WOW! Talk about your dramatic comebacks, and stunning victories!!!
In a game featuring several lead changes and ties, and 18 combined runs, Lotte comes back from down 7-4 in the 7th inning to tie, and ends it on a spectacular sayonara grand slam from Iguchi-senshu!
Lotte isn’t known as a power team, but this game was won by putting it over the fences.
The Marines took the early lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, but Naruse was unable to hold the lead in his first start of the year. Rakuten tied it with 2 in the third, took the lead with 3 more in the 6th, and extended the lead with another 2 in the 7th. Facing the prospect of losing a series at home for the first time this season and falling to 3-8, the bats came alive.
Tsuyoshi started the comeback with a solo shot in the bottom of the 7th,.4 batters later Satozaki pasted a 2-run jack over the left field fence to tie it up. I loved the ‘no doubt about it’ look of that swing with the nonchalant flip of the bat!
Itoh took the hill for the 8th and gave the Marines a chance by giving up no runs, and Sikorsky finished the 9th and the 10th for the win.
Lotte actually had a prime chance to win in the 9th with 2 men on and nobody out, but Rakuten reliever Koyama dug in and struck out the side to send it to extra innings. Perhaps this was for the best, as it made the ending even more dramatic!
In the 10th, Koyama got in trouble again with a leadoff walk to Imae, and after Hayakawa fouled out Fukuura hit a single to leave runners at the corners with one out. Nishioka was intentionally walked to set up Iguchi’s 2-1 blast into left!
Sure, Lotte has yet to win a road game, but the team is now 4-7 with two series wins at home. Two of the victories were won in sayonara fashion. Coming into town this weekend is last year’s 6th place team Softbank.
It’s definitely time to get optimistic again! Go Lotte!