John’s already made a post on this game but I wanted to give a detailed breakdown and my thoughts on this Marines victory!
Lotte came into the rubber game of this series looking for another strong pitching performance against the powerful bats of Seibu. Up to the task for Lotte was 20-year old starter Ohmine, who was winless in his other two starts on the season. Those starts could not be more opposite: the first was a 7 run shelling by 1st place Nippon Ham; the 2nd a 7-inning masterwork in an extra-inning win against Softbank. Fortunately for the Marines Ohmine pitched much more like the the second than the first start, giving up only 2 runs on 7 hits in 7 innings of work. He also recorded his first win of the year as the Marines brought 11 runs across the plate in an 11-5 immolation of the Lions.
Instant gratification was the order of the day for the Lotte faithful as leadoff batter Nemoto poked the second pitch of the game past a diving Bocachica in center for a triple. Burnham Jr brought him home with a sacrifice to right for the early 1-0 lead. Tsuyoshi followed with a double off the right field wall, and Saburo brought him home with another double.
The same crew was at it again in the 3rd as an RBI double by Burnham Jr and a sac fly by Saburo scored 2 more to make it 4-0. The Marines scored a run in each in the 5th and 6th to make it 6-0 before Seibu could squeak out their first run in the bottom of the 6th. They would add another in the 7th to tighten it up at 6-2, but that’s as close as they would get.
In the 8th, the Lotte bats put this one away, with lots of help from the Lions. Reliever Shoitsu loaded the bases on 3 walks and Saburo came up clutch again, scoring Takehara on a single. Hashimoto, who quite honestly has been disappointing at the plate so far this year, came through in a big way with a timely hit to right to score 2 and make it 9-2. Benny stepped to the plate next and smashed a ball to center past the glove of Bocachica scoring two. Benny hustled his ass off on the play to make it all the way to third.
Relievers Nakagaoh and Kawasaki took over for Ohmine, and while not particularly effective (Nakagaoh gave up 2 in the bottom of the 8th, and Kawasaki gave up a HR to Señor Nakamura in the bottom of the 9th – which actually lowered his ERA to 13+) the lead was far to big for the Lions to overcome.
So the road trip ends with a 3-2 record, and the Marines return to Chiba Marine this week sitting only a 1/2 game back of 4th in the Pa-league. We’d all prefer to have our guys at a 1/2 game up in first, of course, but through solid play over the last week the Marines have lifted themselves – and the spirits of the fans – to a much better place.