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Hanshin Tigers vs Yomiuri Giants

4 – 3 ・ 9 – 4 ・ 8 – 7

(Koshien Stadium, 30th April – 2nd May, 2010)

First Series Sweep of the Season Comes Against Greatest Rivals

Wow. Where to start. This was a supreme, fantastic, perfect series of three excellent games, ending in Tigers being top of the Central League table! Whether they will stay there is a question for another day- today we bask in the glory of sweeping the Giants three games to zero at Koshien stadium!

Game 1 (Fossum vs Nishimura) was a 4-3 sayonara hit victory for the Tigers! Fossum pitched pretty well against a strong Giants line up, with runs traded in the first six innings. Our relief came through, and the Giants relief didn’t- a great hit by Hiyama almost got over the fence, but quick running got him to third base. From there, Murton walked, as did Hirano, before Toritani planted a hit to the right outfield for the sayonara victory. Fujikawa got the win- his EPA remains at 0.00. A great win thanks to offensive brilliance and a superb relief.

Game 2 (Standridge vs Obispo) was won 9-4 by the Tigers! Hits came from throughout the team, and our two foreign offensive players, Murton and Brazell, both got home runs. This was Stanridge‘s first start, and he lasted 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and getting 3 strike out’s. Not an amazing first game, but not a disaster. The pitching star was Nishimura- in a difficult situation with the score at 7-4, bases loaded and only one out, he did the business for us, with two strike-outs. Watanabe and Tsutsui also pitched well. Obispo, normally an excellent pitcher, was taken apart. A great victory, and good to see Murton getting a home run. What was most surprising here was that the Giants just looked outclassed by our offence.

Game 3 (Nohmi) was by far the tensest game of the series, but also the game of the season so far- one which we clinched 8-7!!  Our offensive was at its best over the series in this game. In the fourth Tigers took a 2-1 lead over the Giants. Following this, we had a fantastic fifth, with two errors combining with a hit from Toritani and a home run from Johjima to give us a 6-1 lead. I thought about starting to write this post then, but things turned around quickly- in the next innings it looked like our dream, so close, would be snatched away from us. Two hits and two home runs off Nishimura got the Giants right back into it- 6-5. In the seventh things went from bad to worse- the Giants scored two for a 7-6 lead! I thought that was that, but in the bottom of the seventh, Arai hit a home run for 7-7! Then, in the eighth, Sekimoto hit ANOTHER home run for a 8-7 lead! The drama wasn’t over- in the ninth the Giants had runners on first and third with only one out- but yet again Fujikawa did the business to hand us a clean sweep series victory, and first place in the Central League!

Series Heroes シリーズのヒーロー

The whole team are heroes after this series. In each game we got 11, 11 and 15 hits respectively. In the first these came from 6 players, in the second from 8 players, and in the third from 9 players. In the first game there were no home runs, but in the second Murton and Brazell got homers, while in the third Arai, Johjima and Sekimoto did. It was a magnificent team effort from a magnificent team. In terms of averages, Murton got 3 from 5 in both the first and third games, and a home run in the second. Johjima continued his improvement with 2 from 4 in the second, and 3 from 4 in the third, including a home run.

Pitcher wise, Fossum and Nohmi both pitched very well, the latter having to retire in the 6th 藤川 球児today due to an injured foot. The relief played well- Nishimura in the second game kept the Giants out, even though in the third it looked like he may have let them back in. Kubota has also been pitching extremely adeptly. If any star is to be named from these series, then it has to be Kyuji Fujikawa– the man is a force of nature who’s average is still 0.00. Congratulations to all the Tigers and to Mayumi kantoku for this excellent series.

Observations

– Johjima’s home run was a really nice one!

– What happened to Nishimura this game? He was so good in the first game of the series.

– Fujikawa came through, but some of the swings by the Giants’ players were very poorly judged.

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