Yakult Swallows 3 - Chunichi Dragons 2
W: Shohei Tateyama (12-2; 8 IP, 6 H, 5 K, BB, HBP, 2 R, 2 ER)
Sv: Chang-Yong Lim (23)
L: Kazuki Yoshimi (10-4; 6 IP, 6 H, 3 K, BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
The Swallows took a 1-0 lead off Kazuki Yoshimi when Jamie D'Antona's (3-for-4, RBI) single drove Norichika Aoki (1-for-3, BB, R) across the plate in the bottom of the first. From there, both teams would remain scoreless until the bottom of the 6th when the Swallows extended there lead to 3-0. Hiroyasu Tanaka (1-for-3, R) led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a ground out to second, then went on to third on a wild pitch. Yoshimi struck out D'Antona swinging, but walked Aaron Guiel (1-for-2, BB, R). Another wild pitch moved Guiel to second, setting things up for Kazuhiro Hatakeyama's (1-for-3, 2 RBI) single to left that scored both Tanaka and Guiel.
The Dragons had a chance to score in the top of the 4th when Tony Blanco (0-for-1, HBP) was hit by a pitch and Kazuhiro Wada (2-for-4, 2B) followed with a double that put runners on second and third with only 1 out. But Shohei Tateyama struck out Atsushi Fujii (2-for-4, R) and got Masaaki Koike (0-for-4, R) to fly out to right to end the inning.
It wasn't until the to of the 7th that the Dragons finally broke through against Tateyama and scored 2 runs: Wada and Fujii started off the inning with consecutive singles putting runners on first and third; Wada was erased when he got caught in a rundown between home and third Koike's grounder to third, but that still left runners on second and third; Tateyama then gave up an RBI single to Motonobu Tanishige and pinch-hitter Kazuyoshi Tatsunami's ground out to second scored Koike from third.
Chang-Yong Lim gave up a 1-out single in the top of the 9th, but retired the next two batters for his 23rd save of the year.
Both teams collected 7 hits. ... The Dragons end July with a 17-7 record. ... The Swallows finished July with a 11-10 record. ... After getting his left elbow checked out in the dugout after getting hit, Blanco returned to the field. As he ran towards first, he pretended to charge the mound, then trotted off to first. He later smiled to Tateyama and tipped his cap. Blacno was removed from the game at the end of the inning and taken to a hospital as a precaution. ... Aoki started in left for the first time in his NPB career (doesn't count the WBC and games where he played left as a defensive sub). ... Tateyama has now won 7 games in a row against the Dragons, dating back to last season.
Dragons: 6 LOB, 1 DP
Swallows: 5 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 3h 1m
Hanshin Tigers 3 - Yomiuri Giants 2
W: Atsushi Noumi (5-7; 7 IP, 4 H, 8 K, 0 BB, R, ER)
Sv: Kyuji Fujikawa (12)
L: Tetsuya Utsumi (4-7; 6 IP, 6 H, 5 K, BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 ER)
Atsushi Noumi held the Giants to just 1 hit over the first 5 innings of the game. Tetsuya Utsumi wasn't quite as effective, giving up 4 hits and a walk through his 5, but still managed to keep the Tigers scoreless.
In the top of the 6th, the Giants finally broke through when Hayato Sakamoto (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI) hit his 11th home run of the year. Takashi Toritani (1-for-3, BB, R) then led off the bottom of the 6th with a single to center and Tomoaki Kanemoto (0-for-2, HBP, BB, R) followed him on base when he was hit by a pitch. Utsumi got Takahiro Arai (0-ofor-4) to fly out to left, but then gave up a 3-run homer to Craig Brazell (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, 3 RBI).
With a 3-1 lead going into the top of the 9th, the Tigers turned to Kyuji Fujikawa to close out the game. Alex Ramirez (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI) led off the inning with his 15th home run of the year to give the Giants a glimmer of hope. But Fujikawa then struck out both Yoshiyuki Kamei (0-for-4) and Yoshitomo Tani (2-for-4) and got Shinnosuke Abe (0-for-4) to foul out to the catcher for the last out of the game.
The Giants outhit the Tigers, 7-6. ... The Giants have now lost the first game of each of the last 4 series. ... The Tigers have now won 4 in a row. ... The Giants end July with a 11-11-1 record. ... The Tigers finished July with a 10-11-1 record. ... Ramirez struck out in his first three at bats before hitting his home run in the top of the 9th. ... Kentaro Sekimoto left the game after the third when he aggravated his a right adductor muscle.
Giants: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Tigers: 6 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 2h 43m
Yokohama Bay Stars 7 - Hiroshima Carp 6
W: Hiroki Sanada (4-2; .2 IP, 2 H, 0 K, 0 BB, R, ER)
Sv: Shun Yamaguchi (12)
L: Nagakawa Katsuhiro (2-5; 1 IP, 4 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 3 R, ER)
Andy Phillips' (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI) 5th home run of the season off Bay Stars' starter Koji Yoshimi (6 IP, 3 H, 4 K, BB, R, ER) in the bottom of the 2nd gave the Carp a quick 1-0 lead. The score would stay that way until the top of the 6th when the Carp brought in Takeshi Komatsu to relieve Takahiro Aoki (5 IP, 2 H, 2 K, BB, 0 R, 0 ER) to start the inning. Komatsu retired the first two batters, but then gave up a single to Seiichi Uchikawa (2-for-5, R), wild pitched him over to second, and then allowed him to score on Shuichi Murata's (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI) double to left.
With Ryuji Yokoyama on the mound for the Carp in the top of the 7th, the Bay Stars pulled ahead of the Carp on Dan Johnson's (1-for-1, HR, R, 3 RBI) pinch-hit 3-run home run.
Down 4-1 in the bottom of the 8th, Kosuke Kato retired the first batter he faced on a fly out to right. But he then hit Takuro Ishii (1-for-3, HBP, R) and gave up a pinch-hit double to Jun Hirose (1-for-1, 2B, R, RBI) to put runners on second and third. A fielding error on Higashide's grounder to short by Takehiro Ishikawa (SS) allowed Ishii to score and put runners on first and third. That was it for Kato and Hiroki Sanada entered the game to record the final 2 outs of the inning. But a pinch-hit, 2-run triple by Masafumi Suenaga (1-for-1, 3B, R, 2 RBI) tied the game at 4; the Carp pulled ahead when Suenaga scored on Soichiro Amaya's (1-for-4, RBI) single to center.
The Carp turned to Nagakawa Katsuhiro to hold onto a 5-4 lead in the top of the 9th, but he wouldn't be able to get the job done. Ishikawa got on base with an infield single and moved up to second on a throwing error by Higashide (2B). Tatsuya Shimozono (1-for-1, BB, 2 R) followed with a bunt single back to the pitcher and stole stole second on the first pitch. Shingo Takeyama (0-for-1) flied out to center for the first out and Ishikawa got caught up in a run-down between third and home on pinch-hitter Yoshiyuki Kuwahara's grounder to third. With runners on first and third with 2 out Katsuhiro threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to cross the plate and moved the go-ahead run to second. Kazuya Fujita (1-for-3, R) followed with a single to left that put runners on first and third. Uchikawa then pulled a ball down the third base line that ate Scott McClain up and allowed the go-ahead run to score. Murata's single to right tacked on another run and gave the Bay Stars a 7-5 lead. The inning finally came to an end when Takahiro Saeki (0-for-5) fouled out to the left fielder.
In the bottom of the 9th, the Bay Stars brought in Shun Yamaguchi and he too, almost lost control of the game, giving up a lead-off single to Scott McClain (1-for-4), followed by a walk to pinch-hitter Shigenobu Shima. 1 out later, Ishii singled to center to load the bases. Hirose's sac fly cut the Bay Stars' lead to 7-6, but Higashide grounded out to second to end the game.
The Bay Stars outhit the Carp, 11-8. ... The Bay Stars finished July with a 10-13 record. ... The Carp end July with a 8-15 record.
Bay Stars: 7 LOB, 0 DP
Carp: 4 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 3h 23m
Nippon Ham Fighters 5 - Softbank Hawks 1
W: Yu Darvish (13-3; 8 IP, 5 H, 9 K, 2 BB, R, ER)
L: Justin Germano (4-2; 6 IP, 9 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 5 R, 3 ER)
Hichori Morimoto (1-for-4, BB, 2 R) hit a 1-out double in the bottom of the first and scored on Atsunori Inaba's (1-for-4, RBI) single to center. The Fighters extended their lead to in the bottom of the third when Morimoto worked out a walk, stole second, then came around to score on a single by Shinji Takahashi (2-for-3, RBI).
Meanwhile, Yu Darvish started off the game by striking out the first two batters of the inning. He then loaded the bases on a walk and 2 singles. After that, he became nearly unhittable, retiring the next 15 consecutive batters, including a stint of 6 strike outs in a row that began with the final out of the first. The Hawks finally got on the board in the top of the 6th when Nobuhiko Matsunaka (1-for-2, 2 BB, HR, R, RBI) nailed a 2-out, solo homer run, his 17th of the year.
In the bottom of the 6th, the Fighters managed to put a little more distance between themselves and the Hawks when Eiichi Koyano (2-for-4, R) led off with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt. 1 out later, Makoto Kaneko (2-for-4, R) singled to left to put runners on first and third with 2 out. Kensuke Tanaka (1-for-5, R, RBI) followed with a single that pushed Koyano across the plate. A big fielding error by Yuichi Honda on Morimoto's grounder to second allowed 2 more runs to score and gave the Fighters a comfortable 5-1 lead with Darvish still on the mound.
The Hawks had Darvish on the ropes in the top of the 8th when Hiroki Kokubo (1-for-4) came up to bat with the bases loaded and 2 out. The first pitch he saw ended up being the most hittable during the sequence, but unfortunately for Kokubo, he left his bat on his shoulders and simply watch the slider go by. He fouled off the second pitch, a fastball low and outside, for strike 2. The third and final pitch was a nasty slider that Kokubo swung at and missed to end the inning.
Kazama Kikuchi retired the side in order in the top of the 9th as the Fighters won their 9th game in a row.
The Fighters outhit the Hawks, 10-5. ... The Hawks finished July with a 11-11 record. ... The Fighters end July with a 14-6 record. ... Darvish has now won 9 games in a row against the Hawks (dating back to August 2007).
Hawks: 6 LOB, 0 DP
Fighters: 9 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 2h 54m
Chiba Lotte Marines 3 - Rakuten Eagles 1
W: Shunsuke Watanabe (2-8; 9 IP, 4 H, 2 K, BB, HBP, R, ER)
L: Masahiro Tanaka (8-4; 7.1 IP, 7 H, 8 K, BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 ER)
Shunsuke Watanabe started the game off with an HBP, but then retired the next 17 consecutive batters before giving up a 2-out, solo home run to Todd Linden (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI) in the 6th. In the top of the 9th, Watanabe walked the lead-off batter then gave up a single to Teppei (2-for-4) to put runners on first and second with no out. He got Takeshi Yamasaki (0-for-4) to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and recorded the final out of the game when Ryuji Miyade (0-for-1) fouled out to Gary Burnham Jr. (1B).
On the other side of the diamond, Masahiro Tanaka did a great job holding the Marines to just 3 hits over the first 7 innings of the game. But his night quickly fell apart in the bottom of the 8th when Burnham Jr. (1-for-2, HBP, HR, R, RBI) led off the inning with a solo homer to right to tie the game at 1. With 1 out he then gave up a double to Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2-for-4, 2B, R) and allowed him to score on Tadahito Iguchi's (1-for-4, R, RBI) single to center, giving the Marines a 2-1 lead. Tanaka surrendered another single to Saburo (2-for-4) before being replaced by Kanehisa Arime. But Arime was quickly yanked after he walked the only batter he faced to load the bases. Kazuo Fukumori then on came to get the final two outs of the game: he retired Naotaka Takehara (0-for-3, RBI) on fly ball to center, but it was deep enough for Iguchi to tag up on and score and he hit Tasuku Hashimoto (0-for-2, HBP, BB) to re-load the bases before striking out Tomoya Satozaki (1-for-4) to end the inning.
The Marines outhit the Eagles, 7-4. ... The Eagles finished July with a 7-13-1 record. ... The Marines end July with a 7-17 record. ... The Marines managed to stop a 6-game losing streak with their win against the Eagles. ... Watanabe only needed 110 pitches to toss his complete game. ... Watanabe had not won a game since May 6th when he beat the Nippon Ham Fighters. ... Tanaka has not been able to win a game since June 11th.
Eagles: 4 LOB, 1 DP
Marines: 7 LOB, 0 DP
Time: 3h 0m
Seibu Lions 4 - Orix Buffaloes 2
W: Kazuyuki Hoashi (5-3; 7 IP, 7 H, 5 K, BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Sv: Chikara Onodera (14)
L: Shogo Yamamoto (6-3; 7.2 IP, 6 H, 4 K, 0 BB, 4 R, 3 ER)
The Buffaloes strung together 3 consecutive hits (a double by Hirotoshi Kitagawa, a single by Osamu Hamanaka, and an RBI single by Ikki) in the bottom of the 2nd with 1 out and scored a run. Keiji Ohbiki (0-for-3) then followed with a momentum killing 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Lions answered back with 2 runs of their own in the top of the 3rd when Tomoaki Sato (0-for-4, R) reached first on a fielding error by Ikki (2B) and then came around to score on Toru Hosokawa's (1-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI) 2nd home run of the year.
In the bottom of the 6th, the Buffaloes once again managed to string together 3 consecutive hits (a single by Tomotaka Sakaguchi, a single by Jose Fernandez, and an RBI single by Alex Cabrera) and score the game-tying run. But once again the Buffaloes failed to take advantage of the situation: Kitagawa struck out and Hamanaka grounded out to the pitcher for the final out of the inning.
The Lions then got solo home runs Taketoshi Goto (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI) and Yasuyuki Kataoka (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI) in the 7th and 8th innings, respectively, to re-take the lead.
Chikara Onodera entered the game in the bottom of the 9th for the Lions and gave up a walk and struck out 3 for his 14th save of the year.
The Buffaloes outhit the Lions, 7-6. ... The Lions finished July with a 13-6 record. ... The Buffaloes end July with a 11-10 record. ... Until tonight, Yamamoto had not suffered a loss since May 13th. ... Cabrera became the 431st player in NPB history to play in 1,000 games.
Lions: 3 LOB, 1 DP
Buffaloes: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 2h 42m