Hanshin Tigers 5 - Yomiuri Giants 1
W: Scott Atchison (4-2; 1 IP, 0 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
L: Daisuke Ochi (5-2; 0 IP, 4 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 4 R, 4 ER)
The Giants wasted a perfectly good outing by Dicky Gonzalez (7 IP, 2 H, 4 K, 4 BB, HBP, 0 R, 0 ER). The Tigers did manage to load the bases against Gonzalez in the top of the third, but an error the cause of that. If there was one bad thing about the outing, it was the 4 walks and HBP that he gave up -- prior to his start he had only given up 6 walks through 74 innings of work.
Tigers' starter Satoru Kanemura (6 IP, 3 H, 3 K, 0 BB, R, ER) also pitched a solid game as well, giving up only 3 hits over 6 innings of work. And the one run he did surrender, was on a solo home run by Yoshiyuki Kamei (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI) in the bottom of the 2nd.
And so the game really came do to the bullpens. After Kanemura came out, the Tigers sent in Hirotaka Egusa, Scott Atchison, and Kyuji Fujikawa to toss the final three innings of the game and keep the Tigers close. They did just that, completely shutting down the Yomiuri offense.
Gonzalez pitched an inning deeper than Kanemura, so all the Giants had to worry about were 2 innings of relief. They turned turned to Wirfin Obispo, Tetsuya Yamaguchi, Daisuke Ochi, and Micheal Nakamura.
The Tigers were retired in order in the 8th with Obispo getting the first 2 outs and Yamaguchi getting the final out. Yamaguchi retired the first batter in the 9th and was relieved by Ochi. And that's where things started to unravel. Ochi gave up a single to Takahiro Arai (1-for-4, R) and then gave up a 2-run shot to Takashi Toritani (1-for-2, 2 BB, HR, R, 2 RBI). He gave up another single to Keisuke Kano (1-for-3, HBP, R) and allowed him to move up to second on a wild pitch. The wild pitch ended up being the least of his worries as he then gave up another 2-run home run, this time to pinch-hitter Weichu Lin. Tatsuya Hara yanked Ochi after that and brought in Nakamura to stop the bleeding, but he surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced, Ikuro Katsuragi (1-for-2, HR, R, RBI), before finally retiring the next two batters to get out of the nightmare inning.
The Tigers outhit the Giants, 7-3. ... This is Kanemura second season with the Tigers. He has yet to record a win with the team.
Tigers: 7 LOB, 1 DP
Giants: 2 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 3m
Chunichi Dragons 12 - Yokohama Bay Stars 0
W: Weiyin Chen (3-2; 9 IP, 3 H, 8 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
L: Tom Mastny (1-4; 3.1 IP, 11 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 9 R, 6 ER)
Weiyin Chen had a great game for the Dragons as he completely shut down the Bay Stars offense, scattering just 3 hits over 9 innings of work. He once retired 13 batters in a row between the 3rd and 7th innings and never really struggled in the game, except for perhaps in the 2nd when an error allowed the lead-off man to reach and a hit put runners on first and second with only 1 out. But Chen bore down and retired the next two batters in order.
On the other side of the Diamond, Tom Mastny had just about the worst start a pitcher could have. He gave up 2 runs in the first on 2-out RBI singles by Kazuhiro Wada (2-for-2, BB, R, 2 RBI) and Atsushi Fujii (3-for-5, 2 RBI).
The 2nd inning started ominously with Shuichi Murata bobbling a ball to allow the lead-off batter to reach. A bunt move the runner up a base and an infield single by Hirokazu Ibata (2-for-5, HR, 2 R, RBI) put runners on first and third. Then both Masahiro Araki (4-for-5, 2B, 3 R, RBI) and Masahiko Morino (1-for-3, RBI) connected for RBI singles to give the Dragons a 4-0. Tony Blanco (1-for-4, BB, 2B, 2 R, RBI) went down swinging but Wada managed to get another run home with a single. With runners on first and third, Fujii struck out to end the inning.
Mastny managed a 1-2-3 third, but the run monster reared it's ugly head again in the top of the 4th. After giving up a lead-off home run to Ibata, Mastny surrendered a single to Araki. Morino struck out for the first out of the inning, but Araki still managed to move up a base when he stole second on the strike out. Blanco struck out in his prior at bat with runners on first and third, but this time he nailed a double to push the Dragons' seventh run across the plate. A wild pitch and a walk put runners on first and third. Fujii's single scored Blanco and finished Mastny's night. Kentaro Takasaki retired the first batter he faced, Hidenori (0-for-4), but a passed ball allowed another run to score. The inning finally ended with the next batter.
But the Dragons weren't quite finished on offense: they scored 2 more runs in the 6th on Masaaki Koike's (1-for-2, HR, R, 2 RBI) fourth home run of the season and their last and final run in the 9th on Issei Nakamura's first home run of his career.
The Dragons outhit the Bay Stars, 16-3. ... The Bay Stars are the first to lose 50 games this season. ... The Dragons put a stop to the Bay Stars' 5-game winning streak.
Dragons: 6 LOB, 1 DP
Bay Stars: 4 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 2h 57m
Yakult Swallows 5 - Hiroshima Carp 2
W: Ryo Kawashima (5-4; 5 IP, 4 H, 2 K, BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Sv: Chang-Yong Lim (20)
L: Kenta Maeda (5-9; 5 IP, 8 H, 3 K, BB, 5 R, 5 ER)
Jamie D'Antona (4-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI) gave the Swallows an early 1-0 lead when he hit his 15th home run of the season in the top of the 2nd off Kenta Maeda. The tacked on 2 more runs in the top of the 4th on RBI singles by Shinya Miyamoto (1-for-4, RBI) and Ryoji Aikawa (1-for-4, RBI).
The Carp roared back with 2 runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning on solo homers by Andy Phillips (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) and Scott McClain (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI). Unfortunately, that would be all they'd score for the night, as the offense sputtered against Yakult pitching, picking up on 2 hits over the final 5 innings of the game.
D'Antona hit a second home run off Maeda in the top of the 5th with Kazuki Fukuchi (1-for-4, R) on first to give the Swallows a 5-2 lead.
The Carp finally brought in a new pitcher in the top of the 6th, but by then it was already too late, the Swallows had all they runs they would need in order to win.
The Swallows outhit the Carp, 11-5. ... Kawashima picked up his first win since May 31st. ... D'Antona is 12-for-38 with 9 RBIs over his last 10 games.
Swallows: 6 LOB, 1 DP
Carp: 4 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 2h 55m
Orix Buffaloes 4 - Rakuten Eagles 4
Masahiro Tanaka (8-3; 9 IP, 13 H, 7 K, BB, 4 R, 4 ER) had another rough start, giving up 4 runs over 9 innings of work. He actually did start off the game fairly strongly, retiring 8 straight before Fumihiro Suzuki reached on an error in the 3rd. Things really started to unravel for Tanaka after that inning.
What's perhaps surprising is that Tanaka somehow managed to limit the damage to just 4 run despite giving up 13 hits and a walk over the next 6 innings. A double play in the 4th did help limit the damage in that inning, allowing the Buffaloes to score only 1 run when Naoyuki Ohmura (1-for-3, RBI) drove in Keiji Ohbiki (1-for-6, R) with a single. And Tanaka did manage to bear down in the top 5th after surrendering a 1-out RBI double to Tomotaka Sakaguchi (1-for-6, 2B, RBI) by striking out Ohbiki and Greg LaRocca (2-for-4) to end the inning. And despite giving up a 1-out, 2-run single to Ikki in the 6th, he did manage to keep the inning from getting any worse after Hiroyuki Oze followed with a double to put runners on second and third with only 1 out.
Individually, the way in which Tanaka managed to wiggle out of trouble may be impressive, but when they come in back-to-back-to-back innings, it's usually recipe for disaster.
Still, despite the struggles, Tanaka held the Buffaloes to 4 runs over the next 3 innings. And the Eagle offense didn't disappoint.
Todd Linden's (1-for-5, BB, HR, 2 R, RBI) third home run of the season gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the botto of the 3rd. After falling behind 4-1, the Eagles scraped another run across in the bottom of the 6th to cut the lead in half (Takeshi Yamasaki hit a sac fly with the bases loaded).
The Eagles finally tied the score in the bottom of the 8th on RBI singles by Teppei (3-for-5, BB, R, RBI) and Yamasaki (1-for-3, 2 RBI).
Rakuten didn't give the Buffaloes too much of a problem in extra innings, but the Eagles came dangerously close to giving up a go-head run in the top of the 10th when Kazuo Fukomori relieved Tanaka and gave up a 1-out double to Shinji Shimoyama (1-for-2), followed by a bunt single to Koji Yamasaki (2-for-2) that put runners on first and third with only 1 out. Fortunately for the Eagles, Oze's sac bunt erase the lead runner and pinch-hitter Jose Fernadez grounder out to short to end the inning.
The Buffaloes outhit the Eagles, 17-9. ... Kazuki Kondo (5.2 IP, 3 H, 4 K, 2 BB, HBP, 2 R, ER) started the game for the Buffaloes. ... This was the first tie for the Eagles this season, leaving the Yakult Swallows and Yokohama Bay Stars as the only teams in the NPB without ties this season. ... Fernando Seguignol was thrown out of the game in the bottom of the 8th after being called out on stikes. Seguignol apparently didn't think the pitch was a strike and kicked some dirt onto home plate. ... Linden is in the middle of a modest 6-game hitting streak. ... Tanaka's last win came against the Chunichi Dragons on June 11th.
Buffaloes: 13 LOB, 2 DP
Eagles: 9 LOB, DP
Time: 4h 48m
Chiba Lotte Marines 7 - Softbank Hawks 3
W: Hiroyuki Kobayashi (2-7; 7 IP, 7 H, 6 K, 2 BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 ER)
L: Justin Germano (4-1; 6 IP, 10 H, 5 K, BB, 5 R, 5 ER)
Three consecutive singles, after a strike out, gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. When the Marines tried to turn a double-play on a Nobuhiko Matsunaka (1-for-4, 3 RBI) grounder to first in the top of the 3rd with the bases loaded, 2 runs ended up scoring because Matsunaka ended up beating out the relay throw to first.
Except for getting runners on first and third with 2 out in the top of the 7th, the Hawks never really threatened after that as Hiroyuki Kobayashi held them to just 3 hits and a walk over the next 4 innings.
Meanwhile, after the Hawks put up their 2-spot in the top of the 3rd, the Marines came back with 3-runs of their own in the bottom of the 3rd to tie the game: with the bases loaded and 1 out, Shoitsu Ohmatsu's (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) grounder to first allowed Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2-for-5, R) to score from third. Saburo (1-for-3, BB, RBI) and Tasuke Hashimoto (2-for-3, R, RBI) then followed with RBI singles. Naotaka Takehara (1-for-3) ended the inning when he grounded out to third with runners on first and second.
The Marines finally pulled out in front in the bottom of the 6th on a 2-run home run by Gary Burnham Jr. (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, 2 RBI). They tacked on a run in the 7th (sac fly by Tomoya Satozaki) and a run in the 8th (RBI double by Toshiaki Imae) to beat the Hawks 7-3.
The Marines outhit the Hawks, 12-8. ... The Marines managed to put an end to their 7-game losing streak.
Hawks: 7 LOB, 1 DP
Marines: 8 LOB, 0 DP
Chiba Marine Stadium
Time: 3h 13m