Hanshin Tigers 9 Yakult Swallows 4 (Koshien)
2nd September 2009
Game two of the showdown series against the faltering Swallows. Can the wins continue?
Line Up: Akahoshi, Hirano, Toritani, Kanemoto, Arai, Brazell, Katsuragi, Kanoh, Iwata
Battery: Iwata -> Kanemura.S -> Tsutsui
Preview: A few changes- Katsuragi steps in for Sakurai, Yanoh is switched for Kanoh in the usual catcher rotation Mayumi seems to like, and todays starting pitcher is Iwata, who is 3-3 with an EPA of 2.40.
Match Report: Another great start, with Hanshin going two up in the second, hits from Arai, Brazelle and then a double from Katsuragi, followed by a gisei frai (sacrifice fly) from Iwata! 2-0 It should have been more though- with manrui (bases loaded) and one out, Hirano was unfortunately double-played. Nevermind- in the third our lead was doubled with a Brazell home-run, whacked into left-field. 4-0 The fourth saw the Swallows get one back, but throughout the first five Iwata (a pitcher who I, among others, highly rate) held the Swallows to 3 hits, with 5 stikeouts. 4-1 In our fifth Hanshin powered further ahead- three walks got Aniki, Arai and Katsuragi on base, and with Yakult pitcher Masubuchi teeing us up, Kanoh took a big swing and hit a three-run hit deep down the centre- 7-1, game effectively over. Surely all that was left now was to note Mayumi’s strange use of the relief? Perhaps not- in the sixth Iwata gave up 4 hits to bring the Swallows back into contention, 7-4. Thankfully from 7-4 things took an upward turn once more- Toritani with a two-run home-run off relief pitcher Matsui. 9-4. For the Swallows’ seventh Iwata continued- he got the outs with relative ease this time. In the Swallows eighth, Kanemura came in- a good choice. He didn’t struggle, although there was some comic fielding confusion with Katsuragi thundering over from first to try to catch a ball that was clearly Hirano’s at second. Akahoshi got a couple of nice fly catches too. Tigers’ eighth was uneventful, and Tsutsui came in to close out the game in the ninth. Tigers victory!
A quality performance, both offensively and defensively. Aniki got no hits, sadly, and Iwata wobbled in the sixth, but recovered for the seventh, while the second tier relief did their job well, giving Atchison, Fujikawa et al. a day off. Still, we need to focus and see off the Swallows again tomorrow- a clean sweep is what is required, as Mayumi himself has professed. Bring on game three!