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|Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture Daiei Hawks
starter Nagisa Arakaki turned in eight strong innings of three run ball
on seven hits and 154 pitches, but he was outdone by Seibu Lions starter
Kazuyuki Hoashi, who stifled the birds of prey on a run and seven hits
over eight for a 3-2 victory. It also eroded the Hawks lead in the Pacific
League standings to 1.5 games.
The Lions had a man on first nad third with one out in the second
and dissipated it on two strikeouts. However, they then went up in the
third, as leftfielder Kazuhiro Wada was hit in the chest by a 90mph fastball
and had to be taken out of the game. Shogo Akada was sent in to pinch run
for him. First baseman Alex Cabrera jackhammered a 2-2 slider on the outer
half of the plate well into the centerfield seats and
Daiei DH Julio Zuleta air mailed one into the rightcenter field stands with two gone in the fifth to make it 2-1 Lions. Centerfielder Hiroshi Shibahara singled to center and catcher Masanori Taguchi singled to right. Shortstop Munenori Kawasaki smoked one, but right at third baseman Jose Fernandez for the last out.
In the seventh, Seibu bought some inurance when second baseman Yoshihito Ishii singled to left and was forced out at second on a ground ball to short by centerfielder Hiroyuki Shibata. Reserve rightfielder Tomoaki Sato singled to right. One out later, Cabrera walked to fill the bags. Arakaki then nailed Nakamura to force Shibata in to make it 3-1.
The Hawks had one last chance to surmount the Lions lead in the ninth
against closer Kiyoshi Toyoda, as first baseman Nobuhiko Matsunaka doubled
down the leftfield line. He somehow got to third (there is no record of
a passed ball, wild pitch or stolen base in the game record) and scored
on a sac fly to right from leftfielder Pedro Valdez. Zuleta doubled into
the leftfield corner to put the tying run in scoring position. Shibahara
smacked one hard, but at Cabrera and it was game setto. It was Toyoda's
first save since June 7th. He's been out for a couple of months due to
injury. It was also the first time in 11 games that a Seibu starter had
gotten a victory and it was Hoashi's first
Wada is okay and he thinks he will be back in the lineup for the next game.
Lions first baseman Jose Fernandez was ejected in the third for arguing a strike three call.
Rightfielder Tatsuya Ozeki is headed for the shelf with a pulled hamstring.
|Osaka Submariner Shunsuke Watanabe wove 6.2
innings of two run ball on six hits and was succeeded by five innings of
two hit relief
to beat the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 12 innings at Osaka Dome 4-2. Lotte has won three in a row and are now one game over .500 for the first time since April.
Jeremy Powell started for Kintetsu after some time on the farm and was excellent for nine innings of two run ball on six hits. Too bad, then, that he didn't figure in the decision.
Kintetsu leftfielder Larry Barnes singled to left with one out in the second and advanced on a groundout. Shortstop Masahiro Abe singled to left to convey Barnes to the plate for a 1-0 lead.
Lotte, though, neutralized that in the fourth on a double to leftcenter from second baseman Koichi Hori and a shot off the rightfield wall for an RBI double by DH Matt Franco. Centerfielder Benny Agbayani singled to right. However, DH Seung-yeop Lee grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to impede the rally.
Watanabe and Powell were groovin' something fierce until the seventh, when Watanabe was dented again. DH Kenshi Kawaguchi walked and went to second on a sacrifice. Third baseman Osamu Hoshino singled to center to pick Kawaguchi up for a 2-1 edge. Hoshino was sacrificed along, but centerfielder Naoyuki Omura struckout.
Powell went into the ninth looking to lock it up. Leftfielder Jun Inoue clocked a one out single to center and was sacrificed to second. Franco tripled to left and it was 2-2. Agbayani was intentionally walked. That put the onus on Lee, who struckout.
Lotte had a nice opportunity to obtain a lead in the 11th against closer Kazuo Fukumori, as backup shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled to center and, one out later, Hori got aboard on an error by first baseman Hirotoshi Kitagawa. Franco flied out and Agbayani grounded out and the gridlock was ongoing.
Fukumori came out for another inning and Lee doubled into the leftcenter alley and went to third on a sac bunt. Catcher Tomoya Satozaki doubled down the rightfield line to make it 3-2. Hector Carrasco supplanted Fukumori. Rightfielder Saburo Omura singled to right. Nishioka doubled down the leftfield line to plate Satozaki and open a 4-2 advantage. A groundout and a strikeout ended the festivities and Masahide Kobyashi, who was credited with his seventh victory, retired three of the four men he saw to put it in the books.
|Sapporo Orix Blue Wave starter Hidetaka Kawagoe
returned to the win column with six innings of three run ball on nine hits
while Nippon Ham Fighters starter Carlos Mirabal was afflicted with a defense
that committed four errors that resulted in three unearned runs in a 9-5
triumph by the Kobe crew at Sapporo Dome.
Orix had a potential big inning cutoff at the knees by Fighters centerfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo in the first. Rightfielder Keiichi Hirano got aboard on an infield hits with one out and tagged up and went to second on a fly ball to left. First baseman Jose Ortiz singled to right and it was 1-0. DH Takashi Miwa singled to right. Shortstop Mitsutaka Goto singled to center. Shinjo charged the ball as Ortiz rounded third. From about 250 feet away, he fired a strike on the fly to the plate and Ortiz was rung up.
The Fighters then climbed over the Blue Wave in the second. First baseman Fernando Seguignol and DH Sherman Obando each singled to left. Catcher Shinji Takahashi singled to left to level it at one all. Leftfielder Angel Echevarria singled to right to redeem Obando and make it 2-1. One out later, shortstop Shigeyuki Furuki walked to load the bases. Shinjo popped up to first and it was still close.
In the third, Orix centerfielder Daisuke Hayakawa singled to right and stole second. One out later, second baseman Makoto Shiozaki singled to left and Hayakawa motored around to put it at 2-2.
But the Fighters pulled to the front of the line again in the home
turn when rightfielder Tomochika Tsuboi doubled to center and, one out
later, Seguignol singled to right. Obando crashed one off the rightfield
wall for a long RBI single and a 3-2 lead. A double play wiped out
Orix saw that and then some in the fourth, though. Goto singled to
center and went to second on a sac bunt. Catcher Takeshi Hidaka
The added two more in the eighth, as pinch hitter Takeshi Yamasaki
singled to center and was pinch run for by Yuichiro Mukae. Hayakawa singled
to right, Mukae going to third on the play. Hayakawa stole
second. Two outs later, Ortiz was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Mukae took Fighters closer Michiya Yokoyama into the leftfield seats in the top of the ninth to stretch it to 9-3.
Orix closer Kazuo Yamaguchi walked third baseman Michihiro Ogasawara
with one out and, one out later, Tsuboi connected for a homer to
The assist on the first inning play was Shinjo's sixth of the year. However, he was removed after the sixth due to back discomfort. He went hitless, the first time in nine games he hadn't collected a knock.
|A Hawks official angrily denied a statement made by former Yomiuri owner Tsuneo Watanabe that they were indeed going to merge with Lotte. He referred to Watanabe as "someone who has separated||himself from baseball" and that he was "troubled" by the assertion. "Our stance that there is no merger in the works still stands," he insisted.|
|A representative of Kintetsu's owner spoke with players and team
staff about the implications of the soon to be executed merger with Orix.
Rightfielder Koichi Isobe, after hearing the rep say that "there is no
going back on this," notified him that the players will strike.
Third baseman Norihiro Nakamura reported to manager Masataka Nashida that he cut his big toe open in Athens and it appears he will be out unitl around September 11th while it heals. "I'm going on strike before any of the other players," the burly slugger joked with the press.
The merger has also caused the team to rethink what it will do with
|aging Fujiidera Stadium, which is located in a part of Osaka by
the same name. It was originally built in 1928 by the Kinki Nihon Electric
Railways Company as part of a community development project, but has been
deteriorating for years. It was the Buffaloes home ballpark for many years,
though neighbors wouldn't allow
night games to be played there, so the team often had its nightaa At either Nihon Seimei Stadium or at Osaka Stadium, home to the Nankai Hawks, both of which no longer exist. For the last few years,
it had been used by its minor league club and for high school tournaments. Now they may close it and shift the minor league squad to Kobe Green Stadium, among other ideas that are being kicked around.
|After he shutout the Japanese baseball dream team at Athens for
Australia, the Fighters are now reportedly interested in adding San Diego
AAA hurler Chris Oxspring to its roster for next season.
That means sombody would have to go due to the four player limit.
|Are Carlos Mirabal's days in Hokkaido numbered? Or is Sherman Obando
or Angel Echevarria on the bubble in order to add some
much needed pitching?
|Leftfielder Yoshitomo Tani is out for the season with a bad ankle sprain suffered in the olympics while centerfielder Arihito||Muramatsu is experiencing discomfort in his hamstring and he is likely to be limited to DH duty.|