Baseball: BayStars defend the difference against the Tigers in first place


DeNA BayStars’ Yuya Sakamoto will play during a Central League game against the Hanshin Tigers on August 19, 2021 at the Tokyo Dome. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) – Masayuki Kuwahara made a big catch in midfield when DeNA BayStars scored a 5-4 win against Central League leaders Hanshin Tigers on Thursday.

Starting pitcher Yuya Sakamoto (4-2) allowed two runs over six innings with four hits and one batsman while hitting five. The left-handed allowed the Tigers to tie it 2-2 in game five when Mel Rojas Jr. doubled up in one run and scored on a wild field.

“I played well in my last game before the Olympic break, but I also worked hard in my free time to make sure I could keep up the pace after the break,” said Sakamoto.

The BayStars, who host the series in the Tokyo Dome because their home park, Yokohama Stadium, is not yet available after being used during the Olympic Games in Tokyo, finally took over the lead in the home half.

With two up and two out against Tiger’s starter Shintaro Fujinami (3: 3), Tiger’s outfielder Koji Chikamoto tried to make a dive on Tatsuhiro Shibata’s line drive into the flat center. He missed and the ball went through him for a two-run double.

The Tigers made it a one-run game in their seventh game against Reliever Edwin Escobar, but could have had more. With One On and No Outs, Kuwahara Rojas stole a single with a dive catch and limited the damage to one run.

The BayStars went into the ninth round 5-3, but rookie Teruaki Sato scored his third run by opening the inning with his 23rd home run on the closer Kazuki Mishima. Rojas hit the wall with a drive but was robbed again, this time right when substitute outfielder Taishi Kusumoto grabbed the wall.

The out allowed Mishima to hold out and record his 17th parade.

The Tigers’ defeat left them 1-1 / 2 games ahead of second-placed Yomiuri Giants, with the Yakult Swallows another 1-1 / 2 games back in third place.

In the Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Daichi Osera (5: 3) completed seven goalless innings to beat left-hander Yudai Ono (3: 8) in the 3-1 win of the Hiroshima Carp against the Chunichi Dragons.

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Toshiya Sato’s two-eighth-inning singles even drew the Lotte Marines against the Seibu Lions before their game ended 3-3. The Marines stayed fourth in the Pacific League, half a game behind third-placed SoftBank Hawks and four behind league leaders Orix Buffaloes.

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