After yesterday’s loss to the evil Kyojin I predicted a big Lotte win for today. Whaddya know, I got one right! Today, Lotte pounded out 9 runs on 11 hits – with 4 homers, too – as they won the last game of Interleague 2009 in the Tokyo Dome, 9-4.
Around this time I would normally insert the first of several pics I took during the game, as surely I wouldn’t miss a big road game just down the road. I had tickets for the Lotte gaiya and I, um, … lost them. How lame. So, I got to enjoy the action from the comfort of my own living room. It feels a bit odd not inserting piles of pics, but I’ll soldier on.
Lotte took the lead right off the bat today. Tsuyoshi returned to the starting lineup for the first time in weeks, and celebrated his return by giving a great souvenir to the Giants fans in right in the form of a solo shot on the third pitch of the game. 1-0 Lotte.
Yomiuri got the run right back in the bottom of the 1st thanks to a sac fly by Ramirez off Lotte starter Shimizu.
Shimizu pitched quite well today, for that was the only run he would give up in 7 innings of work. He also got on the board offensively – more on that in a minute.
Yomiuri starter Utsumi was also effective – for a while. Lotte untied the score in the 6th inning with a big blast by (La La La La) Takehara into the very appreciative Lotte fans. I should have been there to catch it! 2-1 Lotte.
In the 7th, Lotte added to their lead. Saburo singled to lead off, but was caught stealing on a botched hit-and-run. Imae singled to center, and Shimizu helped his own cause with a single into right. Tsuyoshi walked to load them up for Takehara. He did what needed to be done, scoring two with a bloop double to center to make it 4-1 Lotte.
It wasn’t enough runs to sate the Lotte bats, though. In the 8th more runs would come – first a lead off HR by Iguchi. Fukuura pinch hit for Hori and drew a walk, bringing Imae to the plate. Like a hungry man at a buffet he cleared off everything in sight with a 2 run jack of his own to left – 7-1 Lotte.
Yomuiri tried to make a game of it in the bottom of the 8th, though everyone (including the players, I’m sure) knew there was no hope. Itoh came in to relieve Shimizu and gave up a 2 run HR to Kamei, and then a solo HR to Abe to allow Yomiuri to get to 7-4.
In the 9th, Lotte put the game out of reach. Tsuyoshi smacked a double off the right field wall, and after Ohmatsu was cowardly plunked Iguchi got revenge with a 2-run double right below the Lotte ouendan in left. It was now 9-4, and with Sikorski coming in to finish the 9th, the game was over.
Lotte ended up the interleague play on a very strong note. Let’s hope the momentum carries over to next weekend’s 3 game set with Nippon Ham in Chiba!