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Walkin' Soto - April 23, 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.

Walkin' Soto - April 23, 2013

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You know how I said I was ready to give up on Enyelbert Soto after his first two outings, but his third outing showed I may have been premature with that judgement? I've changed my mind back. He needs to go down.

Allowing 6 walks and hitting a batter through 3-⅓ innings, Soto put the BayStars down in Kobe against the Giants 1-8, despite getting on the scoreboard first with a run in the first inning against Yomiuri starter Ryosuke Miyaguni.Shoma Satoh, Teruaki Yoshikawa, and Shinji Ohhara combined to hold the Giants scoreless through the remaining 4-⅔ innings.

Yokohama had their chances. Miyaguni only retired the BayStars in order in the 3rd inning. But when Tony Blanco lead off the 6th inning with a home run the opposite way, to right, Yokohama's offense suddenly turned on. Alex Ramirez and Norihiro Nakamura hit back to back singles, Keijiro Nakamura doubled in one run, then Kazunari Tsuruoka singled in a couple more, Yokohama managing to score 4 in the 6th inning without making an out.

The home run in the 6th inning by Blanco was his 11th of the season, extending his home run hitting streak to 5 games. He then hit a 2-out solo shot to straight away center in the 7th inning to bring Yokohama to within 2 run.

Scott Mathieson shut down Yokohama's offense in order in the 8th inning, but Giant closer, Kentaro Nishimura struggled mightily in the top of the 9th.

With two down and a runner on first, Nishimura was ordered to walk Blanco. This isn't about protecting a record. This is about not letting him beat you, as Blanco has been on fire the past week. Shotaro Ide, who came in as a pinch runner for Ramirez in the 6th inning, got his second hit in two at bats to load the bases.

Bases loaded, two outs, and the count goes full to Noriharu Yamazaki, who pinch ran for Nori in that 4-run 6th. My heart is racing. It's kind of the same as when Shun Yamaguchi is closing for Yokohama, but excitement replacing nervousness.

The next pitch is a little outside, swung on and miss, and the ball game is over.

Aw. So close.

Yokohama remains winless against the Mighty Giants, losing the mid-week opener 7-8.
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