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Or “Last Obsessive Hanshin Tigers Post for this Season”?

Tomoaki Kanemoto (left) celebrates his record-breaking streak

Hanshin played their first Climax series game yesterday, surrendering pathetically 2-0 to the Chunichi Dragons at Osaka Dome. They now face the Dragons again, knowing that if they lose tonight the season really is all over. Check this website for updates of the game!

Go go Hanshin!!

1st 表 (top) - 0-0

1st 裏 (bottom) - Kanemoto timely hit puts the Tigers 1-0 up! Then Toritani hits a 3-run home run to put us 4-0 in the lead!!!

2nd 表 - Chunichi pull one back. 4-1.

2nd 裏、3rd – No score.

4th 表 - No score, as Shimoyanagi continues his solid pitching. Next up Hanshins weaker hitters.

4th 裏 – Big hit from Yano gives Hanshin a runner on first! ファイト阪神!

– Another hit. Runners on first and third!

– But the good work is undone by Baldiris, whose weak hit lets Chunichi complete an easy double play. 2 out runner on third. Next up tho is Shimoyanagi- virtually no chance of a hit!

– 3 out.

5th 表(DRAGONS) – 3 out, next up Hanshin’s big hitters!

5th 裏(TIGERS)Akahoshi out. Sekimoto big hits down the middle, and is almost caught out but he narrowly escapes being caught to get to 2nd! Next up is Arai, who’s player song is “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi for some reason…

– One out runner on second. With the count at 2-2 Arai hits it but is caught out. Two out.

– “Aniki”- Tomoaki Kanemoto, our greatest player- steps up. This 40 year-old batting machine holds the world record for the most consecutive games played in. He’s one of the greats. He hits it big….but its caught!! Three out, change.

6th 表(DRAGONS) – DISASTER. Chunichi player Moriya hits a home run. 4-2. Woods caught out. One out. Pitcher change- Shimoyanagi off, Atchison on.

– Damn it! Ichi rui (first base) hit. Get it together Hanshin!

– Next batter caught out. Two out!

– Ok!! Third catch by Aniki. Three out, all change! Hanshin lead 4-2…

6th 裏(TIGERS) Ok!!!!! Toritani steps up and smashes the ball down the middle and into the crowd. Home run, 5-2 Hanshin!!

– Yano hits to get to first base. Okuri bunt gets him to second. 1 out runner on second.

– Get in there! Lin hits to get Yano to third. Another chance!!

– Mistake by Chunichi! The catcher drops the ball and Yano runs home!! 6-2!!!

– Four ball- Hiyama heads to first. Akahoshi- who’s name means “Red Star”- in to bat. With runners on first and third, Chunichi make another error!! The wild pitch means the runner on third runs home, while Akahoshi walks to first. Unbelievable mistake at this stage of the game. Hanshin lead 7-2!!

– This is turning into the pivotal innings in the game. An extended Chunichi time out results in a change of pitcher in an effort to close out the 6th. Next up are Hanshin’s top players- Sekimoto, Arai, Kanemoto, and Toritani! There’ll be further chances to score in this innings.

– 1 out, runners 1st and 2nd, Sekimoto : three strikes and he’s outta there. Next up Arai. He’s out too! So much for my prediction of more runs. At least we’ll start the bottom of the 7th with Kanemoto and Toritani this way. All change, Hanshin lead 7-2…

7th 表(DRAGONS)Pitcher change- Atchison off, Williams on. Four ball moves runner to first.

– Nice play!! Hanshin Double Play, two out no runners!

– Hit gets runner to first. Another hit gets two runners in the field. Get it together Williams…

– Ok! On 2-3, Williams gets the third and final strike and its all change. 7-2 Hanshin…

LUCKY SEVEN INTERLUDE – Hanshin fans blow up the sperm-shaped balloons and release them into the stratosphere. We should be home and dry now, but never count your chickens…

7th 裏(TIGERS) Kanemoto is caught out. Toritani is run out. Yano is run out. Short innings, 7-2 Hanshin.

8th 表(DRAGONS)Pitcher change- Williams off, Kubota on. Woods hits a HOME RUN! 7-3… they’re not out of it yet.

-One out and a runner on first…two out…ach yesterdays late night is getting the better of me, must sleep soon- three out! OK…7-3 Hanshin…

8th 裏(TIGERS)Once again a quiet Hanshin innings. No score means it remains 7-3 going into the 9th and final innings.

9th 表(DRAGONS)Pitcher change- completing the JFK line up, Kubota leaves the field to be replaced by Fujikawa. Come on Hanshin!

– One out!

– Two out!

– Three out, game set 終了しました!!

FINAL SCORE: Hanshin Tigers 7 Chunichi Dragons 3

PITCHING ORDER: Shimoyanagi -> Atchison -> Williams -> Kubota -> Fujikawa

KEY MAN: Toritani 鳥谷)

And with that the game is over, meaning the semi-final of the Climax Series is tied 1-1. The key innings of the game were the 1st and 6th– and in both of these Toritani played a crucial role. His 3-run home run built the foundation for Hanshin’s success, and his single homer in the 6th – combined with two wild pitches and stolen runs- cemented Hanshin’s lead.

Tune in tomorrow at the same time for the final game of the semi-final playoff!! The winner of tomorrow’s game will advance to play the Yomiuri Giants in the 5-game final. Once again it could be Hanshin’s last game of the season- or it could put them into the final with their arch-rivals the Yomiuri Giants.