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The Curse is Lifted - July 6, 2013

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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 Curse is Lifted - July 6, 2013

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Thanks to a dramatic come from behind victory in the 9th inning, the long awaited win at Tokyo Dome has been achieved. Yokohama has defeated the Giants in their den.

This was, by no means, an easy victory as the Giants got on the board first with two runs on a bases loaded single to left by Hisayoshi Chono. How did the bases get full? Yokohama's starting pitcher, Shugo Fujii, walked two and hit one. So the Giants got off to their early lead on just a single hit.

But whereas the long ball was Yokohama's demise the night before, Tony Blanco hits a monster shot to left to lead off the second inning, followed by Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh hitting his first home run of the season, this one to center field. Back to back home runs tie the game up against the Giants' Hirokazu Sawamura.

Fujii settled down for two innings, getting the Giants in order (despite a leadoff walk in the third, followed by a double play). Thereafter, though, the Giants continually got runners on in each inning. After back to back 2-out walks in the bottom of the seventh Nakahata-kantoku had had enough. Shigeru Kaga came in and got Hayato Sakamoto to fly out to right to end that threat.

However, Jorge Sosa, coming in to pitch the 8th, didn't escape so well. A leadoff single, sacifice, and single put runners at the corners with 1 out. Pinch hitter Yoshinobu Takahashi grounded the ball to the right side. Uchimura Kensuke, drawn in to protect against the run, seemed to have a hard time getting the ball out of his glove, finally throwing to first. But the damage was done as the go-ahead run had crossed the plate.

The Giants' closer, Kentaro Nishimura took the mound for the 9th inning, looking for the Giants' 13th Tokyo Dome victory in a row. After allowing a leadoff double to left to Noriharu Yamazaki, Nishimura got Keijiro Matsumoto to foul out to the catcher on an attempted sacrifice bunt. Pinch hitter Hitoshi Tamura walked on 5 pitches, then Norihiro Nakamura, pinch hitting for the pitcher, was beaned in the helmet by Nishimura's first pitch. After a few minutes, Nori got up and insisted that he was okay. The trainer went down to first with him and continued talking with Nori for what seemed like a couple minutes more. I don't think he was fully convinced that Nakamura was fully cognitive.

Nonetheless, the bases were loaded and Nishimura was ejected from the game for a "dangerous pitch." That brought in Scott Mathieson in emergency relief. Matthieson only threw to one batter, Sho Aranami, who doubled in 2 runs with a well placed hit up the right field line and into the corner in right field. Gyakuten! Yokohama takes a 4-3 lead.

Shinji Ohhara came on to pitch the ninth for Yokohama. Despite back to back 1-out singles, Ohhara got Sakamoto to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and mark his first career save.

Yokohama has finally won at Tokyo Dome!
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