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August 17th Iwasada v Takasaki - It finally happens

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August 17th Iwasada v Takasaki - It finally happens

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This was a big surprise after the previous two games - both teams were tight and organised and the game was a gem. The big news was the first ever career victory for Iwasada once again ably handled by the excellent Umeno (why on earth Wada thought he should bring Tsuruoka on for the final innings is a total mystery). Umeno's batting is also beginning to improve and whilst one would not expect him to reach clean up level it is very useful to have a catcher with a bit of pop in him coupled with the behind the plate skills. Scores


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tigers 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 5 12 1
BayStars 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 7 0


Starting Lineups

Tigers
1. Uemoto (Second)
2. Shunsuke (Right)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Gomez (First)
5. Murton (Left)
6. Imanari (Third)
7. Itoh (Centre)
8. Umeno (Catchjer)
9. Iwasada (Pitcher)

BayStars
1. Ishikawa (Second)
2. Shirasaki (Short)
3. Kajitani (Right)
4. Blanco (First)
5. Baldris (Third)
6. Kinjoh (Left)
7. Matsumoto (Centre)
8. Kurobane (Catcher)
9. Takasaki (Pitcher)

One wonders about what passes for thought in managers minds. Why would Nakahata change a successful line up to such a degree. Wada's changes were at least justifiable though the continued inclusion of Imanari is really becoming bizarre. Not playing Fukudome was a move in the right direction and maybe he won't be in the top team next year. Things went wrong for the BayStars from the first pitch which was ruthlessly hit into the Tigers oendan by Uemoto 1-0 Tigers. Shunsuke flew out but then Toritani hit high and straight. The ball bounced back into the field and was initially ruled a double but Wada asked for the replay which showed it to be a home run 2-0 Tigers. Gomez walked and Murton singled to centre putting runners on first and third. Imanari hit to Shirasaki at short who went for the double play. The force out came off but the runner was safe on first and Gomez meanwhile was home 3-0 Tigers, runner on first. Finally, Umeno flew out to centre to end the innings. Tigers had started well. BayStars also got a good start with Ishikawa singling off his second pitch. He made second on Shirasaki's ground out to second (which surprisingly wasn't a bunt). Both Kajitani and Blanco went for the big hit to left and both flew out ending the innings. In Tigers second Shunsuke singled with two out but Toritani grounded out to second and there was no score. A similar thing happened in BayStars second - Matsumoto singled to centre with two out but then Kurobane grounded out to short. Tigers third was quiet with no one reaching base. Once he had gotten over the initial shock Takasaki had actually pitched quite well. Ishikawa singled with one out in BayStars third and then stole second. He reached third on Shirasaki's ground out but then Iwasada responded nicely and struck out Kajitani to end the chance.

For Takasaki trouble suddenly loomed in the Tigers fourth. Itoh led the innings off with a double over the head of Matsumoto. Umeno singled right which put runners on first and third. Wada had Iwasada bunt but this was a miserable failure and Iwasada was out with three misbunts. One has to ask - what was Wada thinking? A squeeze play? The bunt in this situation was unjustifiable when it would have been possible for Iwasada to actually bring in a run. It was incomprehensible management especially with no outs. Uemoto though supplied the vital hit singling left to bring in the runner 4-0 Tigers, runners on first and second. Next came one of those moments which defies belief. Wada called for another bunt - why? With one out he really was wasting his chances and Tigers had the chance to put the game beyond reach until the bunt. With management like this it is amazing that Tigers are actually second and challenging for the lead. Shunsuke bunted the runners to second and third but then Toritani flew out to left. Tigers had extended their lead but not by as much as they should have done. Iwasada started BayStars fourth well striking out Blanco and Baldris. Kinjoh grounded out to third but Imanari messed this up and Kinjoh was able to reach base safely. Iwasada stayed calm and got Matsumoto to ground out ending the innings. In Tigers fifth Murton hit to centre but was forced out by Imanari who however, reached base safely. Itoh also grounded out though. BayStars fifth was quiet with no one reaching base. Tigers sixth was pitched by Hirata who replaced Takasaki; the latter not really having been effective. Both Umeno and Iwasada failed to reach base but Uemoto did with a single to centre. He stole second and then reached third on a wild pitch. Then he ran out of support as Shunsuke flew out to centre ending the innings. Iwasada was tiring by now and though he quickly got rid of Shirasaki and Kajitani he ran into trouble with Blanco. His placement wasn't good and his first pitch to the BayStars first was dispatched into the left stand 4-1 Tigers. Next was Baldris who also got hold of his first pitch and did exactly the same as Blanco - another solo home run 4-2 Tigers. Wada acted with commendable haste and replaced Iwasada with Andoh. This did the trick and Andoh got Kinjoh to hit his first pitch to second for the final out of the innings.

Kuniyoshi took over the pitching for Tigers seventh and walked Toritani. Gomez though hit into a 6-4-3 double play and then Murton grounded out to short ending the innings. Andoh remained on the mound for BayStars seventh and with one out gave up a single to Kurobane who hit into centre. He was forced out by Gotoh who foolishly hit to Toritani. Gotoh made first though as the double play didn't come off. Ishikawa followed and could only ground out for the final out. Hayashi took over for Tigers eighth and started nicely getting Imanari to hit back to him. Next was Itoh who flew out to left and then Umeno who hit hard to right putting the ball over the fence for a solo home run 5-2 Tigers. This was really the killer blow as BayStars didn't have a way back with a three run deficit this game. Ryota Arai (pinch hitter) singled left and then Uemoto who was having a great game hit right putting runners on first and third. Shunsuke could only ground out to short though and Tigers didn't add to the score. Fukuhara took over pitching for BayStars eighth and looked transformed. True he did give up a two out single to Blanco but he rapidly got Baldris to fly out to right and end the innings. Ohsada was BayStars final pitcher of the night taking on Tigers ninth and walking Toritani to lead off the innings. Gomez was in double play mode though and Toritani fell to the big first's second double play of the night. Murton could only ground out to end the innings. BayStars ninth was pitched by Oh with strangely Tsuruoka as catcher. This insistence on using a second rate catcher with the ace saver is strange but Wada no doubt has his reasons. Kinjoh started the innings by singling right. Matsumoto struck out looking but then as Shimozono grouded out Kinjoh made second. One more out was needed and this proved to be Tamura who struck out swinging to end the game. Tigers victory.

This had been a good series to win as the Giants lost and the Carp won. Tigers moved closer to their rivals and maintained the narrow gap between them and the Carp. It was Iwasada's first ever top team win and he picked up a well deserved hero interview. Until he tired in the sixth he had pitched very sensibly helped by excellent calling from Umeno. Oh reached thirty saves and leads the Central League. Tigers next take on the Dragons.
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