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Breaking the Streak - April 13, 2013

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

Welcome to the Bayside West: Yokohama Blog

Featuring Michael Westbay (a.k.a. westbaystars)

Michael Westbay has been blogging about Pro Yakyu since before the word "blog" entered the vernacular. Here he writes about Pro Yakyu in general, and the Yokohama BayStars in particular.

Breaking the Streak - April 13, 2013

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It took just 8 pitches to break the Hanshin Tigers' series of zeros on the opposing side of the scoreboard, Yokohama going on to score 6 runs in the first inning to take the second game at Koshien of this three game series.

Takehiro Ishikawa led off the game with a single up the middle on the second pitch offered up by Hanshin starter Minoru Iwata. After Kensuke Uchimura sacrificed him to second on the second pitch, returning BayStar Hitoshi Tamura, in his first start of the series, grounded a 2-ball, 1-strike pitch past the second base bag and into center field for a single, plating Ishikawa from second.

That seemed to shake up Iwata, as he then walked Tony Blanco and Alex Ramirez in succession. Norihiro Nakamura grounded into a force play at second, beating out the relay to first, run in! Yokohama takes a 2-0 lead. Sho Aranami makes in 3-0 with a single to right, and catcher Kazunari Tsuruoka adds another run, doubling to right.

4 runs in the first inning seems like more than one could ask for. But it's not over yet. Starting pitcher Shugo Fujii, with runners at second and third and two down, hits the ball to the right side of the infield. The rally looks over, but the ball goes right through Tsuyoshi Nishioka's legs! Tunnel! Two more runs cross the plate and Yokohama takes a commanding 6 run lead in the first inning.

And that was pretty much all of Yokohama's offense on the day. Ishikawa did get a second hit, another single up the middle with two down in the top of the 4th. Nakamura and Aranami had back to back singles in the 8th inning with one down, but failed to score. And that was it. Iwata really settled down, throwing to just one over the minimum over the next four innings, then Hiroaki Saiuchi and Masanori Fujihara held the BayStars to goose eggs for two innings each. Other than that fateful first inning, Hanshin held their own on the mound and in the field.

Yokohama's starter, Shugo Fujii, scattered 5 runs over five innings while walking a couple. The only run he allowed was on a 1-out triple to Yamato Maeda followed by a walk and sacrifice fly to right by Matt Murton in the 3rd inning. Tigers were on the bases in all five innings, Takahiro Arai getting caught stealing making the 4th inning the only one where Fujii faced just three batters.

Final score: Yokohama 6 - 1 Hanshin.

So, Yokohama broke the 41 innings of zeros Hanshin had put up, evened the series at 1 apiece, and are just a half game out of second (shared by Hiroshima and Hanshin). The Tigers also find themselves 0 and 4 in day games, so Yokohama will certainly be trying to use that to their advantage for the rubber match Sunday afternoon.
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