Just what the doctor ordered!
I was in the outfield bleachers tonight with Patrick and his family for Lotte’s inspiring 7-1 victory over Pa-league leading Rakuten. All facets of the team were in sync tonight as gutsy pitching, clutch hitting, and solid defense brought and end to the 6-game losing streak.
Karakawa pitched a great game — he worked himself into trouble in several innings but Bobby V game him plenty of rope in the form of 129 pitches to work through the trouble. Work through he did — only one run given up in 7 innings on 9 hits, with 6 strikeouts to only one walk. Don’t look now, but 20-year old Karakawa has started his first full season on the first team with two strong outings (he took the hard-luck loss to Nippon Ham last week), giving up only 3 runs in 13+ innings with 11 strikeouts, only 2 walks, and a 2.03 ERA.
Really, the three strongest pitchers for the Marines so far this year all threw tonight. Sikorski pitched a solid 8th inning, recording 2 strikeouts, and Ogino pitched a perfect 9th (also with 2 strikeouts) to continue his run-less season.
The offense was stellar as well, with 7 runs scored on 11 hits. Iguchi had a triple and a 2-RBI double with a run scored, while Hayakawa also hit a triple and scored, Benny came through with an RBI single in the second, and Hayasaka – who to this point in the season has been mostly used as a pinch runner – drilled a deep double to the top of the fence in the left field power alley to score Takehara. I believe that was the first career RBI for Hayasaka, too!
One game does not a recovery make, of course, but at least the losing streak is over and Lotte has a good home victory to build on.