July 11th, 2008
Chunichi Dragons 2
Streak: Won 1. Last 5:WWLLW
This promised to be a good battle of the hurlers as Tokyo’s Ishikawa, coming off a disappointing last outing, faced off against Chunichi’s Kawakami.
The first scoring came in the top of the 3rd inning as Chunichi swapped out their entire outfield and pitcher Ishikawa got a hit and was followed onto base by Fukuchi who benefitted from a dead ball. All-Star shortstop Shinya Miyamoto was then, of course, asked not to try to fill the bases, but to sacrifice bunt, which he did, moving Ishikawa to third with Aoki up next.
Aoki hit a pop fly and was followed by Hatakeyama, who continued his trend of making all Tokyo fans glad he finally got a shot at the big time by driving in Ishikawa and Fukuchi before Tanaka was left stranded after his single by right fielder Kawashima who grounded out to second. 2-0 Tokyo.
The scoreline would remain that way until the bottom of the 7th when Ishikawa would give up the two runs that would lead to his eventual no-decision. Morino, who started in center, but later saw time in left and at third base, led the inning off with a double to left and was promptly escorted home by way of a Hidenori drive to right. Bye-bye Ishikawa.
Matsuoka came in, as usual, and escaped from the inning without being tagged with an earned run despite a wild pitch (Hidenori scored), a walk and a single to center field (care of Nakamura). Tied 2-2.
Top eigth: Hatakeyama ropes one to right. Tanaka sac bunt. Kawashima draws a walk (why does that always seem to happen after a bunt by Tanaka?). Wilson singles to center field. Yuuichi comes in to bat for Fukukawa and grounds out to first. Iihara replaces Matsuoka after 2/3 of an inning of work and brings around the go-ahead, and one insurance, run (Hatakeyama and Kawashima scored). 4-2 Tokyo.
Like clockwork, Oshimoto entered the game and proceeded to strike out all three batters he faced in the bottom of the eigth.
And that was it for the Dragons. Lim earned his 21st save of the season after facing the business end of the Chunichi lineup (Morino, Woods and Wada retired in order).
Ishikawa ended up being credited with two earned runs off of five hits in 6 and 1/3 innings of work. His ERA now stands at 2.48.
Oshimoto’s flourish of strikeouts was rewarded with Iihara’s run support and the win. He’s now 3-2-1 in 39 appearances this year and boasts an ERA of 1.76.
Lim’s 21st save came in his 33rd game of the season. He is currently tied for third in the Central (with Yomiuri’s Kroon) for saves.
Chunichi’s Kawakami took the loss while giving up four runs, all of them earned, and saw his ERA rise slightly to 2.41. His record is now 7-4 (15 appearances), and he threw 125 pitches during his eight innings on the mound.