Yokohama Bay Stars 2 - Yakult Swallows 1
W: Atsushi Kizuka (2-0; 1 IP, 0 H, K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
Sv: Shun Yamaguchi (10)
L: Chang-Yong Lim (3-1; 1 IP, H, 0 K, 0 BB, R, ER)
The Swallows took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd when Kenzo Kawashima (2-for-3, RBI) drove in Shinya Miyamoto (2-for-4, 2B, R) from third on a single off Koji Yoshimi (7 IP, 8 H, 3 K, 0 BB, R, ER). Yoshimi then settled down scattered 4 hits over the next 4 innings, until he was lifted in favor of Atsushi Kizuka.
In the meantime, Masanori Ishikawa (7 IP, 2 H, 2 K, 3 BB, HBP, 0 R) did a great job shutting down the Bay Stars offense. The only trouble he had was in the top of the 3rd when he gave up a lead-off single to Kentaro Ishikawa (2-for-3, R) and hit Takeshi Hosoyamada (0-for-2, HBP) to put runners on first and second with no out. Yoshimi did his job, laying down a bunt to move the runners up to second and third. But neither Yuki Yoshimura (0-for-3, 2 BB, R), nor Toshihisa Nishi (0-for-3) could come up with the big hit.
With a 1-0 lead, the Swallows brought in Ryota Igarashi to bridge the gap to Chang-Yong Lim. Unfortunately for the Swallows, Igarashi didn't have his usual stuff. He struck out the first batter he faced, but then walked Yoshimura. He got pinch-hitter Dan Johnson to ground out to short, but he then surrendered another walk to Seiichi Uchikawa (1-for-3, 2B, BB). With runners on first and second, Shuichi Murata (1-for-3, BB, 2B, RBI) hit a double to left, tying the game at 1. Another walk loaded the bases, but Igarashi bore down and got Tatsuhiko Kinjo (0-for-4) to fly out to left.
The Swallows went down in order in the bottom of the 8th and in the top of the 9th, the Swallows brought in Lim to hold down the lead. But he allowed the lead-off hitter, Ishikawa, to reach base on a single. The next batter then attempted to bunt on the first pitch from Lim, but missed. With the runner taking off from first, Ryoji Aikawa fired the ball to second, but the ball got away from Kawashima and Ishikawa was safe at second. Hosokawa would ultimately get the bunt down, moving Ishikawa to third with only 1 out. Kazuya Fujita (0-for-0, RBI) then hit a sac fly to drive in what would ultimately become the game-winning run.
Shun Yamaguchi tossed a perfect 9th for his 10th save of the year.
The Swallows outhit the Bay Stars, 8-4. ... The Crown Prince and his family were on hand at the game. ... The Bay Stars not only stopped Igarashi's scoreless appearance streak, but they also scored an earned run of Lim, the first of the season.
Bay Stars: 8 LOB, 1 DP
Swallows: 6 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 4m
Chunichi Dragons 4 - Hiroshima Carp 0
W: Yudai Kawai (9-0; 9 IP, 8 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
L: Takeshi Komatsu (2-1; 8 IP, 5 H, 3 K, 3 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
Despite giving up 8 hits and 2 walks, Yudai Kawai did a great job of keeping the Carp from scoring any runs. He even loaded the bases in the top of the 7th with no out but then wiggle out of the inning by getting Yoshikazu Kura (1-for-3) to ground into a double play and then struck out pinch-hitter Shigenobu Shima to end the inning. The Carp also had the start of something going in the 2nd inning, but Scott McClain (0-for-2, 2 BB) tried to score from second on a single by Kura, but was thrown out at home.
The Dragons had an easier time scoring off the Carp, putting 3 runs on the board in the bottom of the 4th of Takeshi Komatsu. And it all started with a lead-off single by Masahiro Araki (1-for-4, R), a stolen base, and a walk to Masahiko Morino (0-for-3, R) to put runners on first and second. Komatsu managed to get Tony Blanco (1-for-3, BB, RBI) out on a fly ball to right, but Kazuhiro Wada (2-for-4, 3B, R, 2 RBI) followed with a 2-run triple. The next batter, Atsushi Fujii (1-for-4, 2B, RBI), then drove Wada home on a double to left, putting the Dragons up by 3. Komatsu bore down and struck out Issei Nakamura (1-for-3) for the second out of the inning, intentionally walked Motonobu Tanishige (0-for-2), and struck out Kawaii (0-for-3) to end the inning.
Another run in the top of the 5th gave the Dragons a 4-0 lead.
Both teams collected 8 hits. ... The Carp were swept by the Dragons and outscored, 9-1.
Carp: 7 LOB, 2 DP
Dragons: 5 LOB, 2 DP
Time: 2h 57m
Yomiuri Giants 2 - Hanshin Tigers 1
W: Tetsuya Utsumi (4-6; 9 IP, 7 H, 5 K, 0 BB, R, ER)
L: Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (5-6; 6 IP, 4 H, 2 K, BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Both starters did a great job over the first 5 innings of the game. Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi held the Giants to just a hit and a walk, retiring 11 straight at one point. And while Tetsuya Utsumi didn't give up a run until the 8th inning, his first 5 innings were perhaps his strongest.
In the end, it came down the top of the 6th when the Giants managed to string together 3 hits to score 2 runs: 2 singles by Hayato Sakamoto (1-for-4, R) and Takahiro Suzuki (1-for-4, R), followed by a huge, 2-run double by Michihiro Ogasawara (1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI). The Tigers bullpen then bore down and held the Giants to one hit over the final 3.2 innings of the game.
The Tigers scored their lone run in the bottom of the 8th when Keisuke Kano (2-for-4) led off the inning with a double. He almost ruined things when he was thrown out trying to go to third on a grounder by pinch-hitter Mitsunobu Takahashi, but he stayed caught up in a run down long enough for Takahashi to get to second. Yamato then came in to pinch-run for Takahashi and would later score on a 2-out, infield single by Kentaro Sekimoto (1-for-4, RBI). The Tigers got another hit after that to put runners on first and second, but Utsumi got Tomoaki Kanemoto (0-for-4) to ground out to second to end the inning.
The Tigers outhit the Giants, 7-5.
Giants: 4 LOB, 0 DP
Tigers: 7 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 2h 30m
Nippon Ham Fighters 7 - Chiba Lotte Marines 6
W: Naoki Miyanishi (4-0; 2 IP, H, 5 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
L: Yoshihiro Ito (2-2; .2 IP, 3 H, 0 K, 0 BB, R, ER)
The Fighters took a 1-0 lead off Shingo Ono (4 IP, 8 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 5 R, 5 ER) in the bottom of the 3rd on Makoto Kaneko's (5-for-6, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) 9th home run of the season. The Marines answered back with 2 runs off Brian Sweeney (5 IP, 6 H, K, 4 BB, 3 R, 3 ER) in the top of the 4th on back-to-back RBI doubles by Tomoya Satozaki (2-for-5, BB, 2B, R, 2 RBI) and Tasuku Hashimoto (1-for-5, 2B, RBI).
But the Fighters weren't ready to relinquish the lead for very long, grabbing a 5-2 lead in the bottom half of the inning on a grand slam by Shota Ohno (1-for-4, HR, R, 4 RBI). The Marines made sure the Fighters wouldn't let up their guard by scoring a run in the top of the 5th on a sac fly by Shoitsu Ohmatsu (2-for-4, BB, R, RBI).
The Fighters extended their lead in the bottom of the 8th on Kaneko's second home run of the game. But that didn't stop the Marines from staging a rally in the top of the 9th.
Hisashi Takeda entered the game in the top of the 9th, but instead of recording his 17th save, he gave up three consecutive singles to start the inning, and allowed a run to score on a ground out by Tadahito Iguchi (2-for-5, 2 2B, RBI). Takeda struck out Omatsu for the second out of the inning and for a moment, it appeared as though he might be able to get out of the inning. But Saboru (1-for-6, RBI) and Satozaki followed with RBI singles to tie the game at 6 and push the game into extra innings.
It wasn't until the bottom of the 12th that a winner was finally decided. The Marines sent Yoshihiro Ito to the mound to try and shut the Fighters down for an inning, and almost got out of the inning by stranding runners on second and third, but pinch-hitter Tomohiro Nioka managed to drive a 2-out single to right, scoring the game-winning run from third.
The Fighters outhit the Marines, 17-14. ... Kaneko collected 5 hits for the first time in his 16 year career. It was also the first time in 12 years that he hit 2 home runs in a game. ... The Fighters swept the series and outscored the Marines, 17-11.
Marines: 12 LOB, 1 DP
Fighters: 14 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 4h 59m
Seibu Lions 3 - Orix Buffaloes 2
W: Kazuyuki Hoashi (4-3; 7 IP, 5 H, 8 K, 3 BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Sv: Chikara Onodera (11)
L: Yoshihisa Hirano (2-6; 7 IP, 7 H, 4 K, 4 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
Jose Fernandez (3-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) got things started with a solo home run off Kazuyuki Hoashi in the top of the 1st. The Lions returned the run in the bottom of the 2nd on Takeya Nakamura's (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, RBI) 30th home run of the season.
G.G. Sato's (1-for-3, RBI) run-scoring single in the bottom of the 4th off Yoshihisa Hirano put the Lions in front, 2-1. But an RBI single by Fernandez in the top of the 6th re-tied the game at 2. But that would be short-lived as Yoshihito Ishii (2-for-3, RBI) followed with a 1-out RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to give the Lions a 3-2 lead. A GIDP by G.G. Sato with runners on first and second, kept the Lions from scoring any more runs in the inning.
With the help of a GIDP, Chikara Onodera closed out the 9th for his 11th save of the season.
Both teams collected 8 hits a piece. ... The Buffaloes grounded into 2 double play over the final 2 innings of the game. ... The last time Hoashi won a game was back on June 13.
Buffaloes: 8 LOB, 2 DP
Lions: 4 LOB, 4 DP
Time: 2h 54m
Softbank Hawks 8 - Rakuten Eagles 0
W: D.J. Houlton (7-3; 7 IP, 7 H, 6 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
L: Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5; 5 IP, 9 H, 3 K, BB, HBP, 7 R, 7 ER)
Perhaps it was the rust from not starting an Ichi-gun since June 14th. Whatever the reason, Hisashi Iwakuma struggled with his command and failed to keep the ball on the ground.
In the bottom of the 4th, Iwakuma gave up a lead-off solo home run to Nobuhiko Matsunaka (3-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI); a single later, a 2-run homer to Hitoshi Tamura (2-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI); and 2 outs later, another solo home run to Hidenori Tanoue (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI). Then, in the bottom of the 5th, after getting the first batter of the inning to fly out to left, Iwakuma walked Jose Ortiz (0-for-2, 2 BB, R) and gave up a single to Matsunaka, before serving up a big, 3-run home run by Hiroki Kokubo (3-for-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI).
The Hawks scored their 8th and final run in the bottom of the 7th off Akira Matsumoto.
On the other side of the mound, D.J. Houlton tossed 7 solid innings to pick up his 7th win of the season. Houlton did run into some trouble in the 6th (runners on first and third with 2 out) and 7th (runners on first and second with 1 out) innings, but he managed to get out of both unscathed.
The Eagles managed to put together another threat in the 9th with Akio Mizuda on the mound, but Masato Nakamura (0-for-5) grounded out to second to end the inning (and the game) with runners on second and third.
The Hawks outhit the Eagles, 11-9. ... Iwakuma gave up 4 home runs for the first time in his career.
Eagles: 10 LOB, 0 DP
Hawks: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 19m