Igawa leaves injured as Orix falls in his return to Japan
Orix lefty Kei Igawa spent five seasons in the New York Yankees organization and didn’t really amount to much. He spent 3.2 innings on the mound at Hotto Motto Stadium in Kobe and faired only slightly better.
Igawa didn’t pitch poorly, but he wasn’t around long. He departed in the fourth inning after allowing a run, and his Buffaloes fell 1-0 to the SoftBank Hawks on Wednesday night.
Igawa took a painful-looking hop while on the mound after feeling discomfort in his right hamstring following a delivery. Orix skipper Akinobu Okada said his removal from the game was a precaution for what the team doesn’t perceive as a long-term injury. But they will likely ship him back to the farm so he can take his time getting into better shape.
“He felt something like a cramp in his right thigh and perhaps we could have taped it up and let him go, but it’s not worth it to risk it at this point in the season,” Okada said.
Kenji Otonari (2-3) left with two on and two out in the seventh, and the Buffaloes were no match for the SoftBank bullpen. Set-up man Masahiko Morifuku retired all three batters he faced in the eighth, and Brian Falkenborg struck out the side in the ninth for his 13th save.
Kenji Akashi’s infield single to the left side pushed home the only run in the third.
EAGLES 1, LIONS 0
Akihisa Makida knocked in the game’s only run with a sac fly to back Takashi Kawai (1-0), who twirled 6.1 scoreless innings as Rakuten held on to top Seibu at The Kleenex Box.
Three relievers combined on shutout, Koji Aoyama allowing two hits in the ninth before notching the save.
MARINES 4, FIGHTERS 1, 5 INNINGS
Shunuske Watanabe allowed only a Micah Hoffpauir solo blast over five innings before rain forced umpires to call Lotte’s rain-shortened win over Nippon Ham at The Q.
Toshiaki Imae had doubled and was on second base with one out when the game ended.
DRAGONS 7, SWALLOWS 3
Tony Blanco slammed a pair of homers for four RBIs, Kazuhiro Wada went deep with a man aboard as Kenichi Nakata (3-1) put in a quality start as Chunichi routed Yakult in Gifu.
Blanco -- who also singled and doubled -- hit a three-run shot in the first inning to stake Nakata to a lead, and the righty held Yakult to three runs on seven hits and a walk over seven innings. Motonobu Tanishige added three hits, including two-RBI double for the Dragons.
GIANTS 8, BAYSTARS 5
Shuichi Murata tormented his old team by going 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Yoshinobu Takahashi had three hits and two RBIs as Yomiuri held off Yokohama at The Big Egg.
Yoshitomo Tani had a three-run homer [his first longball since May 2, 2010] and Shinnosuke Abe had two RBI singles to back D.J. Houlton (2-3), who scattered five hits with three walks and a hit batter in yielding two runs over seven frames. Scott Mathieson worked a perfect ninth for his first save in Japan.
TIGERS 6, CARP 2
Matt Murton had two hits, including a two-run, seventh-inning triple to help Hanshin get past host Hiroshima.
Jason Standridge (3-2) held the Carp to a run on two hits and two walks over six innings for the win. Shintaro Hiyama had a pinch-hit RBI single, moving into fourth place on the all-time list for pinch hits.