After a disappointing 6-2 loss to Softbank in the opener of the weekend series on Friday, Lotte needed a win to get closer to coming out of the Pa-league cellar. Pitching tonight was Karakawa Yuki, who has had a strong start to the season with an ERA of 2.57 in 3 starts. Yahoo Dome is also the home of young Karakawa’s first NPB victory, a win over Softbank last April 26. Amazingly, he’s still doesn’t turn 20 until this summer.
While not as sharp as in previous outings Karakawa was effective enough tonight, giving up 3 ER in 6 innings with 6 Ks. The bats came alive to give him plenty of support, lifting him and the Marines to a 9-4 victory. The game was rather tight through the first 7 innings, with the Marines scoring runs on HRs by Tsuyoshi and Iguchi in the 5th inning, and the Hawks getting one of their own of new acquisition (and former Lotte 2B) Ortiz.
Lotte busted this one open in the 8th with 5 runs on 5 hits and a walk. After many recent games with poor clutch hitting it’s really good to see the team string together a bunch of hits and put up a big inning. Also of note in this game was Fukuura’s 1500 career hit in the 8th inning rally – what a nice milestone for the veteran!