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Slugfest Jingu - June 27, 2013

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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.


Slugfest Jingu - June 27, 2013

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After being rained out on Wednesday, Yokohama and Yakult squared off again this evening under much nicer skies. And with the better weather, it didn't take long for the balls to start flying out.

Yokohama starter Kai-wen Cheng wasted no time in giving up a long ball. In the bottom of the 1st inning, after retiring the first batter on a fly out to left, Cheng allowed a double to Takahiro Araki, a single to Lastings Milledge, then a 3-run home run to Wladimir Balentien to tie BayStar slugger Tony Blanco for the Home Run Crown at 24 apiece. Yakult had taken a quick 3-0 lead.

Cheng followed that by allowing three consecutive singles before striking out Keizoh Kawashima and opposing pitcher Orlando Roman to retire the side, stranding the bases loaded, while allowing no further damage. This inning.

Yokohama answered with a run on just one hit, a leadoff double by Sho Aranami who came around on consecutive ground outs to the right side.

But Cheng showed no gratitude for the run, giving up a leadoff triple to Tetsuto Yamada before a 2-run home run to Araki to fall behind 1-5. Cheng was done in 1+ innings. Kota Suda came on and, despite a couple of walks, worked two innings without giving up another run.

The top of the 4th saw Yokohama's offense come alive.

After pinch hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh lined out to shortstop for the second out of the inning with runners on second and third, it looked like Roman was going to get out of the inning again without any damage. Instead, Roman walked Takehiro Ishikawa on 5 pitches then gave up a 2-run single to right by Noriharu Yamazaki. Yokohama now trailed by 2, 3-5.

That prompted Ogawa-kantoku to swap Itsuki Shoda for Roman on the mound, but that just added gasoline to the fire.

Nyjer Morgan, looking to just get the ball through the right side, lined the first pitch by Itsuki over the right field fence at Jingu to turn the game around. BayStars take a 6-5 lead. And we weren't done yet. Tony Blanco got a pitch up and in and shot it over Balentien's head, Balentien not even making a move in left. Blanco retakes sole possession of the Home Run Title with 25. That surpasses his total of 24 for all of last season.

Kenta Abe took over on the mound to get the final out. But not before Yokohama scored 6 runs in the inning to turn the game around, 7-5.

It took about 2 hours to get 3½ innings done. It took another 2 hours to play the final 5½ innings during which time Yokohama had but one hit to Yakult's four.

It should be noted, though that one of those four hits was Balentien hitting a 9th inning lead-off solo home run against Yokohama closer (who came in in the 8th) Jorge Sosa to make it a 1-run ball game. That re-tied Balentien with Blanco for the lead in home runs at 25. But Sosa settled down and retired the final three batters for the save as Yokohama takes the second game of the series by a score of 7-6.
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