Here’s what you need to know about this game: AWFUL.
I suppose I should elaborate. Despite cranking 3 home runs Our Marines managed to lose a 3-run 9th inning lead in stunning fashion thanks to a no-out walk off grand slam by Hatakeyama. The total? It’s a 6-5 loss to Yakult at Jingu. No good, man.
Karakawa got the start tonight and for the most part pitched quite well. He gave up only 4 hits over 7 innings of work, though one of those four hits was a completely destroyed 2-run homer by Balentien to extremely deep left center. That home run came while holding a 3-0 lead, though.
How did Lotte get that 3 run lead? A rare display of power. In the top of the second Ishimine cranked a pitch off Tokyo starter Ishikawa, and in the top of the third Iguchi and Imae went back-to-back to deep left. 3 solo homers and a nice early lead.
Lotte had a bit of a problem again with solving the bases loaded situation. In the first and again in seventh Our Marines filled the sacs – in the first we couldn’t get anyone home, and while in the second we did score two, they were on a walk and an infield hit, so the bases were left loaded at the end of the inning. It would be a welcome change to see a nice timely hit and a big inning when we get these chances that seemingly come every game.
Karakawa got pulled to start the 8th and in came Carlos Rosa. I have been a bit (ahem!) critical of Rosa in the past but he was fantastic tonight. Three Swallows up, three down by strikeout.
Masuda got a welcome rest with a three run lead – Matsunaga came in instead to try to wrap things up. What happened though was a bad repeat of Wednesday’s sayonara loss. Matsunaga gave up a quick walk to Milledge to start the inning. He next coaxed a hard grounder from Balentien to Daichi, who got a glove on it but botched it in much the same manner as Nemoto at Tokyo Dome. It should have been 2 outs, but instead Matsunaga faced Miyamoto with 2 on and no out… and gave up a single. Uh oh uh oh uh oh…..
Two balls and no strikes to Hatakeyama and Matsunaga had to make a pitch. Which he did, a fastball that Hatakeyama put right into the Lotte fans in left. I didn’t realize it was gone, for a moment I thought it was off the fence, but no, gone. A sudden reversal and another heartbreaking loss.
I was… Not in a good place after the game. A couple of fans came over to cheer me up and I managed to peel myself off my outfield seat and leave the stadium. It’s an awful feeling, again. We’ve had three losses this past 8 days, all have been on 9th inning failures.
Craig said to me on Twitter that “At least it’s better than C&%!o beating us on Wednesday” which is certainly true. I can’t think of a team I would rather lose to than Tokyo. But I would much greatly prefer we not blow up in the 9th again, OK?
Naruse gets a chance to right the ship tomorrow evening at Jingu. Surely Lotte can win behind the power of our ace, right?