Lotte came into today’s rubber match with Softbank looking to take their second road series of the year. Tasked with the challenge of stopping Softbank was Naruse, who was making only his second start of the year. He’s had middling results in both of his previous starts, with a shaky first and a strong second.
Lotte started and ended the scoring today, with a solo HR in the second by Saburo and another solo shot by Lambin (his first in Japan) in the 7th. Unfortunately, there were only two more hits for Lotte, and Naruse gave up 5 runs (3 earned) in just 3.1 innings work. 2 of the runs came on an error in left by Takehara.
The outcome could have been different had the offense gotten off to a better start. Benny led off the game with a single in the top of the 1st but couldn’t come around to score. After Saburo’s HR in the second Lotte loaded the bases on 3 BBs, but couldn’t plate another runner.
So it’s another series disappointment, and after Rakuten won today the Marines are now 6 games out of first in the Pa-league. Other than the Eagles and the Fighters all teams are doing quite poorly, so the 10-15 record to this point is actually only 2 games out of third.