The past seven days of baseball featured some fine offensive performances in the first half of the week, and some even finer pitching over the weekend. Let’s take a look at how things played out.
Tuesday: Infielder Shuta Tonosaki hit two home runs and drove in four runs, and his mates Takeya Nakamura and Mark Payton each added one apiece as the Saitama Seibu Lions trounced the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, 7-3. Tonosaki has averaged just 8 home runs over the past three seasons but currently has the second-highest total in the PL with 5.
Wednesday: The Yomiuri Giants played this home game in Saga Prefecture (Kyushu) in front of just over 8,000 fans. They used a pair of home runs (Naoki Yoshikawa and Sho Nakata) to snap the Yokohama DeNA Baystars’ winning streak at four, winning 5-1. Starter Iori Yamasaki threw seven dominant innings to pick up his first win of the season.
Thursday: The Hiroshima Carp avoided a sweep at the hands of the Hanshin Tigers by overcoming a 4-2 deficit, as pinch-hitter Ryuhei Matsuyama hit a bases-clearing double in the fourth inning. They won 7-5 at Koshien Stadium. Also on this day, the Yakult Swallows walked off the Chunichi Dragons 3-2 in extra innings at Meiji Jingu Stadium. WBC catcher Yuhei Nakamura delivered the deciding run with a single to center.
Friday: Speaking of WBC, Baystars pitcher Shota Imanaga (8 IP 5 H 6 K) and Chiba Lotte Marines ace Roki Sasaki (7 IP 3 H 8 K) had big games, leading their respective teams to 1-0 and 3-2 victories. Also, the Rakuten Golden Eagles came back from being down 1-7 in the fifth to walk off the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 8-7 in Sendai.
Saturday: Last week, Tigers’ rookie Shoki Murakami threw seven perfect innings before being pulled for a reliever. This time around, he recorded “just” the first 13 outs of the game, gave up two singles, struck out 10, and scored the game’s first run. He went the distance, defeating the Dragons 2-0.
Sunday: The Orix Buffaloes might be in danger of losing Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the majors this coming offseason, but his heir apparent is already on the staff. Twenty-year-old Shumpeita Yamashita threw seven innings of three-hit ball, fanning 8 and lowering his ERA to 0.62 for the season. The Buffs beat the Lions 4-1.
Good Week: Marines (5-1), Buffaloes (4-2)
Rough Week: Hawks (0-5), Fighters (2-4), Carp (2-4)