October 22nd, 2008
Chunichi Dragons 4
Yomiuri Giants 3
Chunichi came up with some clutch play to level this series at one game apiece.* Shockingly, it took Yomiuri starter, Seth Greisinger, 101 pitches to get through four and one-third innings during which he gave up three runs (two earned) off of five hits. Greisinger ended up with an ERA of 4.15 and tallied six K’s against an uncharacteristic three walks.
Greisinger got off to a rocky start.
Chunichi right fielder, Byeong-gyu Lee (sometimes romanized as Byung-kyu Lee), led-off with a solo shot to left. Three batters later, Tyrone Woods deposited one in the bleachers in right. 2-0 Chunichi.
Greisinger only gave up three more hits after that, but he walked in a run in the fifth, and that proved to be the end of his night. But it was another off-season Yomiuri acquisition that ended up taking the loss in this one. More on that later.
Of note for Chunichi was Kazuhiro Wada who went three-for-four with a walk. Masa Yamamoto (5.06), Chunichi’s starter, lasted five and one-third innings while giving up three runs off of five hits.
Ramirez and Sakamoto had 2-4 nights at the plate for the home team, and Tani hit a solo home run. But the big heart-breaker for Yomiuri fans was the bottom of the eighth when the Giants loaded the bases with only one out and the score tied 3-3. Yoshinobu Takahashi, who hadn’t started the game, came off the bench to pinch hit. And hit he did–right into a double play to end the inning.
Chunichi scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the top of the ninth off of Yomiuri’s closer-extraordinaire, Marc Kroon. With two outs and a man on first (Morino walked), Kroon gave up consecutive singles to Wada and Nakamura, the second of which brought Morino home. 4-3 Chunichi.
Hitoki Iwase came on in the ninth and sat three batters down on only nine pitches (two K’s). Reliever Masato Kobayashi got the win while Iwase notched a save.
The series is now tied at one game apiece. Game three of this series is scheduled for tomorrow night at Tokyo Dome (6:00 PM).
* Yomiuri, due to a rule enacted in the off-season, was gifted a one-game advantage because they won the Central League pennant this year. This was technically the second game of the series, but the first one in which any baseball has actually been played. Similarly, Saitama Seibu, the Pacific League champs, began its recently-concluded series versus Hokkaido with a one-game cushion.