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Shootin' Carp in a Barrel - July 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.

Shootin' Carp in a Barrel - July 10, 2013

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Yokohama has been struggling to get hits. Especially hits with runners on. But when they finally start, it's like the Machine Gun Offense of old.

This did not start off well for the 'Stars this game. Kila Ka'alhue hit his second home run in two days at Yokohama Stadium in the first inning, a 2-run blast deep into the right-center field stands. Hiroshima starts off with a 2-0 lead.

But Yokohama did immediately tie things back up in the bottom half of the first. And RBI triple into the right field corner by Nyjer Morgan followed by a ground ball to first by Tony Blanco scored the tying run. 2-2 after one inning.

But the Carp weren't done with their feeding frenzy off of Yokohama starter Kentaro Takasaki. They send 8 men to the plate in the top of the second inning, and with just 2 hits and 3 walks, manage to score 2 more runs while stranding the bases loaded. The Carp go ahead 4-2.

Yokohama is only able to answer with 1 run on three consecutive singles to open up the bottom half of the second inning, eventually stranding the bases loaded themselves. We now trail 3-4. At least we're keeping it close?

Unfortunately, Yamasaki isn't finished giving up runs. Despite getting the first two batters he faces in the top of the third, a walk followed by an RBI double off the bat of Tsubasa Aizawa puts us down by 2 again, 3-5.

On the bright side, Yamasaki was done for the day, and Hiroshi Kobayashi finally held Hiroshima scoreless in the fourth inning. But a double by Ryuhei Matsuyama (first of two) and single by Shota Dobayashi adjust our deficit to 3-6. It's looking like the Carp are going to score in almost every inning. A quick look at the final scoreboard, you can see that they do score in 2/3rds of them:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Hiroshima 2 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 8 13 1

The Carp just kept nibbling; a couple of runs here, a run there. They hit 5 doubles along with the 2-run homer by Kila. This pond serves up a lot of extra base hits to its guests. Nothing new there.

But the BayStars went to feast on Carp in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, sending up 10, 8, and 9 batters respectively. Tony Blanco drives in 6 runs on the day, including a 2-run home run to center field in the seventh, his 27th home run of the season. Noriharu Yamazaki, Morgan, and Kazunari Tsuruoka each have 3 hits in the game (modasho); Yamazaki and Morgan combining for 7 runs scored while Tsuruoka drove in 3.

But the key play that really decided the game came with two down in the 5th inning.

Pinch hitter Tatsuya Shimozono singled to right with runners at first and second. The throw from right field came in toward the plate, but was cut off. (Similar to yesterday so far.) The Carp had Shimozono caught between first and second, but this time had somebody covering first. A couple of back and forths and it looked like they were going to get Shimozono. But before doing so, the Carp throw home where Tsuruoka is held up half way between third and home plate. He looked like he was just trying to draw attention away from the other runner more than trying to score. So he starts heading back toward third, and the ball gets thrown in the dirt and past the third baseman! By the time Hiroshima have the ball back under control, the 6th and 7th runs of the inning come across, Yokohama taking a 10-6 lead.

That seemed to deflate the spirit in the third base dugout. But Hiroshima did manage to add single runs in the 6th and 7th, but not close to what Yokohama added (3 and 4 respectively). It was like the Machine Gun Offense of 1998 was resurrected. All eight starting fielders had hits in the 19 hit bonanza, Yokohama taking the game 17 -8.
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