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Welcome Back, Ohtonari

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The title defense begins! Welcome to 2012, Hawks fans!

Welcome Back, Ohtonari

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After a string of bad luck and some fairly bad starts possibly stemming from the frustration of practically zero run support, Kenji Ohtonari silenced the doubters for a day, putting together a scoreless six-pus innings start, recording eight strikeouts and three walks against the Orix Buffaloes en route to a 6-1 victory.

One thing that was different today was the run support, and the SoftBank starter got a lot of it. In his previous 12 starts, he recorded five quality starts, and was 1-2. In eight of them, he gave up three runs or less and was 1-4 in those eight starts.

Three of the six runs that Ohtonari's (W, 2-7, 4.14) offense scored for him were via the long ball in the top of the 5th. Hidenori Tanoue (4) and Jose Ortiz (21) hit solo and two-run shots, respectively. Chipping in was Hiroki Kokubo who hit an RBI double, scoring Kawasaki after he singled and stole second. Another run was scored in the sixth thanks to a passed ball by catcher Fumihiro Suzuki.

It summed up a reversal of fortune for Shogo Yamamoto, who pitched well in his last start against the Hawks. Today proved to be the rule rather than the exception, as he was knocked around for five runs (four earned) on eight hits, with four strikeouts and three walks in six innings (L, 7-6, 5.29).

Orix's only offense came in the eighth when Takahiro Okada (20) clubbed a solo shot off Keisuke Kattoh. The Buffaloes certainly did not make much of their chances, as they left 10 runners stranded over the course of the game.

The Hawks have a tough task on their hands tomorrow as they take on the Buffaloes again, this time with Satoshi Komatsu (4-5, 3.18) on the mound. The visitors will counter with Tsuyoshi Wada (11-4, 2.96).
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