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Yomiuri Giants 2 Hanshin Tigers 8

平野パワー! Hirano propels offence to victory!

好投メッセ! Messenger pitches well

阪神首位! Hanshin regain league lead

Close on hits but not on score, Hanshin today made up for yesterday’s disappointment by produce a solid performance, hitting when it counted and pitching well for an unexpectedly large margin of victory. The damage was done in the second and sixth. In the second, Brazell hit and Aniki walked, before Johjima and Asai both grounded out. Then came Messenger, who hit a sweet hit to left field. It looked like a home run, but on reply it hit the yellow fence line rather than going over it. Thankfully this argument became academic when Toritani and Hirano both followed with hits, for a 4-0 lead. In the sixth, at 5-1 and with two runners on base, Hirano hit a 3-run home run for a 8-1 victory. The Giants got one back in the bottom of the sixth for 8-2. In the ninth Wakiya hit a two-run home run to make it 8-4.

As with so many times this season, Hirano shone. He is a bit of an unsung hero – not a player who naturally grabs the limelight, but instead gets down to the job at hand. He has been a true revelation this season- in fact, he’d be my player of the season so far, even though there are many to choose from. The pitching was taken care of well by Messenger (7 innings), Nishimura (1) and Kubota (1). Brazell is now 2 home runs behind Ramirez.