutive seasons of 10+ home runs. ... The Lions have now lost 5 in a row. ... The Swallows have now won 7 in a row and are only 2 games behind the Giants.
Time: 3h 16m
Softbank Hawks 5 - Yokohama Bay Stars 0
W: Toshiya Sugiuchi (7-1; 9 IP, 3 H, 7 K, BB, 0 R)
L: Daisuke Miura (6-5; 4 IP, 7 H, 3 K, BB, 5 R, 5 ER)
The Bay Stars' offense couldn't do much against the Toshiya Sugiuchi and the Softbank Hawks. Over 9 innings they could only muster 3 singles against Suigiuchi.
Daisuke Miura wasn't quite as unhittable, as he surrendered 7 hits, 3 of which were home runs.
Munenori Kawasaki (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) got things started in the first with his 2nd home run of the season. 2-run single by Hidenori Tanoue (2-for-4, 2 RBI) with runners on second and third with 1 out in the second gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead. Yuya Hasegawa (1-for-3, BB, HR, 2 R, RBI) and Nobuhiro Matsuda (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI) then went back-to-back to start the fourth, giving the Hawks a very comfortable 5-run lead.
Miura was taken out after the fourth and the Bay Stars pen did a nice job keeping the Hawks off the board, giving up only a walk over the final 5 innings of the game (another base-runner did reach in the 7th, but that was on an error).
The Hawks took the series, 4-0. ... The Hawks hit 9 home runs during the 2-game series against the Bay Stars.
Time: 2h 45m
Hanshin Tigers 4 - Rakuten Eagles 2
W: Atsushi Noumi (3-4; 5 IP, 4 H, 2 K, BB, 2 R, ER)
Sv: Kyuji Fujikawa (7)
L: Hiromichi Fujiwara (0-1; 4 IP, 6 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
The Eagles' offense sputtered all afternoon and barely managed to put 2 runs on the board in the top of the 5th when Motohiro Shima (1-for-2, R) reached first on an error and then scored on Jin Nakatani's (1-for-2, HR, R, 2 RBI) first home run of the season. The Eagles did have a scoring opportunity in the top of the sixth, but Jobu ended the threat when he grounded into a 5-4-3 double play with runners on first and second with 1 out.
The Tigers' offense fairly slightly better, scoring a run in the second on a triple by Kodai Sakurai (2-for-3, 3B, R, RBI) and an RBI single by the next batter, Takashi Toritani (1-for-3, RBI); 2 runs in the third on two big run-scoring singles with 2 outs by Craig Brazell (1-for-4, RBI) and Sakurai; and a run on three consecutive singles to Kentaro Sekimoto (3-for-4, 2B, 2 R), Takahiro Arai (1-for-2, 2 BB, R), and Tomoaki Kenemoto (1-for-4) to load the bases and a GIDP by Brazell that plated Sekimoto from third for the Tigers' 4th run of the game.
The Tigers did waste a potential scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 7th when Norihiro Akahoshi (1-for-4) singled to begin the inning, but he was quickly erased when he tried to steal second. Sekimoto followed with a hit after that, but Arai hit into a double play to end the inning.
Kyuji Fujikawa came into the game in the 9th and walked the first batter he faced. But bore down after that and retired the next three in order: strike out, fly out to center, strike out.
The Tiger and Eagles split the season Inter-league series at 2 games a piece. ... The Tigers need to go 3-1 over their next four in order to finish with a .500 record for June (they are currently 6-8). ... Nakatani's first home run of the season was also the first home run of his pro career.
Time: 3h 4m
Hiroshima Carp 7 - Nippon Ham Fighters 5
W: Kenta Maeda (5-5; 6 IP, 10 H, 7 K, 0BB, 5 R, 4 ER)
Sv: Katsuhiro Nagakawa (20)
L: Masaru Takeda (3-5; .2 IP, 3 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Kenta Maeda had a rough outing, giving up 5 runs to the Fighters over 6 innings of work. The 6th inning was particularly bad when he started the inning off by giving up 2 consecutive doubles to Shinji Takahashi (3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI) and Terrmel Sledge (1-for-4, BB, 2B, RBI). He bore down to get two outs after that, only to surrendered two more consecutive hits: a pinch-hit RBI single to Tomohiro Nioka (1-for-1, R, RBI) and a pinch-hit, game-tying RBI double to Jason Botts (1-for-1, 2B, RBI).
But a 2-run home run by Eishin Soyogi (1-for-4, BB, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) in the bottom of the 6th off Masaru Takeda allowed the Carp to regain a 7-5 lead. The Carp bullpen stepped in for Maeda in the 7th and shut-down the Fighter's offense, limiting them to 2 hits and 2 walks over the final 3 innings of the game.
Nagakawa walked the first batter he faced in the 9th, but then retired the next three in order for his 20th save of the season.
Akihiro Higashide (3-for-3, BB, 2 R, RBI), Masato Akamatsu (2-for-4, 2 RBI), and Go Kida (1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) helped play key roles for the Carp when the team scored 2 runs in the third and 3 runs in the fourth. Eiichi Koyano went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Fighters.
The Carp and Fighters ended their seasonal Inter-league series at 2 games a piece. ... Nagakawa has now saved at least 20 games in each of his last four seasons. ... The Fighters outhit the Carp, 12-10 and left more runners on base, 9-6. ... Takahashi has now collected at least 1 RBI in 8 straight games.
Time: 3h 27m