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Tigers win a game

Discussion in the Tiger Tails forum
Tigers win a game
Something to celebrate at last - Tigers finally beat Carp after 8 attempts. Also of interest was that Toritani was benched for the start of the game. His consecutive innings streak came to an end and it seemed to benefit him - he drove in a run. Messenger pitched to Haraguchi who once again proved his worth with 3 RBIs including another home run.

It didn't start so well with Matsuyama doubling in the bottom of the first and then being driven in by Arai. The latter is really enjoying his second wind at Carp. Tigers responded immediately with Haraguchi hitting a solo home run to lead off the second 1-1. Then Arai's little brother Ryota also hit a solo home run and Tigers had a lead 2-1. Messenger managed to hold the lead in the bottom and Tigers added another run in the third with Gomez driving home Fukudome 3-1 Tigers. This time Messenger couldn't hold and Suzuki singled home two runners after Carp had loaded the bases to tie the score. Tigers were back in the lead again courtesy of an Egoshi sacrifice fly in the fourth 4-3 but Carp added two more runs against an out of sorts Messenger to seize the lead again 5-4. It really looked like they would complete another sweep of Tigers.

Fortunately for Tigers Ichioka - Carp's relief - was having an off day. He loaded the bases in the sixth and was replaced by Hagens who wasn't much improvement. Haraguchi singled to bring in two more runs 6-5 Tigers and then Hagens loaded the bases again. A single to second worked out for Toritani and Tigers managed another run 7-5 and were now firmly in the driving seat. Messenger though would not pick up the win. This would go to Shimamoto who had entered the game in the fifth as relief and with one pitch retired the final batter. Tigers relief managed to keep the Carp from scoring and Tigers then added another run when Carp again loaded the bases and plunked Toritani. Not the best result with the score now 8-5. Carp had faded for a change and Tigers completed a very welcome victory.

They still need to build on this and to settle on the permanent cleanup of Fukudome - Gomez - Haraguchi (Haraguchi has the best slugging, batting average and OBP of the Tigers). How Kanemoto can ever contemplate leaving Haraguchi out of the lineup given his figures is something beyond comprehension. Tigers need runs if they are to compete and they need to use their hot players. The pennant is beyond their reach but a playoff place might still be possible. However, it needs some sound decision making which hasn't been in evidence so far.

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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