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Iwasaki's great start matched by Kawai for draw

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Iwasaki's great start matched by Kawai for draw

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Before those who might be reading this blog for the first time ask, yes, there are such things as ties in baseball. At least here in Japan. The Hawks and Eagles played to a 1-1 draw at Kleenex Stadium today, with excellent starts from both Sho Iwasaki and Takashi Kawai.

Iwasaki, a SoftBank prospect making his third start of the year, and only the fifth of his short NPB career, also managed to record his first quality start of his career, going seven and two-thirds innings, giving up one run on six hits, with one strikeout and one walk.

Kawai bettered Iwasaki over six innings, giving up no runs on four hits, walking two and striking out one. A quintet of relievers followed Kawai, as Koji Aoyama, Shinichiro Koyama, Hiroshi Katayama, Tsuyoshi Kawagishi, and Hiroki Yamamura all got into the game.

Aoyama was tagged with a run in the Hawks Lucky Seven when he started the inning by giving up a ground-rule double to Hasegawa. A Morimoto sacrifice and a Tanoue walk set up Kawasaki, who laced an RBI single to right to end the scoreless deadlock.

It wouldn't last as Iwasaki suffered a similar fate in the bottom of the inning. Nori Nakamura led off with a double, but Iwasaki almost worked around it after Takeshi Yamasaki and Kenshi Kawaguchi recorded outs, but Kensuke Uchimura singled home Nakamura to tie the game up at one.

That's how it would end, as Keisuke Kattoh worked two and a third innings of scoreless ball, working around two hits and three walks. Mahara and former Hanshin Tiger Takehito Kanazawa followed it up with one-two-three innings.

By virtue of the tie, the Hawks lost a game, but also trail the Chiba Lotte Marines by percentage points for second place in the Pacific League. Both teams stand four games in back of the Seibu Lions for first place in the league.

In a clever segue, the Hawks next three games are against those same Marines. These three games are about as critical as you can get at this point of the season.
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