June 13th, 2011
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 5
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WWLLW
(Kleenex Stadium Miyagi)
|W: Hirai (2-0-1, 4.05); L: Rasner (0-1-6, 5.06); S: Barnette (1-1-14, 2.63)|
The Birds traveled up to Sendai to face the fearsome Ma-kun and packed in more hits than a Burt Bacharach box set: 13 off Tanaka, and five more off Rasner. All of which was topped off in dramatic fashion (like a big reprise of “I Say A Little Prayer For You”, perhaps).
|1||Milledge (CF)||1||Hijirisawa (CF)|
|2||Morioka (2B)||2||Ginji (2B)|
|3||Kawabata (SS)||3||Nakamura (LF)|
|4||Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Fernandez (1B)|
|5||Balentien (RF)||5||Garcia (DH)|
|6||Miyamoto (3B)||6||Iwamura (3B)|
|7||Fujimoto (DH)||7||Makida (RF)|
|8||Aikawa (C)||8||Masuda (SS)|
|9||Matsui (LF)||9||Ishimine (C)|
|RP||Shoda, Yamamoto, Hirai, Barnette||RP||Rasner, Hauser, Koyama|
At first, it looked like this would be another letdown for Tokyo. One out into the bottom of the second, Masubuchi walked Makida, then gave up a hit to Masuda. After Ishimine grounded out, Hijirisawa hit a two-RBI triple. Ginji then singled to bring Hijirisawa in. 3-0 Tohoku.
The Swallows answered in the fourth, when Hatake singled, Balentien was walked (Tanaka was determined to catch the low outside corner of the plate), and Miyamoto singled Hatake in. 3-1 Tohoku.
In the fifth, hits by Nakamura (replaced by former PL batting champion Teppei as a pinch-runner) and Fernandez, followed by an Iwamura ground-rule double and a Makida sac-fly brought in two more. 5-1 Tohoku.
The top of the seventh saw a Matsui solo homer, his second of the season. 5-2 Tohoku.
In the top of the eighth, Miyamoto hit and back-up second-baseman Uchimura fumbled an Aikawa grounder, which allowed Miyamoto to score from second. 5-3 Tohoku.
The stage was set for big ball.
In the ninth, Kawabata singled, Hatake doubled and was replaced by Noguchi, then Coco amassed a full count and two fouls before he cranked a three-run homer into the left field stands. Barnette then sat three batters down with eight pitches. 6-5 Tokyo, Final.
Toasts and cheers all around from four of the Tsubamegun five, who happened to be dining together and remind you, dear readers, that a rack of ribs is large. Order another beer to make sure you don’t get dehydrated or choke trying to get through it.