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April 28th 2009 (Kurashiki Muscat Stadium)

Hanshin Tigers 8 Yokohama Baystars 4

The Tigers won the first game of the Yokohama series in my old home for two years- Kurashiki. Last time I was at the Muscat Stadium the Tigers lost 6-0 against the Swallows, but it  was a far better performance from the Tigers this time around.Hanshin took the lead with a two-base deep hit from Arai in the third. At the top of the sixth starter Shimoyanagi fell apart to give the Baystars a 4-2 lead, but this didn’t last long as Hanshin restored parity in the bottom – Imaoka and a short sacrifice from Kano. In the seventh Hanshin won the game- the Baystars pitchers simply couldnt deal with the offense, with Arai and pinch hitter Asai getting the hits.

All in all a good win from the Tigers offensively, with the big story being Arai– four hits out of four, a good performance that continues his rehabilitation from a poor start to the season. Defensively Shimoyanagi was once again not at his best, and questions must be asked as to whether the 41-year old is nearing the end of the road.