Lotte came into the second series with Yakult on a very high note. Having won three in a row, including the 23-2 destruction of Hiroshima and a sweep of Hanshin, expectations were high that the strong play would continue.
The first game was a complete debacle for the Marines as the pitching completely imploded, giving up 10 runs on 4 2-run Yakult HRs in a 10-1 loss. The runs were spread pretty evenly as starter Naruse yielded three (taking the loss), Nakagoh gave up two on a HR to D’Antona, Furuya gave up another, and Ogino was taken deep twice for 4 runs.
The offense was similarly ineffective, grounding into 4 double plays to eliminate several potential rallies. It’s best not to dwell on this loss, I think.
I managed to make it to Thursday’s game at Jingu and had a quite enjoyable time in the Lotte outfield bleachers with Deanna of the Marinerds blog. There was a lot of offense in this game but not so many timely hits to capitalize on that offense as the game went to 11 innings, won by Guiel’s sayonara blast to deep right center off Lotte reliever Sikorski. It was a very entertaining 6-5 loss to Yakult.
Tokyo got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning. With two on D’Antona singled off of Lotte starter Ohmine to make it 1-0. Lotte struck back in the thrid with three straight doubles off of Tokyo starter Tateyama, the third off the bat of Hashimoto to score Ohmatsu and Iguchi to give Lotte the lead 2-1.
Tokyo scored again in the bottom of the inning to tie it up at 2-2. There it stayed until the top of the fifth. In that inning, Ohmatsu hit a solo shot to right to give Lotte a 3-2 lead, and after a pair of Tateyama walks Benny hit a 2-run double to give Lotte a 3-run lead.
Not content with being in front, Ohmine gave it all back in the bottom of the fifth. Guiel hit a single to score Aoki and make it 5-3, and after singles by Miyamoto and Aikawa Nakagoh relieved Ohmine. After a strikeout of Kawashima pinch hitter Morioka singled to tie the game. Miyamoto scored the second run on a wild throw from right by Ohmatsu, who was given an error. It was a wide throw but the error to my mind shouldn’t have been charged to Ohmatsu, as nobody was backing up Hashimoto at the plate when the throw got by. If someone backs up that play (it should have been Nakagoh’s responsibility) the run wouldn’t have scored, and the inning would have ended 5-4 Lotte.
But the game was tied, and the rest of the game was left to the bullpens. Neither Lotte nor Tokyo mounted a real threat until the 10th inning. With two outs in the top of the frame Lotte loaded the bases on a walk to Lambin, a double by pinch hitter Takehara, and a HBP to pinch hitter Heiuchi. The HBP looked simply awful, nailing Heiuchi in the lower leg. He had to be carried off by stretcher. Unfortunately, Fukuura struck out to leave the game tied.
Tokyo un-tied the game in a big way in the bottom of the 11th, as Sikorski came in to pitch. Not wanting to walk leadoff batter Guiel on a 2-3 pitch, Sikorski gave Guiel a pitch to hit, and he promptly put it very, very deep into the right field stands. 6-5 Yakult, and a sayonara loss for the Marines.
It’s a bit disappointing that Lotte would only score 5 on a day when they would record 8 doubles and a HR (on 12 hits total), though Tokyo’s offense was just as inefficient, with their 6 runs coming on 15 hits. But they got the hit that counted and took the season series 3-1.
It was a bit odd cheering at this game without any drums. Our part of the stands was constantly out of sync with the rest of the stands (usually faster) so I had to keep looking to my right to see what was going on with the rest of the fans. It’s amazing how helpful the drums are; you don’t realize that until you don’t have them.