July 17th, 2008
Hanshin Tigers 0
Streak: Won 1. Last 5: DWWLW
Tokyo clinched the series versus Hanshin with a crazy ninth-inning win at Koshien stadium.
Tokyo starter, Ishikawa (8-6), and Hanshin starter, Vogelsong (2-1), pitched well through eight and seven innings, respectively, with no runs being scored by either team.
Vogelsong threw 93 pitches in his seven innings, gave up only five hits, struck out seven and walked none. His ERA improved to 3.32 on the season. Ishikawa allowed only four hits while striking out three and walking four (one was intentional). His ERA now stands at 2.32. It was a true pitching duel.
Then the wheels fell off.
For the home team, that is.
Hanshin brought Kubota in for his 46th appearance (yeah, that’s a lot of appearances, and the season isn’t even half over) in the 8th inning. He walked Fukukawa, but that’s about all the damage that was done.
In the bottom of the eigth, Ishikawa walked Kanemoto intentionally to load the bases with two outs, but then got out of the jam on a grounder to Tanaka at second base.
Perhaps anticipating extra innings, Hanshin’s manager, Okada, sent Kubota back in for the ninth. Lead-off man, Fukuchi, promptly draws a walk. Miyamoto bunts him over to second. Then Aoki draws a walk, and both he and Fukuchi move over one base on a double steal. Hatakeyama also draws a walk. One out, bases loaded.
Then, on a pitch that Tanaka swung at and missed, Fukuchi stole home.
Aoki moved over to third, and Takeuchi (pinch running for Hatakeyama) made it safely to second. 1-0 Swallows.
With the count 0-2 (2-0 in Japan), Tanaka smacked the pitch right back at Kubota. Aoki decided to try his luck when Tanaka made contact and charged hard for an insurance run. Kubota responded by smoking his throw into the screen behind home plate. Both Aoki and Takeuchi score. 3-0 Swallows.
Lim came in to close things down in the bottom of the ninth for his 22nd save of the year.
Kubota (5-2) took the loss for Hanshin.