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March 25th Tigers v Mariners - Exhibition game

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Featuring Christopher Amano-Langtree (a.k.a. Christopher)

This blog will attempt to report on as many Hanshin Tigers games as possible. Games will be, if possible, reported the day after and on rare occasions the same day.

March 25th Tigers v Mariners - Exhibition game

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Make no mistake these games despite having no relevance are serious affairs for the Tigers and Giants. Playing with MLB clubs on an equal level is very important and to win earns significant bragging rights. Thus Tigers put out their strongest side and significantly, their starting catcher was Komiyama who had a magnificent game behind the plate. One can hope that this game has cemented his status as No 1 catcher ahead of Fujii. Tigers were impressive and one hopes that this form can be carried over into the season. Scores

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mariners 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 8 0
Tigers 0 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 X 5 10 0

Starting lineups

1. Figgins (Third)
2. Ackley (Second)
3. Ichiro (Right)
4. Smoak (First)
5. Montero (DH)
6. Carp (Left)
7. Olivo (Catcher)
8. Saunders (Centre)
9. Ryan (Short)

Pitcher was Noesi

1. Hirano (Second)
2. Shibata (Centre)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Arai (Third)
5. Brazell (Left)
6. Johjima (First)
7. Kanemoto (Left)
8. Komiyama (Catcher)
9. Itoh (Right)

Pitcher was Iwata

Iwata started nervously walking Figgins. Ackley flew out which brought up Ichiro. He hit to left beating Arai's dive and put runners on the corners with only one out. This hit would be replayed ad nauseum. Tigers were in a bit of trouble but Smoak was induced to hit into a double play and the innings was scoreless. Nice work by the Iwata/Komiyama combination. Tigers first saw Noesi in control retiring the batters in order. Mariners second saw some nice assured pitching from Iwata who struck out Carp looking. Olivo who would have a good game hit to third but then was picked off at first by a nice throw to end the innings. Nosei immediately ran into trouble in the Tigers second. Arai singled to right and then Brazell hit a double to left centre setting up runners on second and third. Johjima went left and only found third but brought Arai home 1-0 Tigers, runner on second. Next up was Kanemoto who got a pitch sitting nicely in the zone and hammered it deep into the right stand - 2 run home run 3-0 Tigers. Komiyama singled and then advanced to second on a balk - Mariners were really in trouble. Here Olivo managed to pick off Komiyama for the second out but Noesi was stil shakey and walked Hirano then dead balled Shibata to set up runners on first and second. Toritani, though, flew out to left to end the innings. Iwata needed to protect the lead and got the first two outs before giving up a single to Figgins. Ackley grounded out to second and the innings was over. Noesi wasn't exactly secure in the Tigers third either - with two out Brazell hit a deep two base. A wild pitch took Brazell to third and it looked like Tigers would add another run but Johjima hit a straightforward grounder to short and the innigns was scoreless.

Mariners fourth was led off by Ichiro who hit into the space between second and short but Hirano was well positioned and Ichiro lined out. Smoak flew out and then Montero struck out looking to some fine pitching from Iwata. Tigers fourth was also similar and Noesi was much more assured this innings. Now we moved to Iwata's danger innings - the fifth. This started nicely with Carp flying out. Then Olivo hit to centre. Next Saunders hit to right just beating Hirano's dive to set up runners on first and second. Ryan followed and he popped one up to deep short where Toritani should have taken the fly but unaccountably missed it - bases loaded with only one out. Here Iwata and Komiyama worked well to keep Mariners from scoring. Figgins was lured into swinging at a high pitch for the second out and then a fine ball had Ackley strike out looking to end the innings. Mariners had wasted their best chance of the game. Hirano led off Tigers fifth with a single to centre. Shibata was under instructions to bunt and to be fair made a complete mess of it. Eventually he hit to short forcing out Hirano but making first safely himself. Shibata made second on a pass ball but with Toritani striking out it was up to Arai. He was in the mood to swing at everything and struck out swinging. Fujihara took over for Mariners sixth and fielded the ball to ground out Ichiro. He was then replaced by Watanabe who retired Smoak and Montero. Ramirez took over for Tigers sixth and had a good innings striking out Brazell and Johjima before getting Hiyama (who took over as DH from Kanemoto) to ground out.

So to Mariners seventh which was pitched by Fukuhara. The best that can be said about him is flakey but secure. He got Carp but then walked Olivo. Saunders hit a grounder to first but there wasn't time to make the double play and Olivo was safe on second. A wild pitch followed and Olivo made third. Seager (replacement third) was next and he struck out swinging to a nice pitch from Fukuhara who seemed to have woken up. Tigers seventh was indeed the lucky seventh. Wilhelmsen was the pitcher and Jaso the catcher. Komiyama grounded out but Itoh hit nicely into left field. Hirano hit a grounder to first but the double play wasn't on and Itoh was safe on second. Next was Shibata who walloped his first pitch into right centre for a two base timely hit 4-0 Tigers. Toritani followed and after fouling a few he stroked the ball into left for a timely single 5-0 Tigers - runner on first. Arai grounded out to second but Tigers were well ahead. Enokida took over for the Mariners eighth and faced Kawasaki (replacement second). He drove a slider deep to left just past Asai's (replacement left) glove for a two base hit. Ichiro grounded out to second which took Kawasaki to third and once again Mariners had a chance to score. They blew it yet again. Liddi (replacement first) flew out to second - not deep enough for the sacrifice and then Montero struck out swinging. For Tigers eighth Mariners went with League who gave up a hit to Brazell. Asai swung wildly at everything and struck out and then Hiyama hit into a double play to end the innings. Finally, the Mariners ninth. Fujikawa faced Wells and with his first pitch tried a fast straight ball. Wells hammered it into the left stand for a solo home run 5-1 Tigers. Next was Jaso who hit to short where Kurose (replacement short) took a very proficient catch. One out and with Saunders striking out swinging Tigers fans took up the ato hitori call. The final batter, Ryan grounded out to third to end the game. Tigers victory.

This, despite being an exhibition game had been a very competent display by Tigers. Pitching had been very good and the batters had come through when needed. In fact with Komiyama behind the plate Tigers had looked very comfortable and Iwata had shown some very fine stuff indeed. Fujikawa had managed to spoil the shutout but the Tigers were the superior team on the day by far.
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