Yomiuri Giants 11 - Chunichi Dragons 1
W: Dicky Gonzalez (9-1; 8 IP, 3 H, 10 K, 2 BB, R, ER)
L: Kenta Asakura (7-5; 4 IP, 6 H, 2 K, BB, HBP, 6 R, 6 ER)
The Giants sent 9 players to the plate in the bottom of the 1st against Kenta Asakura and scored 6 runs on a walk (Hayato Sakamoto), 2 singles (Seung-Yeop Lee, Shinnosuke Abe), 2 doubles (Alex Ramirez, Yoshiyuki Kamei), and a home run (Shigeyuki Furuki).
The Dragons score their only run of the game in the top of the 2nd when Tony Blanco (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) nailed his 30th home run of the season off Dicky Gonzalez.
Asakura settled in after the 1st and held the Giants to 1 hit until he was replaced by Akifumi Takahashi in the 5th. After striking out the first batter of the inning, Takahashi ran into some trouble with the middle of the line-up. He walked Michihiro Ogasawara (1-for-3, BB, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) and then gave up a 2-run shot to Ramirez (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI). Kamei (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) followed with another home run and quickly the Dragons found themselves down by 8 runs.
With Takahashi still on the mound in the bottom of the 7th, Ogasawara nailed a 2-run homer to give the Giants an 11-1 lead.
The Giants outhit the Dragons, 10-4. ... Gonzalez retired the last 10 batters he faced. ... The Giants hit 4 home runs a day after they surrendered 4 home runs.
Dragons: 4 LOB, 1 DP
Giants: 1 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 2h 40m
Hiroshima Carp 10 - Yakult Swallows 6
W: Yuki Saito (6-7; 6 IP, 7 H, K, 4 BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 ER)
L: Ryo Kawashima (5-5; 3.2 IP, 7 H, K, BB, HBP, 5 R, 3 ER)
Kenta Kurihara's (2-for-3, 2 BB, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) 12th home of the year put the Carp on top with a 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd. Two consecutive walks from Yuki Saito, followed immediately by Norichika Aoki's (3-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI) 8th home run of the season in the bottom half of the inning turned the tables and gave the Swallows a 3-1 lead. But that lead wouldn't last for very long.
In the top of the 3rd, Ryo Kawashima retired the lead-off batter, but then gave up an infield single to Masafumi Suenaga (2-for-5, 3 R), saw him move over to second on a ground out by Soichiro Amaya (2-for-4, 2B, R, 4 RBI), then allowed him to score on Kurihara's 2-out double. Scott McClain's (1-for-5, RBI) single to right then tied the game at 3.
The Carp then took the lead for good in the top 4th, with the help of two big errors by Jaime D'Antona and Shinya Miyamoto.
After Kawashima walked the first batter and surrendered a single to Yoshiyuki Ishihara (2-for-4, HBP, 2 R), the Swallows managed to turn a failed bunt attempt into a double play. But Akihiro Higashide (1-for-4, BB, 2 R) kept the inning going with a single that put runners on first and second. Yakult brought in a fresh arm in Masao Kida for the final out of the inning, but a throwing error by D'Antona not only allowed Suenaga to reach first, but it also let the go ahead run score from second. Amaya followed with an infield single that pushed across another run for the Carp. Kida then walked Kurihara to load the bases. A fielding error by Miyamoto on a grounder to third by Scott McClain (1-for-5, RBI) allowed 2 more runs to score. Andy Phillips (1-for-4) ended the inning when he flied out to right.
Yakult brought in Jun Hagiwara to start the 5th in the hopes that he would finally put a stop the the Carp offensive slaughter. But he could do no better. After striking out the lead-off batter, he surrendered a single to Ishihara. After a sac bunt, Hagiwara walked Higashide and then loaded the bases on Suenaga's single to center. Amaya then nailed a bases clearing double to give the Carp a 10-3 lead.
The Swallows managed to push 3 runs across the board in the bottom of the 7th on D'Antona's (1-for-3, 2 BB, 2B, R, RBI) RBI double and Miyamoto's (1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) 2-run home run, but a combination of Ryuji Yokohama and Mike Schultz held the Swallows to just a walk over the final 2 innings of the game.
The Carp outhit the Swallows, 14-10. ... The Carp managed to stop their 5 game slide. ... Coming into the game, the Swallows had committed only 27 errors, tied with the Nippon Ham Fighters for fewest in the NPB. ... The last time Aoki hit a home run was against the Tigers on July 4th.
Carp: 8 LOB, 3 DP
Swallows: 8 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 18m
Hanshin Tigers 8 - Yokohama Bay Stars 0
W: Minoru Iwata (1-1; 9 IP, 7 H, 6 K, 3 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
L: Tom Mastny (1-5; 3 IP, 6 H, K, BB, HBP, 5 R, 5 ER)
Despite giving up 7 hits and 3 walks, Minoru Iwata managed to toss a complete shut-out for his first victory of the season. With runners on first and second and no out in the top of the 2nd, Iwata got a big double play to keep the inning from getting out of hand. He also managed to strike Shuichi Murata (0-for-4) out for the final out in the top of the 3rd with runners on first and third. The Bay Stars had 2 runners on in the top of the 6th, but Iwata bore down and retired Yuki Yoshimura (1-for-4) and Shingo Takeyama (0-for-3). In the top of the 7th, after surrendering a walk to Kazuya Fujita (1-for-2, BB), Iwata retired the next 7 consecutive batters to end the game.
On the other side of the diamond, Tom Mastny struggled. In the bottom of the 1st, Matsny gave up 2 runs on a lead-off HBP and three consecutive singles by Kentaro Sekimoto (2-for-3, R), Takashi Toritani (3-for-5, R, RBI), and Tomoaki Kanemoto (2-for-3, BB, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI). The Tigers scored three more runs off Mastny in the bottom of the 3rd on Takahiro Arai's (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI) 10th home run of the year.
Kentaro Takasaki then came into the game in the bottom of the 4th and tossed 3 innings of 3-hit, shut-out ball. In the bottom of the 7th, the Bay Stars turned to Kimiyasu Kudo. Kudo managed to retire Norihito Akahoshi (1-for-4, HBP, 2 R) to start the inning, but then gave up 3 consecutive hits: singles to Sekimoto and Toritani, and a big 3-run shot to Kanemoto. Arai grounded out to second of the second out of the inning, but Craig Brazell (1-for-4) and Keisuke Kano (2-for-4) connected for singles to put runners on first and second. Yasuhiro Oyamada relieved Kudo and struck out Keiichi Hirano (1-for-4) to end the inning.
The Tigers outhit the Bay Stars, 15-7. ... It was Iwata's first professional complete game shut-out. ... The last time Arai hit a home run was against the Hawks on June 16th.
Bay Stars: 7 LOB, 3 DP
Tigers: 7 LOB, 2 DP
Time: 2h 55m
Seibu Lions - Rakuten Eagles
Nippon Ham Fighters 6 - Chiba Lotte Marines 5
W: Shintaro Ejiri (2-0; 1.1 IP, H, 3 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
Sv: Hisashi Takeda (19)
L: Brian Sikorski (5-5; 1 IP, 3 H, K, BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
The Fighters led off the game with 4 consecutive doubles off Naoyuki Shimizu (6 IP, 7 H, 3 K, 3 BB, 3 R, 3 ER) to start the game. Kensuke Tanaka (2-for-5, 2 2B, R), Hichori Morimoto (1-for-3, BB, 2B, R, RBI), Atsunori Inaba (3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI), and Shinji Takahashi (2-for-5, RBI) all connected for doubles and quickly put the team up by 3.
But the Marines weren't about to let those runs go unanswered. In the bottom of the first, they picked up a run off Kazuhito Tadano (4-2; 4 IP, 7 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 5 R, 5 ER) when Tsuyoshi Nishioka (1-for-3, 2 BB, 2B, 2 R) came around to score on Saburo's (2-for-4, 2 RBI) single to left. They tacked on another run in the bottom of the 3rd on Shoitsu Ohmatsu's (1-for-3, HBP, BB, 2B, RBI) 2-out, RBI double. ANd with Tadano still on the mound in the top of the 5th, the Marines started the inning off with 4 consecutive hits to knock Tadano out of the game: Chase Lambin (1-for-3, R) singled; Nishioka doubled; Naotaka Takehara (4-for-4, BB, 2 R, RBI) tied the score at 3 with an infield single; and Saburo (2-for-4, 2 RBI) pushed the go-ahead run across the plate with a single to left. The Fighters then turned to Masanori Hayashi to stop the bleeding, but he ended up hitting Ohmatsu to load the bases and forced in another run when he walked the next batter, Tadahito Iguchi (0-for-4, BB, RBI).
In the meantime, Shimizu settled down nicely for the Marines, holding the Fighters to just 3 hits after starting the game by giving up 4 consecutive doubles. He did run into a jam in the top of the 4th when he loaded the bases on a single and 2 walks, but he managed to wiggle out of the inning when he got Inaba to fly out to second.
The Marines called on Brian Sikorski in the top of the 9th to close out the game. He got to within 2 outs and then failed miserably, giving up 2 consecutive singles and a walk to load the bases. Sikorski then served up a bases clearing triple to Eiichi Koyano (2-for-4, BB, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI) to give up the lead.
In the bottom of the 9th, Hisashi Takeda gave up a lead-off single to Takehara and issued a 1-out walk to Ohmatsu, but managed to wiggle out of the jam when he got Iguchi ground out to third and Masahiko Tanaka (1-for-2) to ground out to second.
The Fighters outhit the Marines, 11-10. ... The four consecutive doubled by the Fighters tied the league record.
Fighters: 10 LOB, 0 DP
Marines: 10 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 44m
Orix Buffaloes 5 - Softbank Hawks 4
W: Kazuki Kondo (5-6; 7 IP, 5 H, 6 K, 3 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
Sv: Daisuke Kato (13)
L: Yoshiaki Fujioka (4-5; 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 K, 2 BB, 5 R, 5 ER)
The Hawks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd on Hidenori Tanoue's (1-for-3, HBP, 2B, R, RBI) run-scoring double and Yusuke Kosai (1-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI) 2-run homer. And until the top of the 5th, when Yoshiaki Fujioka fell apart, it appeared as though the Hawks had the game wrapped up.
The Buffaloes started off the 5th with two consecutive singles by Ikki (2-for-4, R) and Hiroyuki Oze (1-for-4, R). 1 out later, Tomotaka Sakaguchi (2-for-3, 2 BB, 2B, R, RBI) drove in Ikki with a double to left. Fujioka then walked Keiji Ohbiki (0-for-4, BB, R) to load the bases before giving up an infield single to Jose Fernandez (2-for-5, R, RBI) that pushed Oze across the plate. Alex Cabrera (1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI) followed with a 2-run double that gave the Buffaloes a 4-3 lead. The Hawks then turned to Akio Mizuda to get the final 2 outs of the inning. And while he did get Hirotoshi Kitagawa (1-for-4, RBI) to fly to right for the second out of the inning, it also ended up being deep enough to get another run home. The inning finally came to an end when the next batter flew out to right. But the damage was done, the Buffaloes were on top, 5-3.
In the bottom of the 9th, the Buffaloes brought in Daisuke Kato to close out the game, but it wouldn't be an easy save: lead-off batter Yuya Hasegawa (3-for-4, R) hit an infield single; Kato hit Tanoue to put runners on first and second; pinch-hitter Katsuki Yamazaki hit a sac bunt to move runners up a base; pinch-hitter Mitsuru Honma struck out swinging; Yuichi Honda (1-for-4, BB, RBI) hit an infield single that also scored Hasegawa from third; and then allowed the base runners to move up on a double steal. But before the Hawks could do any more damage, Kato bore down and got Munenori Kawasaki (0-for-5) to ground out to the catcher.
The Buffaloes outhit the Hawks, 11-7. ... The Hawks are 3-7 over their last 10. And the starting pitcher on record was responsible for only 1 of those 3 wins. ... The Buffaloes are 11-8 with 2 left to play in July. That means they are assured of finishing out the month with a winning record, something they haven't done since April.
Buffaloes: 9 LOB, 0 DP
Hawks: 7 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 3h 11m