Rafu Wire Service and Staff Reports

Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki hit his 12th home run of the season, a solo shot in the fifth inning, in a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 20.

Seiya Suzuki (Kyodo)

Suzuki homered to left on a 2-1 sweeper from Royals starter Jordan Lyles to push the Cubs’ lead to 3-1 at Wrigley Field. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI in the game.

The second-place Cubs are three games behind the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

“I want to contribute to the team’s wins,” Suzuki said. “I saw his slider in my first at-bat and knew it would be a tough pitch to swing at whenever he located it well. A fat pitch came when I was looking for it.”

Among other Japanese players, Masataka Yoshida went hitless in five at-bats, but his Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the archrival New York Yankees with a 6-5 victory at Yankee Stadium.

The two-time batting champion in Japan’s Pacific League struck out three times in a game for the third time this season.

Kyle Higashioka slugged a third-inning home run, but the Yankees sank further into the AL East cellar with the loss to Boston. The Yanks have dropped eight straight and now sit 17 games behind first-place Baltimore.

Sunday’s games for both the Dodgers and Angels were played in doubleheaders on Saturday, in anticipation of inclement weather brought by Tropical Storm Hilary.

Field conditions also forced the Angels to postpone their Monday night game against visiting Cincinnati.

On Saturday, New York Mets right-hander Kodai Senga became the eighth Japanese pitcher in MLB history to win at least 10 games in their rookie season.

Senga (10-6) threw seven innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits, including a fourth-inning home run by Nolan Arenado, as the Mets extended their winning streak to four games with a 13-2 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

The former SoftBank Hawks ace struck out five and walked two en route to winning his third straight start.

“It was one of my goals, so I’m happy,” Senga said of his 10th win. “Overall, the speed of my pitches was slower than usual. I turned to cutters and sliders. (Catcher Francisco) Alvarez called a good game.”

The previous seven Japanese pitchers who reached double digits in wins in their rookie season include Hideo Nomo (13-6 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995), Yu Darvish (16-9 for the Texas Rangers in 2012) and Kenta Maeda (16-11 for the Dodgers in 2016).

Daniel Vogelbach hit a grand slam in the fifth. DJ Stewart and Pete Alonso also homered for the Mets.

In other action, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani had just one hit in a total of six at-bats in a doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium.

The Angels won the first game 7-6 and lost the second 18-4.

Darvish (8-9) gave up four runs in five-plus innings in the San Diego Padres’ 8-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second game of their doubleheader at Petco Park.

Japanese first baseman-outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo of the U.S. independent league’s Staten Island FerryHawks has agreed to a minor league deal with the San Francisco

Giants, sources familiar with the matter said Sunday.

The 2016 home run and RBI leader in Japan’s Central League with the DeNA BayStars, Tsutsugo was released by a minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers in June and began

to play in the independent league two months later.

In a total of 182 major league games for the Rays, the Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates between 2020 and 2022, Tsutsugo struggled to a .197 batting average with 18 home

runs and 75 RBIs.

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