Hiroshima Carp 0 Hanshin Tigers 2 (Hiroshima Mazda Stadium)
4th September 2009
I missed yesterdays defeat- a bad result, as we’d really needed to sweep the series. Still, today we play the Carp in the Mazda Zoom! Stadium, while the Swallows take on the Giants at Tokyo Dome- can we reduce the defecit to third place?
Line Up: Akahoshi, Hirano, Toritani, Kanemoto, Arai, Brazell, Katsuragi, Kanoh, Nohmi
Battery: Nohmi -> Fujikawa / Kanoh
Preview: I like the stability of the offense these days- Maymi took his time deciding where to play who, but it’s become quite constant these days.
Match Report: Nohmi is 2.83 and 8-8, and has pitched one complete game. Up to the fifth he pitched very well- giving away only 2 hits and striking out 6. Legend. Hanshin got their runs in the first- after a delayed start due to rain, Hirano was on base with two outs, but after Aniki was walked Arai got the hit to load the bases, and Brazell hit to right field to drive in the runs. Hiroshima pitcher Luis wasn’t pitching at all badly either, and it become clear this would be a pitchers’ duel, rather than a game for the offense. Over in Tokyo, the Swallows were beating the Giants 3-1 in the eighth, while Hanshin had reached the seventh innings, Nohmi still in control, with 3 hits and eight strikeouts. Hiroshima had turned to their relief, Yokoyama pitching the seventh, and Schultz taking over for the eighth. He didn’t start well- Toritani was walked, but Kanemoto dissapointingly flew out. Next up Arai, who made it to base, and then Brazell who walked. Unfortunately Toritani had tried to steal to third, so instead of a manrui one out situation, we had runners on first and second with two outs. Next up was Katsuragi, who grounded out to end the innings. The Carp eighth- would Nohmi continue? He was only on 98 balls for the day, and did. Off the first ball, Ishihara got a hit! Hiroshima’s pinch hitter flew out, and Higashide was up. He bunted, and made it to first! Que mound conference. Then the big change came, one I wholeheartedly supported with one out in the eighth- Kyuji Fujikawa! Nohmi had pitched fantastically, eight strikeouts and three hits off 108 balls, but it was the right choice to withdraw him. So to Kyuji- strike…strike…ball…outto! (though the last ball didn’t look like a strike) Two out, Philips up. Ball…ball…strike!…ball!!….serious stress…and another ball! Bases were loaded with two outs, and next up was star hitter Kurihara…strike!…strike!!….and out!!!! Wow, what a stressful eighth! Channel switch- and Kyojin had a manrui chance in the eighth with one out, trailing the Swallows 3-1! Back in Hiroshima, there was a sight you don’t see too often- Fujikawa at the plate! Unsurprisingly he struck out (Kanoh had also grounded out), as did Akahoshi. And so to the Carp’s ninth! First, MacClain- he’d already struck out three times, and started with a wild swing. He then swung at a laughably high pitch, and was subsequently struck out- wow, a man to make Mench look almost good! Next up- another strike out!! One left…and a ground out, to bring the curtain down on a tense but well executed victory. For once, Mayumi’s use of the relief was spot on- the joint heroes of the day being Nohmi and Fujikawa.
Over in Tokyo it was the Giants ninth (yes the game was STILL going on). They’d failed to make the most of their eighth innings chance, but had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. For the first time ever, I found myself supporting the Giants- if they could win, the gap to third would be cut to just two games. The batter grounded out, but the runner on third got home to make it 3-2, two outs and runner on third base. Final batter, Ogasawara. He hit a high ball to the outfield….and unbelievably it hit the ground between two faltering fielders!! How the hell did they not catch that!? On replay, it had actually hit the roof of Tokyo Dome…unbelievably bad luck for the Swallows, 3-3 with two outs. I felt sympathy for a team I’d usually support over the Giants in any other scenario. Next up, “Rami-chan”, who grounded out- wow, we were into the tenth in an epic contest. At this point I left to do things with my early afternoon, and returned to find it had ended 3-3, after a massive four and a half hour contest.