November 4th, 2008
Yomiuri Giants 6
Saitama Seibu Lions 4
Saitama starter (and former Tokyo ace), Kazuhisa Ishii (7.50 ERA), took the mound for his first appearance in the Japan Series since 2001 and hoped to continue the good form he displayed during the Climax Series.
Ishii gave up six hits (including two doubles and two home runs) during his six innings on the mound. He struck out four, walked two and was charged with one wild pitch and five runs (one of which came via a wild pitch in the first).
Things looked pretty bad for Saitama after Yomiuri’s sixth inning with the score 0-5, but the top half of Saitama’s order started to get things going. Following Bocachica’s leadoff strikeout, Kataoka and Kuriyama both singled off of Yomiuri starter, Tetsuya Utsumi. That put runners on first and third because Kataoka had stolen second prior to Kuriyama’s base hit to left.
Nakajima then plated Kataoka with a single to center for Saitama’s first run of the night. 1-5 Yomiuri.
Then Pacific league home run champ, Nakamura, who hasn’t done much of anything during the playoffs, stepped up to the plate. By this point, Utsumi (5.1 IP, 3 earned runs, 6 hits, 7 K’s, 5.06 ERA) had been replaced by Nishimura, and with two men on, Nakamura promptly deposited one of his pitches into the orange-filled bleachers in left. 4-5 Yomiuri.
But that was it for Saitama’s offense. They only managed one base runner after the four-hit explosion in the sixth, and that was by way of a walk.
Yomiuri set-up man, Daisuke Ochi, made his third appearance of this series, pitching a scoreless seventh and eigth, and still boasts an impressive 0.00 ERA in this championship series.
Suzuki and Ramirez both hit home runs off of Ishii, and Ogasawara added an insurance run in the eigth with a solo shot to right. The story of the night was Suzuki who went 3-4 with three rbi’s, ran the bases well (scored in the first) and played excellent defense. Ramirez hit into his third double play in as many games while going 2-4.
Kroon got the save (with a little help from the umpire) while working a scoreless ninth.
Game four is tomorrow night at Seibu Dome. First pitch is at 6:15 PM.