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Mirror image: Wada dominates Marines

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Mirror image: Wada dominates Marines

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With a four-game playoff losing streak, the Hawks were in desperate need of a win to get the team's morale up, or face a 2-1 series deficit. This hinge point of the series fell squarely on the shoulders of Tsuyoshi Wada, as he took on late-season acquisition Hayden Penn.

Wada is no stranger to pitching in big games, having pitched at Waseda University, and he also won Game 7 of the 2003 Japan Series, with a complete game effort in that game. Today may very well have been his finest playoff performance.

His only mistake was the second batter of the game, Ikuhiro Kiyota. Kiyota crushed a home run to give the Marines a quick 1-0 lead, but Wada was nothing short of brilliant after that.

He would only give up two baserunners the rest of the day, as he walked one and gave up a hit to go with a whopping 13 strikeouts in a complete-game effort that effectively one-upped Naruse's excellent start from yesterday.

What little support Wada got, he was also helped out by some suspect Lotte defense. The Marines committed three errors in the game, two in one inning that led to two unearned runs being tagged on Hayden Penn.

The first came in the second inning, as an errant throw from Toshiaki Imae allowed Matsuda to reach and put runners on first and second. With a walk to Egawa, the bases were loaded for light, but clutch-hitting catcher Katsuki Yamazaki. He did not disappoint, as he singled in two runs, but overaggressive baserunning from Egawa led to the second out of the inning.

The Hawks got their third and final run of the day thanks to two more errors from the Marines. Speedster Honda reached on a booted ball from Tadahito Iguchi. Another former Hawk, catcher Naoki Matoba, tried to catch Honda stealing, but it only ended with the Marines' third error of the inning as Honda took third thanks to it. He came around to score on Kokubo's sacrifice fly.

That would be all Wada would need, as retired the last 22 batters he faced, completing the game on the exact same amount of pitches that Naruse threw yesterday (134). Talk about your mirror images.

With the Hawks edging themselves back into the lead, they now hold a 2-1 series lead. Game 3 will be tomorrow afternoon. It will be a matchup of the foreign pitchers, as DJ Houlton (8-6, 5.70) will take on Bill Murphy (12-6, 3.75).
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