While I was out killing my shoulder carrying a shrine around the island
(Nojima) Saturday night and all day Sunday, the BayStars were hosting
Chunichi up in Hokkaido for a two game series. After Yokohama took the
first game of the head to head matchup between the top two teams,
Chunichi looked like they were going to take the second game easily,
leading 9-3 going into the bottom of the 9th. But that's not what
Chunichi's main setup man, Ochiai, got the final out of the 8th inning.
That was the only out he managed as, with no outs, 2 runs in (9-5) and
bases loaded, Hoshino-kantoku went to his closer, Sun, to try to finish
the game off.
The move didn't work. Sun said that he had his 50 pitches warm up, but
with a 6 run lead, he didn't think he was coming in. Ishii brought
Yokohama to within 3 runs as he took Sun's 2-2 offering to left for a
timely single. Haru followed with a base hit to center to cut the lead
by another run. Suzuki, who been hitting well with runner in scoring
position (when he isn't being pitched around) drew a bases loaded walk
to make it a 1 run ball game. After Rose struck out for the first out
of the inning, Komada came up for his second time in the 9th.
Manrui-otoko grounded the ball to second base, for what should have been
a game ending double play, but Suzuki must have taken Kuji out as the
double play was broken up (Nikkan Sports doesn't say how - and Komada's
too slow to have beat it out). With the broken up double play, Ishii
crossed the plate for the tying run. What a come back!
The only real threat after that came in the top of the 12th. With pinch
runner Torigoe on second, Oto hit a big fly over Haru's head in center.
But Haru stayed with it and made a spectacular jumping catch to save the
game. Way to go Haru! (It's Haru's all out hustle on offense and
especially on defense that makes him one of my favorite BayStars.)
After 12 innings, the sky started getting dark up at Obihiro Stadium and
the umpires called the game due to darkness. In the Central League,
games are generally played to 15 innings before being called, but
Obihiro Stadium doesn't have any lights. This is the first time in 6
years that a Central League game has been called early. A Lions' game
was called due to darkness up in Hokkaido last season.
In one segment of Nikkan Sports, they asked the question, "Was this a
win for the front?" Yokohama's front office set a policy this year to
stay the night on away games where the next day is a travel day rather
than allow the players to return to their homes for the day off. So far
this year, the BayStars have come back from large deficits 3 times on
such occasions. Does not having to worry about train/plane schedules
allow the players to relax and play ball? That's hard to say. But the
BayStars weren't packing their bags in the bottom of the 9th yesterday.
Michael, Margarita, and Jobana Westbay
Japan Pro Yakyu This Week
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