Tonight the 3-game set with Softbank shifted from the Yahoo Dome to just down the road in Kitakyushu. Looking to build on last night’s tense 2-1 win, Lotte put on quite a show, pummeling the Hawks on their own turf 7-0. It was a multi-pronged attack, helped in great part by the new rule change allowing an addition to the offense:
Well, figuratively, at least. The Marines aren’t really known as a power team – before tonight they stood 3rd in the Pa-league with 30 HRs on the season – but tonight pretty much everyone got in the act as 5 different players went yard. Iguchi (no surprise) got in the first licks with a solo shot in the 2nd. Tsuyoshi and Takehara were next in the 3rd with back-to-back blasts. Benny jacked a solo HR in the 6th, and Fukuura finished off the HR barrage in the 7th with another solo shot. Imae and Benny accounted for the 7th run in the 8th inning, as Benny doubled with two out in the 8th, and Imae brought home pinch runner Hayasaka with a double of his own.
All the power is useless without quality pitching – and tonight starter Ohmine was more than up to the challenge. He delivered the 3rd strong pitching performance by a Lotte starter in a row with a complete game, 6-K, 6-hit shutout. Softbank only had one real scoring chance – when they got two on in the fourth – and Ohmine made sure the outcome was never really in doubt. With the great performance tonight he runs his record to 2-1 and drops his ERA by almost 2 runs. Not too shabby.
What a nice run the team is on as of late! With the victory the Marines move into sole possession of 4th place, only 0.5 games back of third place Seibu. It’s also 5 wins out of the last 6 games, and three very – very – impressive pitching performances in a row. All trends I like to see very – very – much!