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April 9th Iwazaki v Takahashi - Endgame Excitement

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April 9th Iwazaki v Takahashi - Endgame Excitement

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Iwazaki put in an even more assured and competent performance than his previous outing going seven competent innings on 6 hits with only one run given up. This time the order of things was reversed with Tigers taking the game by one run. It should have been more but Oh hasn't quite found his feet yet or is still having problems with Fujii's calling. At least he was not inserted into the line up at No. 7 this game. BayStars total incompetence in the Tigers eighth basically cost them the game - what kind of team gives up two separate runs on two seperate wild pitches? Scores


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


Starting Lineups

BayStars
1. Ishikawa (Second)
2. Yamazaki (Short)
3. Kajitani (Short)
4. Blanco (First)
5. Tamura (Left)
6. Baldris (Third)
7. Aranami (Centre)
8. Kurobane (Catcher)
9. Takahashi (Pitcher)

Tigers
1. Uemoto (Second)
2. Yamato (Centre)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Gomez (First)
5. Murton (Left)
6. Ryota Arai (Third)
7. Shunsuke (Right)
8. Fujii (Catcher)
9. Iwazaki (Pitcher)

With one out Yamazaki drove towards Uemoto who had to dive to stop the ball. This didn't prevent the runner reaching base but the next two batters couldn't do anything and BayStars came away scoreless. Tigers first was a little different. Two out and suddenly the previously somnolent Toritani came to life punching a double to left centre. Gomez walked and Murton turned a changeup to left bringing in Toritani 1-0 Tigers, runners on first and second. Ryota walked to load the bases and things looked like they could go nicely but Takahashi managed to strike out Shunsuke to end the innings. One-nil wasn't much of a margin but Iwazaki set about protecting it very well handling BayStars second with a high level of maturity. Two batters flew out and then Uemoto managed to let the ball through his legs allowing Aranami to take first on what should have been an easy out. Aranami stole second easily beating Fujii's useless arm but Iwazaki kept his nerve and struck out Kurobane looking. With two out in Tigers second Uemoto walked. He tried to steal second but was thrown out to end the innings. Kurobane certainly has a better arm than Fujii. Takahashi surprised everyone with a lead off single in BayStars third. However, the visitors didn't have chance to enjoy this stroke of luck as Ishikawa hit into a double play and Yamazaki struck out to end the innings. Tigers third was quiet and no one got on base.

Kajitani grounded out to lead off BayStars fourth but then Blanco went for his third sinker of the at bat and got hold of it. The ball was propelled nicely into the stands for a solo home run 1-1 scores tied. Iwazaki like so many pitchers didn't settle immediately and allowed a single to Tamura but then got the next two batters to fly out. Tigers wouldn't add to their score while he was pitching and so the victory would go to someone else. Murton led off Tigers fourth with a single to left. Now comes one of those strange things that happen with Tigers. Murton tried to steal second. Given that Kurobane had thrown out the far faster Uemoto this really ranked as suicide and the pointless waste of an out akin to one of Wada's bunts. Murton was tagged out and the sheer folly of the whole move was illustrated the very next at bat when Ryota worked a walk. Shunsuke singled left but of course there was no runner on second to make home which there would have been if Murton hadn't tried the steal. Tigers now had runners on first and third but Fujii being enamoured of the squeeze went for that again and hit the ball back to Takahashi. BayStars were ready for that and Ryota was caught and run down. In the meantime Shunsuke took third and Fujii was safe on first. Iwazaki tried to hit and flew out to left to end the innings which also could have been a sacrifice fly if Murton hadn't attempted the steal. The only thing to say about this innings was it was woefully inept with Fujii's squeeze play being the crowning stupidity. BayStars picked up their first walk - a lead off to Kurobane. He was bunted to second by Takahashi but stayed there as neither Ishikawa nor Yamazaki had the wherewithal to do anything about it. Tigers fifth though was a quiet affair with no one reaching base. Takahashi though had thrown 107 pitches and would not return for the next innings. Iwazaki had only thrown 77 pitches by contrast and was good for a couple of more innings provided he didn't make any mistakes. He got the first two outs in BayStars sixth but Tamura was able to hit to Toritani and take first safely. Baldris flew out to left. Tigers sixth was pitched by Mikami. He managed a one out single to centre to Murton. Murton then went for the steal again and to everyone's surprise succeeded. The only possible explanation was that everyone thought he had learned his lesson and weren't expecting it so their reactions were a bit slower. Murton didn't get beyond second though as first Ryota and then Shunsuke grounded out to end the innings.

The previous night had seen a spectacular mismanagement and meltdown by Tigers battery in BayStars seventh so all eyes were on how Iwazaki would handle things. The calling was as dismal as ever but Iwazaki did well. Kurobane singled to right with one out but Mikami messed his three bunt attempts up and was out. Kurobane tried to steal second which was on a par with Murton's first attempt. Even Fujii could handle this and he did successfully throwing the runner out to end the innings. Fujii then led off Tigers seventh with a single but fell to an Imanari (pinch hitter) double play. Uemoto put the ball high and right into the glove of Kajitani. No run there. Fukuhara took over for BayStars eighth and retired the batters in order comfortably and securely. Osada took over on the mound for Tigers eighth but didn't have such an easy time of it as the previous night. In fact he stank. He started by walking Yamato. Toritani singled left - he's hitting at last. putting runners on first and third. Then he stole second. Osada let fly a wild pitch which brought Yamato home 2-1 Tigers, runner on third. Gomez walked on a full count and Murton drove his first pitch to second. Yamazaki went for the double play but whilst Gomez was forced out Murton was able to make first. There was also enough time for Toritani to scramble home 3-1 Tigers, runner on first. Murton was pinch run for by Tagami. Tagami stole second and then raced round the bases when Osada loosed another wild pitch sliding in safely 4-1 Tigers. Saka (pinch hitter) flew out and then Shunsuke singled to centre. This was enough for Nakahata who brought on Kikuchi to get the final out. This proved to be Fujii who grounded out to end the innings. It had been a good innings for Tigers and all they needed to do was hold the lead. This was easier said than done. Oh had troubles with his catcher straight away with Fujii's variation being poor. With one out Tamura singled left. Baldris flew out but then Aranami singled left to put runners on first and second. Kurobane hit to centre bringing home Tamura 4-2 Tigers, runners on first and second. Nakahata sent Kinjoh (pinch hitter) to the plate and here Oh let go a wild pitch which Fujii of course missed. This brought Aranami home 4-3 Tigers, runner on second. Things did look rather dangerous now - would Tigers incompetently throw away their victory? Fortunately not, Kinjoh hit to right where Shunsuke moved round and took the fly to end the game. Tigers victory.

Well it was a victory and went on Fukuhara's win column. Oh picked up his second save but really one wonders about Tigers. They have very great difficulties breaking down the BayStars who shouldn't represent so much of a problem to a team of Tigers power. Still all credit to the BayStars for fighting hard. Something does need to be done about the relief though - at the moment they are all over the place with only Fukuhara and Katoh being reasonably solid.
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