Tigers 5 Giants 4 (Game 1)
Preview: Well, the less said about our last three games the better. 3 close games that we lost through a combination of players (and coaches?) not doing what we needed them to do. Still, we’ve acquired two new pitchers since then – Yusuke Kawasaki from Lotte Marines, for cash, and Jason Standridge from the States. Today is our first game at Koshien Stadium of the season, against the auld enemy, Kyojin. Today’s starter is Nohmi- Kyojin start with Fujii.
Team Lineup (in batting order):
1. Murton (C)
2. Hirano (2)
3. Toritani (SS)
4. Kanemoto (L)
5. Arai (3)
6. Johjima (Ca)
7. Brazell (1)
8. Sakurai (R)
9. Nohmi (P)
Battery: Nohmi -> Kubota -> Fujikawa / Johjima
Game: It started badly, with a hit, two walks, a dead ball and a throwing error giving Kyojin the chance to surge into a 2-0 lead in the third. A hit by Brazell and an error somehow got Brazell round to make it 2-1 at the bottom of the same innings, and then in the fourth, with Toritani on base, Arai hit a sweet home run to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead! In the sixth, Kyojin put together their best run of play- two hits to pull them back into the game, 3-3. Bottom of the sixth- Hanshin pinch hitter Asai got to first. Toritani, however, was unfortunately out. Next up, Aniki, who quite clearly shouldn’t be playing (although his fielding is still tip top). Still, … HOME RUN ANIKI!! I won’t take out my comment 🙂 Haha- fantastic stuff, a beautiful hit into the centre of the outfield stands, and its 5-3!!!! Now we enter the closing stages of the game…
It’s the top of the seventh, and Nohmi remains on the mound. Runners on base, two out…Tigers fans pre-emptively blowing up balloons…and a hit to middle field gets the runner on second home, and its 5-4. Deep fly out to right field, lucky seven time. Tigers….three out. Giants eighth – and it’s…Kubota! One out… two out … three out, ok! Tigers eighth… and Murton gets a nice hit- his first of the game. What a signing he’s been. Yamato gets the bunt, just about, to get Murton to second, and a wild pitch gets him to third! Toritani on first (walked), Murton on third, Aniki – ah! He’s out. Two out, runners on first and third, and it’s Arai- 2-2…2-3 – yaa! Out! So it goes to the ninth, with Tigers holding a one run lead- time for Kyuji Fujikawa. Giants ninth– one out! Next, a hit! Runner on first. Next, a caught out! Two out. Next- and another hit! Now there’s runners on first and third 😦 This is going right down to the wire… strike… and another!! Come on Kyuji!! Yes!!! Caught in the outfield, game over!
Analysis: A narrow victory that on another day could have gone to the Giants. The difference was incisive offensive play- two great home runs, especially from Aniki who hit a mammoth hit into the stands. Giants beat us on hits 9 to 6, but we beat them on home runs 🙂 All three of our pitchers did a job too- particularly our relief, but Nohmi also has notched up another win. Bring on tomorrows game- let’s continue the bounce back from the Nagoya debacle.