Adjust Font Size: A A       Guest settings   Register

The Big Comeback - May 10, 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.


The Big Comeback - May 10, 2013

0 replies.

The BayStars have shown an unwillingness to give up, even down by large deficits, this season. And that really shows against the Giants.

On April 23 in Kobe, the Giants hosted the BayStars at Hotto Motto Stadium. By the end of the 4th inning, Yomiuri had an 8-1 lead. Yokohama put together 4 runs in the 6th inning on 5 consecutive hits, starting off with Tony Blanco's 11th home run of the season. He added his 12 home run with a solo shot in the 7th. The Giants intentionally walked him in the 9th to face Shotaro Ide who singled in a run to make it 7-8. Unfortunately, that one last hit never came. But the game went from being a blow out to nail biter.

After being blown out 1-17 at Kyocera Dome, the road trip moved to Gifu where the Giants had a 5-0 lead going to the 9th inning on April 25. Hirokazu Sawamura had a 1-hit shutout going through 8 innings. But an error, single, and 3-run home run by Takehiro Ishikawa changed the mood completely. Sawamura took a place on the bench and Kentaro Nishimura shut down the following three batters to give the Giants a close 5-3 victory.

But those two comebacks pale in comparison to this evening's game in Yokohama.

The Giants jumped out to a quick lead, scoring 5 in the top of the 1st against BayStar starter Kentaro Takasaki. The five runs were topped off by a 2-run blast by former BayStar third baseman Shuichi Murata.

But Yokohama was quick to respond in the bottom of the 1st. Blanco and Norihiro Nakamura hit back to back shots, Blanco's 2-run home run (his 18th of the year) reaching the billboards at the top rim of the stadium. The three runs narrowed the difference to two after one inning against Dennis Houlton.

Both starters settled down thereafter, Houlton allowing just 3 more hits through 5 innings, Takasaki just 1 more over the same span. But unable to get an out through the first three Giants faced in the top of the 6th, Takasaki was relieved trailing 3-6. Shigeru Kaga plunked Murata to load the bases and was done. Shinji Ohhara struck out pinch hitter Yoshihito Ishii, but then allowed a 2-run double to pinch hitter Kenji Yano. Hara-kantoku was pulling out all the stops to put this game away, and leading 8-3, the gap was growing.

And the gap continued to grow in the 7th inning as Hayato Sakamoto and Jose Lopez both hit solo home run in the top of the 7th to make the score 10-3 in favor of the Giants. Things were starting to look as grim as the 1-17 shellacking we got at Kyocera Dome against the Giants a couple weeks earlier.

But despair did not set in. The BayStar bench is bright and optimistic. Down 3-10, they answered the call in the bottom of the 7th.

Pinch hitter Hiroyuki Shirasaki started off the inning against Kyosuke Takagi, in his second inning of work, with a single up the middle. Pinch hitter and returning BayStar (after a few years with SoftBank) Hitoshi Tamura followed that by hitting a 2-run home run to left. That cut the Giants lead in half, we now trailed 5-10. Nyjer Morgan, still batting under .200, but having beat out a bunt base hit in the 5th inning, lifted the ball into the right field seats to make it back-to-back home runs, the second pair for Yokohama on the night. After allowing Kensuke Uchimura a single up the middle, that was it for Takagi and Scotto Mathieson came on to pitch for the Giants.

But Mathieson couldn't put out the fire. Three hits, topped off by a 2-run double by a very hot Nori saw three more runs cross the plate. When the dust cleared, it was a 1-run ball game, Yokohama down 9-10.

Yokohama threatened in the bottom of the 8th. The Giants elected not to pitch to Blanco, none of the four pitches coming close to the strike zone, with runners at first and third and two outs. Despite Nori being 3 for 3 with a home run, 2-run double, and a walk so far this game, the strategy paid off and they got Nakamura on a called third strike to end the inning.

The 9th inning started off a bit controversially. Pinch hitter Tatsuhiko Kinjoh grounded the ball up the first base line, the ball took a funny hop right next to the first base bag, and the first base umpire called it a foul ball. Giants' first baseman Lopez, having fielded the ball and taken it to first, looked upset, and Hara-kantoku came out of the third base dugout. He managed to convince the home plate umpire to reverse the call. Despite an argument by Nakahata-kantoku, play resumed with one out.

Okay, so Shuto Takajyoh and pinch hitter Taketoshi Gotoh followed that with a pair of singles, putting Yomiuri closer Kentaro Nishimura on the spot.

You may recall that Nishimura closed down Yokohama's threat on April 25 to save Sawamura's game from getting away from him. He didn't do so well this time.

Tamura, who hit that 2-run pinch hit home run to get things going in the 7th inning and singled to start the 8th inning threat, came up. With the count 2-2, Tamura got all of a 151 kph fast ball and delivered the ball to the BayStar fans in right field!

Sayonara gyakuten 3-run home run!

The BayStars finally managed to defeat the Giants this season, their first win in 6 meetings.

The legendary Shigeo Nagashima was in attendance to the game. With the two managers, Nakahata and Hara, being the heirs to third base after Nagashima's retirement, he has a special connection with the matchup. He told the press afterward that he had planed on heading back home after 7 innings, but, "すごいねぇ。すごい試合をしたね。ナイスゲームだった。" ("Incredible. It was an incredible game. Nice game." [My rough translation.])

Yokohama has made great strides toward coming back all season. But this was the biggest, and best result of them all.
Share |

Comments

Topic: Ma-kun Defeats the Nation - May 14, 2013 Previous Topic
Go back to the topic listing  Back to Topic List    Click to go to the top of the page  Top of the page
Next Topic Topic: The Big Bamboo - May 8, 2013
Search for Pro Yakyu news and information
Copyright (c) 1995-2017 JapaneseBaseball.com.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Some rights reserved.