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Big 5th inning leads SoftBank over Yomiuri

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Big 5th inning leads SoftBank over Yomiuri

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It has seemed that when the Hawks win, it is usually thanks to one big inning. They have not won a great many games thanks to complete games or come-from-behind wins. Today, that theory proved itself as the Hawks rode a five-run 5th inning to rout the Yomiuri Giants, 10-2.

The inning in question started with a 1-1 deadlock thanks to a game-tying solo home run by Ortiz in the 4th. Yamazaki started the 5th with a single, who was sacrificed to second by starting pitcher Sugiuchi. Kawasaki immediately followed it up with an RBI single and a steal of 2nd base. With Yomiuri starter Dicky Gonzalez laboring at this point, he walked Honda. Ortiz knocked in his second run of the day by singling in the speedy Kawasaki, and Tamura followed it up by knocking in Honda.

The succession of hits and runs chased Gonzalez and brought in reliever Masumi Hoshino. He was greeted by the struggling Matsunaka, who drove in both Ortiz and Tamura with a double.

The five runs gave the Hawks a 6-1 lead and it was enough for Sugiuchi, who worked seven solid innings once again. He gave up two runs on six hits, walking four and striking out eight en route to picking up his 8th win of the year.

However, SoftBank's offense wasn't done. They tacked on two runs each in both the 6th and 7th innings. Honda did the work in the 6th by hitting a 2-run shot, and in the 7th, Tadaatsu Nakazawa singled home one run and Yamazaki doubled in the other for a 10-1 lead.

With the game well in-hand, Akiyama went to his bullpen. He decided to use both Settsu and Falkenborg, who hadn't pitched in a few days, but the decision was still puzzling, especially in a blowout. It does makes sense considering the bullpen was taxed in the loss to Yokohama yesterday, though.

The Hawks go back to work tomorrow against the Giants, as the projected starters are Shinsuke Ogura (2-1, 2.70) for SoftBank against Yomiuri's Shugo Fujii (3-1, 2.34).
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