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Hawks return favor with nail-biting win

Discussion in the The SoftBank Source forum
Hawks return favor with nail-biting win
After yesterday's interleague loss--the first of the tournament for the Hawks--it was a duel of the aces between Nohmi for the Tigers and Sugiuchi for the Hawks. What followed was an epic pitcher's duel that ended with the Hawks winning in the top of the 9th.

Nohmi was only at 90 pitches to start the 9th. Clearly Mayumi-kantoku had enough confidence in him to not pinch-hit him in the 7th with the bases loaded and two out, but this ended up being a costly error in judgment.

Honda led off the top of the 9th with a double, and after Uchikawa grounded out, Kokubo singled him home for the first run of the game, taking second on the throw. Pinch-running specialist Fukuda came in to take Kokubo's place, and it was a prudent move, as he was driven home by Tamura, who hit an RBI double.

Other than that, it was a classic pitcher's duel. Sugiuchi (W, 3-2, 1.45) went eight shutout innings, giving up two hits and walking four (one intentional) while striking out 11. Mahara gave up a double to Shinjiro Hiyama and walked former teammate Johjima, but got Lin to ground out to end the game for his fourth save.

Nohmi (L, 2-4, 3.13) was also very good, notching his second complete game of the year, but he gave up two runs on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. It was indeed a hard-luck loss, as once again the mystifyingly hapless Hanshin offense--one of the best in the league last year--couldn't put anything together.

Hanshin's best chance was in the bottom of the 7th, as Sugiuchi got into his worst jam of the game. With two out, Kanemoto singled and Johjima drew the first of his two walks. Sugiuchi then uncorked a wild pitch with pinch-hitter Kentaro Sekimoto at the plate. However, with first base open, Akiyama-kantoku instructed Sugiuchi to intentionally walk Sekimoto to get to Nohmi, who was surprisingly not pinch-hit for. The Tigers pitcher struck out to end the threat.

SoftBank's interleague campaign now shifts to Mazda Stadium against the Hiroshima Carp, where the Hawks will try to continue their winning ways.

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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