Chunichi Dragons 5 - Yomiuri Giants 3
W: Yudai Kawai (11-0; 7 IP, 7 H, 4 K, BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
Sv: Hitoki Iwase (30)
L: Shun Tono (4-6; 5 IP, 5 H, 6 K, 4 BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 ER)
The Giants took a 2-0 lead against Yudai Kawai in the bottom of the 4th when Alex Ramirez (3-for-4, R) and Yoshiyuki Kamei (0-for-2, BB, R) scored on Shinnosuke Abe's (4-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI) 1-out single to center. With runners on first and second, Takuya Kimura (0-for-3) ended the inning when he grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
The Dragons cut the lead in half in the top of the 5th when Hirokazu Ibata (2-for-4, 2 BB, 2 R) came around to score Masahiro Araki's (1-for-4, BB, 2B, RBI) double to right. In the top of the 6th, Tono gave up a lead-off single to Atsushi Fujii (1-for-4, BB, R) followed by a 2-run homer to Masaaki Koike (1-for-3, HBP, BB, HR, R, 2 RBI), that gave the Dragons a 3-2. The home run knocked Tono out of the game and Tatsunori Hara turned to Daisuke Ochi to get through the 6th.
While Ochi managed to retire the first two batters he faced, he suddenly fell apart and walked two straight batters before giving up consecutive RBI singles to Masahiko Morino (1-for-3, 2 BB, RBI) and Tony Blanco (1-for-4, BB, RBI). The inning finally ended with the next batter flying out to left. But the damage was done, the Giants now trailed the Dragons, 5-2.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Giants scored one more run off Abe's 13th homer of the year.
Hitoki Iwase surrendered a 2-out single to Abe in the bottom of the 9th, but then struck out pinch-hitter Seung-Yeop Lee to end the game.
The Dragons outhit the Giants, 10-8. ... The Dragons won the series, 2-1. ... Iwase became the first pitcher in the NPB to have 5 consecutive seasons of 30+ saves.
Dragons: 14 LOB, 1 DP
Giants: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 27m
Hiroshima Carp 8 - Yakult Swallows 3
W: Colby Lewis (6-5; 7 IP, 7 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
L: Kyohei Muranaka (0-3; 4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 K, 3 BB, 4 R, 4 ER)
With Masato Akamatsu (2-for-3, BB, 2 R) on second with 2 out, Kenta Kurihara (1-for-3, 2 BB, R, 2 RBI) singled to center to give the Carp a 1-0 in the top of the first. The Swalows returned the run in their half of the first when Norichika Aoki (1-for-4, R) came aroud to score on Jamie D'Antona's (1-for-4, RBI) 2-out single to left.
In the bottom of the second, the Swallows took a 2-1 lead when Shinya Miyamoto (1-for-4, 2B, R) led off the inning with a double, moved to third on Ryoji Aikwawa's (0-for-4) grounder to short, and then scored on Keizo Kawashima's (3-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI) 1-out single to left. The lead would stand until the top of the 5th.
The Carp started things off with a lead-off single by Akihiro Higashe (2-for-5, 3 R). After Higashide stole second, Kyohei Muranaka walked Akamatsu and gave up an infield single to Soichiro Amaya (3-for-5, 2B, 3B, R, 2 RBI) to load the bases. Muranaka then got Kurihara to ground out to third for the first out of the inning, but it also allowed the game-tying run to cross the plate. Scott McClain's single down the third base line with runners on second and third then gave the Carp a 4-2 lead and knocked Muranaka out of the game. Yoshitaka Hashimoto came on in relief and gave up a double to Andy Phillips (1-for-3, BB, 2B) that put runners on second and third. After striking out Takuro Ishii (0-for-4), he intentionally walked pinch-hitter Shigenobu Shima to load the bases and got Colby Lewis (1-for-4) to fly out to first to end the inning.
The Swallows went down in order in the bottom of the 5th and the Carp quickly got back to work on offense in the top of the 6th when Higashide got to second on a fielding error by Hiroyasu Tanaka; moved to third on Akamatsu's ground out; and scored on Amaya's double to right. After Amaya was caught stealing, Hashimoto walked Kurihara and then gave up a double to McClain, scoring Kurihara. The inning ended when McClain tried to stretch his double into a triple. Interestingly enough, the inning could have been a lot worse, but probably would have never gotten started if not for Tanaka's fielding error.
Yakult scored their third run of the game in the bottom of the 7th on Kawashima's 9th home run of the year. The Carp then followed with a run in 8th on Amaya's RBI triple and a run in the 9th on Ishihara's 6th jack of the year.
The Carp outhit the Swallows, 13-7. ... The Carp won the series, 2-1. ... The Swallows have lost 8 straight games, going back to last season, in games that Lewis starts.
Carp: 10 LOB, 0 DP
Swallows: 4 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 3h 7m
Hanshin Tigers 2 - Yokohama Bay Stars 0
W: Yasutomo Kubo (5-4; 9 IP, 2 H, 12, 0 BB, HBP, 0 R, 0 ER)
L: Daisuke Miura (7-7; 8 IP, 5 H, 9 K, BB, HBP, 2 R, 2 ER)
Yasutomo Kubo had himself a great game, scattering only 2 hits over 9 innings and striking out 12. The only inning Kubo ran into trouble was in the top of the 4th when he surrendered a single to Seiichi Uchikawa (1-for-3) and then hit Shuichi Murata (0-for-2, HBP). But the inning ended on a strike out/throw out of Dan Johnson (0-for-3) and Uchikawa.
Daisuke Miura also tossed a decent game, holding the Tigers to just 2 runs on 5 hits.
The Tigers manufactured their first run off Miura in the bottom of the first on a single by Norihiro Akahoshi (1-for-4, R), a stolen base, a sac bunt by Kentaro Sekimoto (0-for-2, BB) and a sac fly by Takashi Toritani (0-for-3, RBI). The second run crossed the plate in the bottom of the 5th when Keisuke Kano (1-for-2, HBP, 3B, R) hit a 1-out triple and then scored on Keiichi Hirano's (1-for-3, RBI) single to right.
Miura almost ran into some trouble in the bottom of the 7th when the first two batters he faced reached on a single and an HBP, but he bore down and retired the next three batters in order.
The Tigers outhit the Bay Stars, 5-2 ... This was Kubo's first complete game shutout win since 2005. ... Kubo threw 125 pitches. ... Miura threw 117 pitches. ... The Tigers swept the series and outscored the Bay Stars 15-4. ... This was the shortest game on record for the 2009 season.
Bay Stars: 2 LOB, 1 DP
Tigers: 5 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 2h 11m
Nippon Ham Fighters 7 - Chiba Lotte Marines 6
W: Naoki Miyanishi (5-0; 1 IP, 0 H, K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
Sv: Hisashi Takeda (20)
L: Tadahiro Ogino (2-2; 0 IP, 2 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 R, 0 ER)
The Marines built a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 3rd off Fighters' starter, Brian Sweeney (6 IP, 8 H, 2 K, 4 BB, 6 R, 6 ER). Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2-for-5, 3B, 2 R, RBI) led off the inning with a triple; Tadahito Iguchi (3-for-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) followed with a run-scoring double; Saburo (1-for-4, BB, R) walked to put runners on first and second; Iguchi came around to score on Shoitsu Ohmatsu's (1-for-3, 2 BB, RBI) single to right; and Saburo scored when Naotaka Takehara (0-for-4, BB, RBI) grounded out to third.
Lotte doubled the lead in the next inning on Nishioka's RBI single, followed a 2-run homer by Iguchi. Sweeney would settle down after this and ended up retiring 6 straight before being replaced by Naoki Miyanishi in the 7th.
Meanwhile, Marines' starter Yoshihisa Naruse (7.2 IP, 9 H, 9 K, BB, 5 R, 4 ER) retired the first 9 Fighters' in a row before giving up a double to Keisuke Tanaka (1-for-5, 2B) and a single to Hichori Morimoto (2-for-5, R) to start the 4th. But Naruse retired the next three batters in a row to keep the Fighters off the board. 2 more runners reached in the bottom of the 5th with 2 outs, but Naruse struck out Tanaka to end the inning. It wasn't until the top of the 7th that the Fighters finally scored a run on Yoshio Itoi's (1-for-1, BB, HR, 2 R, RBI) 9th home run of the year.
Things then quickly fell apart for Naruse in the top of the 8th. After giving up a single to Makoto Kaneko (2-for-4, R) to start the inning, he retired Tanaka on a fly to left. But Morimoto's single after that put runners on first and second. Naruse managed to strike out Atsunori Inaba (0-for-5) for the second out of the inning and for a brief moment, it appeared as though the Marines might get out of the inning. But then Shinji Takahashi (1-for-4, R, RBI) followed with a single that scored Kaneko from second and Itoi walked to load the bases. The Marines then brought in Tadahiro Ogino to get the final out of the inning, but he instead gave up a 2-run double to Eiichi Koyano (2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI) and a bad throw from Chase Lambin on Tomohiro Nioka's (0-for-4, R) grounder to third allowed 2 more runs to score, tying the game at 6. The Fighters then took a 7-6 lead on Shinya Tsuruoka's (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) double that scored Nioka from second.
The Fighters brought in Hisashi Takeda to close out the game in the bottom of the 9th and after giving up a 1-out dingle to Saburo, he retired the next 2 batters in order for his 20th save of the year.
The Fighters outhit the Marines, 11-10. ... The Fighters swept the series and outscored the Marines 18-12. ... The Fighters have now won 8 in a row.
Fighters: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Marines: 8 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 3h 34m
Softbank Hawks 3 - Orix Buffaloes 1
W: Hideaki Takahashi (1-1; 5 IP, 0 H, 6 K, 4 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
Sv: Takahiro Mahara (20)
L: Yoshihisa Hirano (2-7; 7 IP, 4 H, 4 K, BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
The Buffaloes scored their one and only run in the first inning without even registering a hit. Shota Ohba (0 IP, 0 H, 0 K, BB, HBP, R, ER) started for the Hawks and walked Tomotaka Sakaguchi to start the game (1-for-3, BB, R). He then hit Keiji Ohbiki (0-for-1, HBP) and was ejected for throwing at his head. The Hawks brought in Hideaki Takahashi to take over and he struck out Jose Fernandez (2-for-4), but then walked Alex Cabrera (1-for-3, BB) to load the bases and allowed Sakaguchi to score on a sac fly by Hirotoshi Kitagawa (0-for-2, HBP, RBI).
The Hawks got things going on offense in the bottom of the 3rd after Hirano retired the first two batters of the inning on grounders. Keiji Akashi (1-for-2, R) singled, Yuichi Honda (0-for-2, BB, R) walked, and Munenori Kawasaki (2-for-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI) came through with a big 2-run double to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the 6th, with Akio Mizuda on the mound for the Hawks, the Buffaloes finally broke up the no-hitter with 2 consecutive 1-out singles by Fernandez and Cabrera. But both runners stayed put as Mizuda retired Kitagawa on a fly out to right and Masahiko Morifuku got Naoyuki Ohmura (0-for-4) to fly out to center.
With Akio Shimizu now on the mound for the Buffaloes in the bottom of the 8th, Kawasaki hit his second double of the game and scored pinch-hitter Satoru Morimoto (1-for-1, R) from first to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead.
Takahiro Mahara gave up a 2-out single in the top of the 9th, but struck out Makoto Shiozaki (0-for-3) to end the game.
Hawks outhit the Buffaloes, 6-5. ... The Buffaloes won the series, 2-1. ... Takahashi won his first game since August of 2008. ... Ohbiki was hit in the head and actually stayed in the game until the 4th. ... The Buffaloes modest 3-game winning streak came to a halt. ... Kawasaki was in an 0-for-16 rut prior to hitting a double in the third.
Buffaloes: 10 LOB, 0 DP
Hawks: 4 LOB, 2 DP
Time: 2h 59m