Yakult Swallows 4 - Yokohama Bay Stars 2
W: Chang-Yong Lim (3-0; 1 IP, H, K, BB, 0 R)
L: Hiroki Sanada (2-2; 0 IP, 2 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Starting pitchers for both teams did well, but neither was involved in the final decision. Daisuke Miura (7 IP, 4 H, 4 K, 4 BB, 2 R, 2 ER) started for the Bay Stars while Ryo Kawashima (5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 K, 3 BB, R, ER) got the nod for the Swallows. Both pitchers also gave up all their runs in the first inning: Kawashima gave up a run in the first on an RBI single by Shuichi Murata (1-for-2, 2 BB, RBI) and Miura gave up 2 runs on an RBI single by Kazuki Fukuchi (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) and a sac fly by Aaron Guiel (1-for-2, BB, HR, R, 3 RBI).
The Bay Stars would finally tie the game in the top of the 7th on a lead-off walk, a sac bunt, and then an RBI single by Yuki Yoshimura (2-for-5, RBI).
But the deciding blow didn't come until the bottom of the 9th with Hiroki Sanada on the mound for the Bay Stars. Jamie D'Antona (2-for-4) led off the inning with a single to right. Guiel then drilled a walk-off, 2-run home run to give the Swallows a 4-2 victory over the Bay Stars.
The Bay Stars and Swallows had the same number of hits, 6. ... Despite winning tonight, the Swallows are still only 2-6 against the Bay Stars this season. ... The Bay Stars have now dropped their last 3 games. ... The Swallows now have 5 walk-off victories this season.
Bay Stars: 8 LOB, 1 DP
Swallows: 4 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 18m
Chunichi Dragons 3 - Hiroshima Carp 0
W: Junichi Kawahara (1-0; 1 IP, H, 0 K, BB, 0 R)
L: Masaki Hayashi (0-2; .1 IP, H, 0 K, 2 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
Weiyin Chen (7 IP, 4 H, 11 K, BB, 0 R) got the start for the Dragons and held the Carp to just 4 hits and struck out 11 over 7 innings of work. The best the chance the Carp had to score came in the top of the 1st: Chen walked the lead-off hitter and Akihiro Higashide (0-for-3) reached on an error, putting runners on first and second with no out. Chen then bore down and got Andy Phillips (2-for-4) to fly out to right and struck out both Kenta Kurihara (0-for-4) and Scott McClain (1-for-4) to get out of the inning.
Kan Ohtake (6 IP, 6 H, 6 K, BB, 0 R) started for the Carp pitched in and out of trouble over his 6 innings of work. In each of the 6 innings he pitched, he allowed at least one base runner. But the best chance for the Dragons to score probably came in the first when Kazuhiro Wada (0-for-3, BB) stepped up to bat with runners on first and third with 2 out. But Wada ended up striking out to end the threat and the inning.
The Dragons got another chance with Ryuji Yokoyama on the mound in relief of Ohtake in the 7th when he loaded the bases with two out and Masahiko Morino (2-for-4, IBB, R) up to bat. But Yokoyama bore down and got Morino to strike out on 5 pitches.
The game was finally decided in the bottom of the 10th when Masaki Hayashi entered the game in relief. He retired the first batter he faced on a ground out to third. But then he walked Masahiro Araki (1-for-4, BB, R). Araki proceeded to steal second on the first pitch, opening up first base.
Pop quiz: you have first base open and Masahiko Morino is up to bat with Tony Blanco in the on-deck circle. What do you do?
Perhaps it was from being too careful, but the Carp ended up intentionally walking Morino to face Tony Blanco. And what does he do? He takes the second pitch from Hayashi over the left field walk for a walk-off, 3-run home run.
The Dragons outhit the Carp, 9-5. ... Kawahara picked up his first win since 2005.
Carp: 7 LOB, 1 DP
Dragons: 9 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 31m
Yomiuri Giants 7 - Hanshin Tigers 5
W: Daisuke Ochi (5-1; 2 IP, 2 H, K, 0 BB, 0 R)
Sv: Takahiko Nomaguchi (1)
L: Atsushi Noumi (3-7; .1 IP, 3 H, K, 0 BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
This is a game the Giants really should have won in regulation time. But the Tigers offense kept matching the Giants', run for run over the first 11 innings.
The Giants scored 3 off Minoru Iwata (5.2 IP, 10 H, 5 K, BB, HBP, 5 R, 2 ER) in the top of the second when they loaded the bases with 3 straight singles (Yoshiyuki Kamei, Shinnosuke Abe, and Ryota Wakiya) to start the game. Shigeyuki Furuki (0-for-5, R, RBI) then hit a grounder to second. The throw went to home and got Kamei out at the plate for the first out. The catcher then threw over to first in an attempt to complete a double play, but the throw was off-line. Furuki to advance to second, Wakiya went to third, and Abe scored the first run of the game. Dicky Gonzalez (1-for-2, BB, 2B, 2 RBI) then followed with a bases clearing double to put the Giants in front, 3-0.
The Tigers came back and scored 3 runs for their own off Dicky Gonzalez (6 IP, 6 H, 6 K, BB, 3 R, ER) in the bottom of the 4th after a passed ball moved runners up to second and third with no out and set up Tomoaki Kanemoto's (2-for-6, R, 2 RBI) run-scoring single and Craig Brazell's (0-for-5, RBI) sac fly. A hit and a walk later, Keisuke Kano (2-for-4, R, RBI) then tied the game with an RBI single to right.
The Giants would take the lead again on Alex Ramirez's (2-for-5, BB, RBI) tie-breaking RBI single in the top of the 5th and extend their lead on Hayato Sakamoto's (3-for-6, 2B, RBI) RBI double in the 6th.
With Micheal Nakamura now on the mound for the Giants, the Tigers scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th to tie the game at 5: a pinch-hit RBI double by Weichu Lin (1-for-1, 2B, RBI) and a game-tying RBI infield single by Kanemoto.
From this point on, it became a battle of the bullpens. And it wasn't until the top of the 12th that a run finally crossed the plate.
Atsushi Noumi came on in relief for the Tigers in the top of the 12th. He struck out Michihiro Ogaswara (0-for-6) to start the inning, but then surrendered three consecutive singles, the third being off the bat of Abe and scoring the go-ahead run. The Tigers dipped into the pen on last time and called on Masashi Sajikihara to try and stop the bleeding, but he ended up walking Seung-Yeop Lee on four straight pitches to re-load the bases and then giving up another run on a sac fly to Furuki.
The Giants brought in a fresh arm to pitch the bottom of the 12th and Takahiko Nomaguchi would not disappoint, retiring Aarom Baldiris, Kanemoto, and Brazell in order for the first save of his pro career.
Both teams collected 14 hits. ... The Giants have a 3 game winning streak going. ... The Tigers have lost 3 straight.
Giants: 11 LOB, 0 DP
Tigers: 9 LOB, 2 DP
Time: 5h 9m
Nippon Ham Fighters 4 - Chiba Lotte Marines 0
W: Kazuhito Tadano (3-2; 9 IP, H, 8 K, 4 BB, 0 R)
L: Hiroyuki Kobayashi (1-7; 8 IP, 7 H, 5 K, BB, HBP, 4 H, 3 ER)
Kazuhito Tadano took a no-hitter into the top of the 9th and was 1 out away, but Shoitsu Ohmatsu (1-for-4) spoiled it by hitting a single to right. Incidentally, he carried a perfect game into the 4th with 2 outs, but then walked Tadahito Iguchi (0-for-3, BB) on 7 pitches.
Hiroyuki Kobayashi actually pitched well, but when your opponent tosses a 1-hit shut-out, you have very little room to work with.
Kobayashi held the Fighters to 1 run over the first 6 innings of the game. And if not for a bad throw on a grounder to short in the 7th, who knows if he still gives up any runs in the 7th. But the error did happen and it led to an Eiichi Koyano (1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) 2-run double two batters later. Kobayashi gave up another run in the 8th on Takahashi's 6th home run of the season.
The Fighters outhit the Marines, 7-1.
Marines: 5 LOB, 0 DP
Fighters: 6 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 2h 13m
Orix Buffaloes 6 - Seibu Lions 3
W: Shogo Yamamoto (6-2; 7 IP, 6 H, 5 K, 5 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
Sv: Daisuke Kato (12)
L: Tetsuya Iwasaki (2-1; .1 IP, 2 H, 0 K, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Shogo Yamamoto had a rough first inning, giving up 2 hits and a walk to load the bases with 2 out. Tomoaki Sato then followed through with a big 2-run single to give the Lions an early 2-0 lead.
Kazuhisa Ishii (7 IP, 6 H, 5 K, 5 BB, 3 R, 3 ER) got the start for the Lions and managed to keep the Buffaloes off-balance for the first 3 innings he pitched. But a streak of wildness hit him in the 4th. After getting the first batter out on a fly ball, he walked 2 consecutive hitters. He recorded the second out on another fly ball and then hit Keiji Ohbiki (1-for-3, HBP, R, 2 RBI) to load the bases. Fumihiro Suzuki (1-for-3, BB, 2B, 3 RBI) then nailed a bases clearing double to give the Buffaloes a 3-2 lead.
The Lions then tied the game on an RBI single by Sato in the 5th. The game would remain tied until the top of the 8th when the Lions dipped into the pen and replaced Ishii with Tetsuya Iwasaki.
Iwasaki walked the first batter he faced, then got Greg LaRocca (1-for-3, 2 BB, R, RBI) to ground out to short. But then he gave up two consecutive hits: a double to Shinji Shimoyama (1-for-5, 2B, R) and a tie-breaking, 2-run single to Ohbiki.
The Buffaloes would score one last run in the top of the 9th on an RBI single by LaRocca with runners on first and second and 2 out.
The Buffaloes outhit the Lions, 8-7. ... The Lions had a 6 game winning streak heading into tonight's game.
Buffaloes: 9 LOB, 1 DP
Lions: 8 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 19m
Softbank Hawks 1 - Rakuten Eagles 0
W: Takahiro Mahara (3-1; 1 IP, 1 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 R)
L: Marcus Gwyn (1-3; 1 IP, 1 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 1 R, 0 ER)
Tough loss for the Eagles. Especially when you consider that they gave up 14 hits to the Hawks and yet somehow managed to hold them to a single run over 10.2 innings. And if not for an error by Makoto Kosaka, the run never would have scored.
The Eagles couldn't really get much of anything going against the Hawks. The bottom-half (last 4 hitters) of the line-up went a combined 0-for-13 with 4 walks and 8 strike outs. And while the top-half of the line-up did manage to collect 5 hits, none of them came in the same inning. On top of all of that, the Eagles couldn't take advantage of lead-off batters getting on base in both the 7th (walk to Todd Linden) and 11th (double by Ryo Hijirisawa) innings.
The Hawks had no shortage of base runners throughout the game. In fact, the Eagles managed to retire the side in order only twice (2nd and 3rd) -- in every other inning the Hawks recorded at least one hit (and had 2 hits in five of those innings). And while they managed to take advantage of a bases loaded situation in the 11th when Nobuhiko Matsunaka (1-for-5, BB, RBI) singled home the game-winning run, they wasted a bases loaded situation in the 5th (Jose Ortiz struck out to end the inning).
The Hawks outhit the Eagles, 14-5. ... Yuichi Honda led the Hawks' hit parade with 4 hits in 6 trips to the plate. ... The Hawks have now won 3 in a row.
Eagles: LOB 11, 0 DP
Hawks: LOB 16, 1 DP
Time: 4h 26m