Hiroshima Carp 6 - Yokohama Bay Stars 4
W: Takahiro Aoki (1-2; 5 IP, 2 H, 6 K, BB, 3 R, 2 ER)
Sv: Katsuhiro Nagakawa (22)
L: Tom Mastny (0-3; 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 K, 5 BB, 5 R, 5 ER)
The Bay Stars couldn't get much going against Takahiro Aoki and the Carp on Sunday. While they did manage to score 4 runs, more only 3 were earned. And of the three that were earned, 2 scored on a 2-run home by Shuichi Murata (1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) in the 4th.
The unearned run scored in the 5th after Andy Phillips botched a play out in left that allowed Takehiro Ishikawa (0-for-3, R) to get all the way third. Ishikawa then came around to score on Hiroaki Ohnishi (0-for-1, RBI) ground out to short.
The fourth run was charged to Ryuji Yokoyama and started off with a lead-off walk to Tatsuhiko Kinjo (1-for-3, BB, R). A single and a sac bunt pushed the runners up a base to second and third with only 1 out. The next batter, Takahiro Saeki (0-for-0, RBI), then hit a sac fly to right to score Kinjo at third. Incidentally, the runner that scored on Murata's 2-run shot in the 4th also led off the inning with a walk.
Over on the Yokohama mound, Tom Mastny was doing a fairly decent job until the top of the third when he started the inning off by retiring the first two batters he faced. But then he surrendered hits to the next three consecutive batters, the last, a 3-run home run to Andy Phillips (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, 4 RBI). And just like that the Bay Stars were down 3-0.
A solo home run by Shinobu Shima (1-for-2, BB, HR, R, 2 RBI) in the to of the 4th put the Carp up, 4-0. In the top of the 5th, with the Carp up 4-2, Mastny walked the first two batters he faced, struck out the third, walked the fourth to load the bases, and the surrendered a sac-fly to Shima. The Carp tacked on a 6th run in the top of the 9th on a sac-fly by Andy Phillips.
The Carp outhit the Bay Stars, 9-5. ... Aoki recorded his first win since September 18, 2007. ... Murata has now hit a home run in each of the last 2 games.
Carp: 7 LOB, 2 DP
Bay Stars: 4 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 3h 23m
Chunichi Dragons 5 - Yomiuri Giants 4
W: Yudai Kawai (8-0; 6 IP, 10 H, 4 K, 0 BB, 4 R, 4 ER)
Sv: Hitoki Iwase (23)
L: Tetsuya Utsumi (3-6; 4 IP, 10 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 5 R, 5 ER)
Neither starter pitched particularly well, but Yudai Kawai managed to do just a little bit better than Tetsuya Utsumi and ended up winning his 8th straight victory.
The Giants scored struck first, scoring a run on three singles. The Dragons returned the run, plus a second, in the bottom half of the inning to tak a 2-1 lead. Chunichi extended the lead in the third with a RBI single by Tony Blanco (2-for-4, RBI) and got a big boost in the bottom of the fourth when Motonobu Tanishige (1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) nailed his first home run of the season, a 2-run shot to left.
After the fourth inning, the Giants turned to the bullpen and got 4 shut-out innings and a chance to get back into the game.
Down 5-1 in the top of the 5th, Takayuki Terauchi (2-for-4, 2B, R) got things started with a double to right. Two ground outs later, the Giants scored their second run of the game. With 2 outs now left in the inning, Takahiro Suzuki (2-for-4, 2 R) singled, stole second, and came around to score on a single by Michihiro Ogasawara (2-for-4, R, RBI). A wild pitch then allowed Ogasawara to take second and a double by Alex Ramirez (2-for-4, 2 RBI) chased him home. Unfortunately for the Giants, Kawai and the Dragons bullpen bore down after that, holding the Giants to just one hit over the next 4.1 innings.
Hitoki Iwase tossed a perfect 9th for his 22nd save of the season.
The Dragons outhit the Giants, 13-10. ... Tanishige has hit at least 1 home run in each of his 21 years of pro baseball. Katsuya Nomura holds the current record (25) for the most number of seasons with a home run for a catcher.
Giants: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Dragons: 7 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 3h 19m
Hanshin Tigers 4 - Yakult Swallows 1
W: Yasutomo Kubo (3-4; 6 IP, 4 H, 2 K, 2 BB, R, ER)
Sv: Kyuji Fujikawa (9)
L: Masanori Ishikawa (7-5; 4 IP, 5 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 4 R, 3 ER)
Aarom Baldiris (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI) got the Tigers off to a nice start by hitting a lead-off home run in the first. Masanori Ishikawa settled after that, keeping the Tigers off the board until the bottom of the fourth.
Ishikawa retired the first two batters in the fourth, but then allowed the next 4 batters to get on base: a double by Tomoaki Kanemoto (2-for-4, R); a single by Craig Brazell (1-for-4); a run scoring single by Yudai Sakurai (2-for-4, R, RBI); and a walk to Takashi Toritani (1-for-1) to load the bases. An infield error by Kenzo Kawashima extended the inning and allowed another run to score, giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead. Ishikawa finally got the last out of the inning when he struck out Baldiris.
On the other side of the diamond, Yasutomo Kubo held the Swallows to just 2 hits over the first 5 innings of the game, although he did have something of a scare in the 4th, but an overzealous Kazuki Fukuchi (1-for-4, RBI) tried to score from second on a grounder to short hit by Shinya Miyamoto (0-for-4).
The Swallows did finally manage to score a run off Kubo in the top of the 6th when Fukuchi pushed the runner at third, Norichika Aoki (1-for-3, BB, 2B, R), across the plate on a ground out to first.
Two double plays over the next two innings kept the Swallows' offense in check and Kyuji Fujikawa struck out the side in the 9th for his 9th save of the season.
Both teams had 7 hits a piece. ... Baldiris' home run was his first since October 5, 2008.
Swallows: 5 LOB, 2 DP
Tigers: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 2h 45m
Softbank Hawks 3 - Nippon Ham Fighters 2
W: D.J. Houlton (6-3; 7 IP, 6 H, 7 K, BB, 2 R, ER)
Sv: Takahiro Mahara (14)
L: Brian Sweeney (2-5; 7 IP, 7 H, 2 K, BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
Brian Sweeney's loss came down to one pitch he threw to Nobuhiko Matsunaka (1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) in the top of the third that went for a 2-run home run. If not for that pitch, he would have held the Hawks to just 1 run, enough for a victory.
But more than that, D.J. Houlton did a great job containing the Fighters' offense. His only real mistake inning was in the bottom of the third after his team just put up a 3-spot. With 1 out, Makoto Kaneko (1-for-3, R) singled to left, stole second, and then scored on a double by Yoshio Itoi (2-for-4, 2 2B, R, RBI).
Takahiro Mahara retired the side in order in the the bottom 9th.
The Hawks outhit the Fighters, 10-6. ... The Hawks took over sole possession of first place with the win.
Fighters: 9 LOB, 0 DP
Hawks: 3 LOB, 2 DP
Time: 3h 28m
Seibu Lions 7 - Rakuten Eagles 6
W: Tetsuya Iwasaki (1-0; 1 IP, 2 H, 0 K, 1 BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Sv: Chikara Onodera (9)
L: Marcus Gwyn (1-2; .1 IP, H, 0 K, 4 BB, R, ER)
What an awful loss for the Eagles.
After taking a 2-0 lead on a 2-run homer by Fernando Seguignol (2-for-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI) in the bottom of the 1st, the Lions came back and scored two of their own in the top of the 4th on a run-scoring ground out to second by Yoshihito Ishii (1-for-4, 2 RBI) and an RBI single by G.G. Sato (3-for-4, BB, 2 RBI). But the Eagles fought back in the bottom half of the 4th when Naoto Watanabe (2-for-3, 2 BB, R, RBI) singled Norihiro Nakamura (4-for-4, BB, 2 R) home from third.
The Eagles tacked on another run in the bottom of the 6th on an RBI double by Seguignol and expanded there lead to 2 runs. In the top of the 7th, the Lions answered back with a run of their own. Masato Nakamura (2-for-6, 2B, R, 2 RBI) then came through with a big 2-run double in the bottom half of the inning to give the Eagles a 6-3 lead.
At this point, it appeared as though the Eagles would walk away with their first win since Katsuya Nomura turned 74, but the Lions had other plans. In the top of the 8th, with Shinichiro Koyama on the mound, Yutaro Ohsaki (0-for-4, BB, R) walked to lead-off the inning and then came around to score 1-out later on Tatsuyuki Uemoto's (1-for-2, HR, R, 2 RBI) first home run of his career. Yasuyuki Kataoka (4-for-6, R) followed with a single and stole second after the Eagles brought in Koji Aoyama in to relieve Koyama and Takumi Kuriyama (0-for-5, BB) fouled out to third. Nomura then called on Kanehisa Arime to relieve Aoyama and he promptly served up a game-tying RBI single to Hiroyuki Nakajima (1-for-3, 2 BB, 3 R, RBI). To add insult to injury, Arime then walked the next 3 consecutive batters to push the game-winning run in Nakajima, across home plate.
The Eagles did manage to put runners on first and second in both the 8th and 9th innings, but Takeshi Yamasaki (0-for-3, HBP, BB) and Todd Linden (1-for-4) couldn't come through with the key hit in the 8th and Daisuke Kusano (2-for-6) failed in the 9th.
It should also be noted that the Eagles left the bases loaded in both the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th innings.
The Eagles outhit the Lions, 14-13. ... The Eagles have now dropped 6 in a row.
Lions: 13 LOB, 1 DP
Eagles: 15 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 4h 40m
Chiba Lotte Marines 4 - Orix Buffaloes 1
W: Shingo Ono (5-4; 7.2 IP, 8 H, 3 K, 2 BB, R, ER)
Sv: Brian Sikorski (2)
L: Yoshihisa Hirano (2-5; 6 IP, 7 H, 4 K, 3 BB, 4 R, 4 ER)
Shingo Ono did a nice job keeping the Buffaloes off balance. Outside of the 8th inning when Greg LaRocca (1-for-4, RBI) singled home a run off Ono, the Buffaloes never posed much of a threat against Ono, except perhaps the 2nd inning when Naoyuki Ohmura (2-for-4) and Hiroyuki Oze (1-for-4) reached on consecutive singles with 1 out. But before anything could start, Ono got Koji Yamasaki (1-for-2, BB) to hit into a double play to end the threat.
Asides from the 2nd and 3rd innings where the Marines scored 4 runs in total, Yoshihisa Hirano actually pitched fairly well: 4 IP, 1 H, 4 K, BB, 0 R. In fact, all three outs in the first came on strike outs and he retired the last 7 batters he faced in order.
But that doesn't erase the lead-off home run by Saburo (2-for-3, BB, HR, R, RBI) or the sac fly by Koichi Hori (0-for-0, RBI) in the bottom of the second to give the Marines a 2-0 lead. Nor does it change the fact that Hirano loaded the bases in the 3rd and gave up an RBI single to Tasuku Hashimoto (2-for-3, R, RBI) and then walked in a run.
Incidentally, that third inning could have been much worse, but Hirano managed to wiggle out of the inning when he got Toshiaki Imae (0-for-3) to hit into a double play.
The Marines outhit the Buffaloes, 9-8. ... Hirano is suffering through a 4-game losing streak.
Buffaloes: 7 LOB, 1 DP
Marines: 7 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 2h 42m