Golden Week this year saw a lot of teams playing weekday games in the afternoon, and the kids in attendance were treated to a lot of offense and exciting baseball. Let’s check in with a game or two from each day this past week.
Tuesday: Hiromi Itoh of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters threw seven innings of one-run ball and picked up his first win of the year. His mates provided him with seven runs of support, including two sacrifice flies and two RBI sacrifice bunts. They trounced the Saitama Seibu Lions 7-1 at Belluna Dome.
Wednesday: This day marked the first time in 74 years that two teams came back from six-run deficits to win their matches on the same day. The Yomiuri Giants erased the six runs they allowed early against Tokyo Yakult Swallows, ultimately winning 8-7 at Tokyo Dome. Meanwhile, at Koshien Stadium, the Chunichi Dragons saw their 6-0 lead slowly vanish in the middle innings of their game against the Hanshin Tigers, and ultimately were walked off 8-7. The Orix Buffaloes recorded 22 hits in their 9-4 win against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Also, former Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer won his 2023 debut with the Yokohama DeNA Baystars, throwing seven innings of one-run ball to defeat the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
Thursday: This day featured three walk-off wins. The Giants got the last laugh against the Swallows, again winning 8-7 thanks to Yoshihiro Maru’s ninth-inning solo home run. The Baystars sent the Carp home disappointed after Toshiro Miyazaki hit a home run in the ninth. The Hawks also won 8-7 (in extras) as Ryoya Kurihara lofted a ball over the drawn-in Buffaloes outfield. Meanwhile, the Fighters were just one out from delivering a combined no-hitter against the Lions, but saw it end with back-to-back singles in the ninth. Fortunately, they hung on to win 1-0.
Friday: The Swallows and Baystars put on a fireworks show for the kids at Jingu Stadium. The teams combined to hit 11 home runs, including (you guessed it) a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to cap a come-from-behind victory for the Swallows. They were down 9-4 in the eighth but powered their way to a 10-9 win.
Saturday: The Buffaloes pieced together five singles to score three runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk off the Lions at Kyocera Dome. Also, the Baystars continued to flex their collective muscles against the Swallows, whacking five more home runs and throttling the home team 17-7.
Sunday: The Dragons found a way to beat the Giants all weekend, almost exclusively in the eighth inning, no less! In that inning alone, they scored six on Friday, and one apiece on Saturday and Sunday, each time taking the lead (8-3, 2-1, 2-1 respectively) to sweep the Giants at Vantelin Dome Nagoya.
Good Week: Tigers (3-1), Dragons (4-2), Buffaloes (4-2), Fighters (4-2)
Rough Week: Carp (1-3), Marines (1-3-1), Giants (2-4), Lions (2-4)
CL Leaders: Baystars (2.5 up on Tigers)
PL Leaders: Buffaloes (2 up on Hawks & Marines)