October 17th, 2009
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 1
Tohoku Rakuten Eagles 4
Best of 3 Series: Fukoka 0 – 2 Tohoku
The Eagles rode a solid performance from starting pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, to sweep the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and earn a trip to Hokkaido to face the Pacific League champions.
Tanaka gave up one unearned run off of seven hits while going the distance on 123 pitches. He also mixed in nine strikeouts and didn’t allow a single walk.
The lone Fukuoka run came in the when an Ortiz error at third allowed Honda to score. Honda, Kokubo, and Hasegawa accounted for six of the team’s seven hits (two hits each).
But the Tohoku bats again got the job done. For the second time in as many games, veteran DH Yamasaki belted one over the wall in left. Tonight, however, there happened to be two runners on base at the time, and that would end up being the difference in the game. Fukuoka’s starter, Houlton, was credited with all four of Tohoku’s runs and got the hook after the fifth inning.
The Tohoku Rakuten now have a couple of days off before they take on the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the league championship series. Hokkaido, even without the services of Darvish, should prove to be a significantly more potent adversary than the Hawks were.