Yakult Swallows 4 - Chunichi Dragons 2
W: Ryota Igarashi (2-2; 1 IP, H, K, 0 BB, R, ER)
Sv: Chang-Yong Lim (24)
L: Takuya Asao (6-7; 1 IP, 3 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 3 R, 3 ER)
The Swallows scored a run in the bottom when Norichika Aoki (1-for-4, 2B, 2 R) came around to score on Jamie D'Antona's (2-for-3, HR, R, 3 RBI) sac fly off Dragons' starter Takashi Ogasawara (6 IP, 3 H, K, BB, R, 0 ER).
Meanwhile Swallows' starter Yuki retired the first 7 batters in a row before giving up a single to Motobobu Tanishige (1-for-2, HBP, BB) in the top of the 3rd. The Dragons then scored their first run off Yuki in the top of the 4th when Masahiro Araki (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI) led off the inning with a single, stole second, and scored on Masahiko Morino's (2-for-4, RBI) single to center. In the top of the 5th, Yuki hit Tanishige in the head and was ejected from the game.
After lets 2 runners get on base in the 2nd and one in the 3rd, Ogawasara settled in nicely and retired 10 batters in a row before getting replaced in the bottom of the 7th.
In the top of the 8th, Araki blasted a tie-breaking home run off Ryota Igarashi that put the Dragons up, 2-1. But the Swallows quick answered back in the bottom half of the inning, spurred on by Aoki's double off Takuya Asao to start the inning. Hiroyasu Tanaka (0-for-2, R) then laid down a sac bunt that went toward Tony Blanco. Instead of going for the sure out at first, Blanco threw to third, but the ball wasn't in time -- the Swallows now had runners on first and third with no out. Kazuki Fukuchi's (1-for-4, RBI) grounder to second allowed Aoki to score the tying run and D'Antona's blast to right-center with Tanaka on second gave the Swallows a 4-2 lead.
Chang-Yong Lim gave up a 1-out double to Atsushi Fujii (1-for-3, 2B) in the top of the 9th, but then struck out the remaining two batters to pick up his 24th save of the year.
Both teams collected 7 hits. ... Tanaka and Kawashima made 2 great plays to end the Dragons' 8th. ... Blanco was back in the line-up tonight and appeared to be fine.
Dragons: 6 LOB, 2 DP
Swallows: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 6m
Yomiuri Giants 4 - Hanshin Tigers 2
W: Seth Greisinger (9-5; 7.1 IP, 4 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
Sv: Marc Kroon (12)
L: Satoru Kanemura (0-1; 2.1 IP, 6 H, 3 K, BB, 3 R, 2 ER)
Tetsuya Matsumoto (2-for-4, R) hit a 1-out single off Satoru Kanemura in the top of the 1st, stole second, went on to third when the catcher's throw trickled out into the outfield, and then scored on Michihiro Ogasawara's (0-for-3, RBI) sac fly to center. In the top of the 2nd, Yoshiyuki Kamei (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, RBI) led off the inning with an inside-the-park home run. 4 batters later, Hayato Sakamoto (1-for-5, RBI) chased home a run on a 2-out single with runners on first and second.
The Giants managed to extend their lead to 4-0 in the top of the 6th, largely with some help from the Tigers' defense. Seung-Yeop Lee (0-for-4, R) started thing off by reaching first on a throwing error by the pitcher, Kai-Wen Cheng. After being bunted over by Shigeyuki Furuki (0-for-2, BB), Lee came around to score on Kazunari Tsuruoka's (2-for-4, R, RBI) singled to center.
The Tigers were having a rough enough time scoring runs that they really couldn't afford to be giving then away. Through the first 7 innings of the game, they only managed 2 hits off Seth Greisinger. It wasn't until the bottom of the 8th that they finally figured him out and scored a run on two consecutive doubles to start the inning by Takahiro Arai (1-for-4, 2B, R) and Craig Brazell (1-for-3, 2B, RBI). A batter later, Tetsuya Yamaguchi entered the game with a runner on first and 1 out. He ended up hitting the first batter he faced and then allowed another run to score on a single by Akihiro Yano (1-for-1, RBI). Tatsunori Hara saw enough and turned to Daisuke Ochi to get the final 2 outs of the inning. 1 pitch later, the inning was over: pinch-hitter Mitsunobu Takahashi grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
In the top of the 9th, the Giants turned to their closer Marc Kroon, who almost gave away the lead when he hit Keiichi Hirano (1-for-3, HBP) and gave up a single to Takashi Toritani (2-for-4) to put runner on first and third with no outs. But he bore down after that and got Tomoaki Kanemoto (0-for-4) to fly out to center and induced Arai into a 6-4-3, game-ending double play.
The Giants outhit the Tigers, 8-6. ... The Tigers have now commited 63 errors in 87 games. ... Kamei had not hit an inside-the-park homer since he was in elementary school.
Giants: 6 LOB, 0 DP
Tigers: 3 LOB, 3 DP
Time: 3h 13m
Hiroshima Carp 6 - Yokohama Bay Stars 3
W: Ryuji Yokoyama (2-4; 1 IP, 0 H, K, 0 BB, R, ER)
Sv: Nagakawa Katsuhiro (23)
L: Yuya Ishii (0-6; .1 IP, H, 0 K, 0 BB, R, ER)
The game was scoreless over the first 4 innings. Ryan Glynn (5 IP, 5 H, K, 2 BB, 3 R, 3 ER) started things off by retiring the first 8 Carp he faced and surrendered only 1 run through the first 4 innings of the game. Keisuke Imai (5 IP, 6 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 ER) wasn't quite as effective, but still managed to keep the Bay Stars off-balance and held their offense to 3 hits over the first 4 innings. Then things quickly went downhill for both pitchers in the 5th.
After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Imai gave up a double to Shigeru Morikasa (1-for-4, 2B, R) and then on 1-swing by Kazuya Fujita (2-for-5, 3B, HR, R, 2 RBI), gave the Bay Stars a 2-0 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, also after 2 outs, Glynn gave up a double to Takuro Ishii (1-for-3, R, RBI) and allowed him to go to third on a wild pitch. After walking Tsubasa Aizawa (1-for-3, BB, R), Glynn gave up a pinch-hit RBI double to Go Kida (1-for-1, 2B, R, RBI) and a 2-run single to Akihiro Higashide (1-for-4, 2 RBI).
In the top of the 6th, the Bay Stars tied the game at 1 when Takeshi Komatsu threw a wild pitch with runners on second and third.
With the game tied at 3, the winner was finally decided two innings later, in the bottom of the 8th, with Yuya Ishii on the mound for Yokohama. Ishii faced only 2 batters, giving up a single to the second batter (Soichiro Amaya) he faced, before he was yanked in favor of Yasuhiro Oyamada. But Oyamada couldn't provide any relief, although the defense certainly didn't help things when Takeshi Hosoyamada's bad throw to second allowed Amaya (1-for-4, R) to get to third. Oyamada then walked 2 straight batters before a fielding error on Andy Phillips' (0-for-3, RBI) fly to right allowed 2 more runs to score. One more run would cross the plate before the end of the inning on a squeeze play by Takuro Ishii (1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI).
Nagakawa Katsuhiro retired the side in order in the top of the 9th to record his 23rd save of the season.
Both team collected 7 hits. ... This was Imai's first professional start.
Bay Stars: 8 LOB, 0 DP
Carp: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 27m
Softbank Hawks 2 - Nippon Ham Fighters 1
W: D.J. Houlton (8-4; 7 IP, 7 H, 3 K, 2 BB, R, ER)
Sv: Takahiro Mahara (21)
L: Yoshinori Tateyama (2-4; 1 IP, 2 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 2 R, 2 ER)
The Fighters got on the board first with Terrmel Sledge's (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, RBI) 15th home run of the year in the botttom of the 2nd. The Fighters threatened a number of other times throughout the course of the game, like when they had runners on first and second and neither Atsunori Inaba (1-for-3, BB) nor Shinji Takahashi (1-for-3) could get a run home; or in the top of the 8th when pinch-hitter Tomochika Tsuboi and Sledge both failed to take advantage of runners on first and third.
Despite the failures to score runs, the Fighters actually held on to a 1-0 over the first 7 innings of the game, thanks largely to the combined efforts of Shugo Fujii (6 IP, 3 H, 6 K, BB, HPB, 0 R, 0 ER) and Kazumasa Kikuchi (1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER). Yoshinori Tateyama wouldn't be able to keep the scoreless streak going, giving up a 1-out double to Yuichi Honda (1-for-4, 2B, R) and then a 2-run homer to Nobuhiko Matsunaka (2-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI) one batter later.
Takahiro Mahara retired the side in order in the bottom of the 9th to pick up his 21st save of the year.
The Fighters outhit the Hawks 9-6. ... 8 of Matsunaka's 18 home runs have come against the Nippon Ham Fighters. ... The Fighters winning streak ends at 9. ... Takahashi's knees have been barking lately so he's been getting pulled out of games a little early. He was pulled after 6 on Friday and then pulled after 8 tonight.
Hawks: 5 LOB, 1 DP
Fighters: 7 LOB, 2 DP
Time: 3h 4m
Chiba Lotte Marines 5 - Rakuten Eagles 4
W: Tatsuya Uchi (1-0; 1 IP, 0 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
Sv: Brian Sikorski (5)
L: Kanehisa Arime (0-2; .2 IP, H, 0K, BB, R, ER)
The Marines scored a run in the bottom of the 1st when the lead-off batter Keisuke Hayasaka (1-for-4, BB, 3B, R) hit a triple off Eagles' starter Satoshi Nagai (6 IP, 9 H, 8 K, BB, 4 R, 4 ER) and came around to score on a sac fly by Saburo. The Marines extended there lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the 3rd when Naotaka Takehara (1-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI) came up to bat with the bases loaded and nailed a 2-out double that pushed everyone home.
After being held to just 1 hit over the first 4 innings of teh game, the Eagles finally touched Lotte starter Shingo Ono (7.1 IP, 5 H, 7 K, 2 BB, 3 R, 2 ER) for a run in the top of the 5th on 2 doubles by Todd Linden (2-for-4, 2 2B, R) and Fernando Seguignol (1-for-4, 2B, RBI). The Eagles finally managed to tie the game in the top of the 8th when Rick Short (0-for-2, R) reached first on a fielding error by Hisao Heiuchi (3B). After walking the next batter, Ono was replaced by Yusuke Kawasaki. Katsuya Nomura countered by sending in Ryuji Miyade to pinch-hit for Masato Nakamura (0-for-3). Nomura's move paid off: Miyade launched his 2nd home run of the season to tie the game at 4.
But the Marines took back the lead for good in the bottom of the 8th Daisuke Hayakawa, pinch-running for Benny Agbayani who came in to pinch-hit for Tasuku Hashimoto (1-for-3), came around to score on Kazuya Fukuura's (1-for-1, 2B, RBI) pinch-hit duoble to right.
After lead-off batter Daisuke Kusano (0-for-4) reached first on a fielding error in the top of the 9th, Brian Sikorski got Seguignol to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. He then retired Kenshin (0-for-2) on a ground out to first and picked up his 5th save of the year.
The Marines outhit the Eagles, 11-7.
Eagles: 4 LOB, 1 DP
Marines: 8 LOB, 1 DP
Time: 3h 22m
Seibu Lions 6 - Orix Buffaloes 4
W: Taiyo Fujita (1-0; 1 IP, 0 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER)
Sv: Chikara Onodera (15)
L: Daisuke Kato (4-3; 1 IP, H, 2 BB, BB, HBP, 2 R, 2 ER)
The Lions took a 1-0 lead off Chihiro Kaneko (7 IP, 7 H, 8 K, 0 BB, 2 R, 2 ER) in the top of the second when Takeya Nakamura (4-for-5, 3 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI) led off with a double and scored a batter later on G.G. Sato's (3-for-5, RBI) single right.
But the Buffaloes answered back with 3 runs of their own off Takayuki Kishi (6 IP, 9 H, 3 K, 4 BB, 4 R, 4 ER) in the bottom half of the inning: Alex Cabrera (1-for-3, BB, R) led off with a walk; Hirotoshi Kitagawa (1-for-3, BB, R) singled to put runners on first and second; Ikki (2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI) nailed a 2-run double to left; 1 out later, Keiji Ohbiki (1-for-2, BB, 2B, RBI) hit a double of his own and scored Ikki from third. Orix tacked on another run in the botom of the 3rd when Naoyuki Ohmura (1-for-4, R), Jose Fernandez (1-for-5), and Cabrera hit consecutive singles to start the inning and load the bases. The next batter Kitagawa could do no better than ground into a double play, but it still got the job done when Ohmura came around to score the Buffaloes 4th run of the game.
Down by 3 runs, Nakmura hit his 32nd home run of the season off Kaneko in the top of the 6th. With Ryota Katsuki on the mound for the Buffaloes in the top of the 8th, the Lions got to work: Takumi Kuriyama (2-for-4, HBP, 2 R) and Hiroyuki Nakajima (1-for-5, R) started the inning off with singles; a wild pitch moved them up to second and third; Nakamura then hit his third double of the night to drive in both runners and tie the game at 4.
With the game still tied at 4, the Buffaloes turned to Daisuke Kato to get the Lions out in the top of the 9th. But things didn't go according to plan: Yasuyuki Kataoka (0-for-4, BB, R) walked and stole second; Kato hit Kuriyama to put runners on first and second; Nakajima struck out looking for the first out of the inning; Nakamura then hit his third double of the night, and second consecutive 2-run double of the game, to give the Lions a 6-4 lead.
Chikara Onodera gave up a 2-out walk to Shinji Shimoyama (0-for-0, BB) before striking out Fernandez to end the game.
The Lions outhit the Buffaloes, 11-9. ... Fujita picked up his first win after being traded to the Lions. It was also his first win since August 5, 2006.
Lions: 9 LOB, 0 DP
Buffaloes: 8 LOB, 2 DP
Time: 3h 15m