I had made plans to go to Lotte Urawa today for the ni-gun game but changed my mind this morning. Instead, I’ll be blogging the Lotte-Orix tilt as it happens. Orix took the first game of the series on Friday 5-1, and Lotte evened the series with a big 9th inning on Saturday to win 6-2. It was the first win of the season vs Orix on the road, so a win today for the first series win vs Orix would be quite nice, indeed.
Komatsu takes the hill for Orix against Lotte’s Karakawa.
First inning: After two quick outs by Tsuyoshi and Fukuura, Saburo knocks a double. Ohmatsu hits a clutch single to center to bring him home, 1-0 Lotte! Iguchi walked to make it runners on first and second but Hashimoto pops to short to end the inning. Where would the team be without Ohmatsu’s contributions over the last few months?
Orix came right back though, as Ohbiki laces a triple to left that couldn’t be played by Burnham Jr. Cabrera golfs a ball way out of the zone in to left to score Ohbiki – a 1-1 game. Karakawa gets Rhodes and Fernandez swinging to keep the score tied.
Second inning: Benny leads off with a single, and Burnham Jr (getting the start in left) bunts him to second. Heiuchi (starting at third) watches strike three go by, and Tsuyoshi swings at ball four on a 2-3 count for out three.
In the Orix second, Hamanaka leads off with a double off the wall in left and Ohmura hits a shallow pop that drops between Iguchi and Saburo for a hit. Hamanaka is running on the play and scores easily from second – 2-1 Orix.
Third inning: Fly outs by Fukuura, Saburo, and Ohmtasu make for a 1-2-3 inning.
Ohbiki leads off the Orix third with a double to the right field gap. Cabrera pops out to Fukuura and Karakawa walks Rhodes to put men on first and second with one out. Karakawa gets Fernandez and Hamanaka looking to shut down the Orix scoring chance. That’s 5 K’s in 3 innings for Karakawa.
Fourth inning: Another 1-2-3 for Lotte as Iguchi hits a deepy fly to center that’s reeled in by Sakaguchi. Hashimoto and Benny both ground out to end the inning.
With one out Orix’s Ohmura reaches on an error by Tsuyoshi. Maeda bunts him to second and Sakaguchi lines out to center to end the inning. Score stays at 2-1 Orix.
Fifth inning: 1-2-3 yet again for Lotte; this time a fly by Burnham Jr, a swinging K by Heiuchi, and a pop by Tsuyoshi.
For Orix, Ohbiki flies out to Ohmtasu in right, Cabrera grounds out to Heiuchi, and Tsuyoshi snares a liner from Rhodes to send the lineup down in order.
Sixth inning: A frustrating pattern is emerging as Komatsu gets yet another 1-2-3 inning. That’s 15 in a row retired by Komatsu after the second inning single by Benny…
Fernandez pops out to Hashimoto, and Karakawa gets Hamanaka and Ikki swinging for his 6th and 7th Ks of the day. Still 2-1.
Lucky Seven: Iguchi hits a deep ball that’s also very very high – an out at the left field fence. Hashimoto and Benny go down immediately after for the second and third outs.
Karakawa gets Ohmura looking to start the Orix seventh, and after Maeda pops out to Hashimoto Sakaguchi singles to right. Karakawa picks him off to end the inning and keep it at 2-1.
Eighth inning: Another 1-2-3 for Lotte. That’s 21 in a row by Komatsu. Ugh.
Uchi comes in for Karakawa in the 8th. That’s a 122-pitch, 8-K, 6-hit day for Karakawa, with only two earned. The way the Lotte offense is looking right now that doesn’t look like it will be good enough. Uchi does his job very well, striking out Ohbiki to lead off the frame, inducing Cabrera to ground out to Nemoto (who replaced Heiuchi in the 8th), and getting Tuffy to pop out to end the inning.
Ninth inning: Does Lotte have another 9th inning rally at the ready? Komatsu is still on the hill (unsurprisingly) throwing that <100km curve that's almost an Eephus. He gets Fukuura to ground out for his 22nd out in a row - deadly. Saburo breaks up the string with a one-out bloop single to center - similar to Ohmura's RBI single in the second. Hayasaka pinch runs for Saburo as Ohmatsu comes to the plate. Ohmatsu absolutely destroys a 0-1 Komatsu pitch! It’s deeeep and loooong gone! No doubt about that!!! Lotte DOES have another 9th inning rally – from down 1-2 and stymied by great pitching to suddenly up 3-2!
Iguchi barely misses on a well-hit liner down the left field line and ends up striking out. Hashimoto draws a two-out walk, and Benny grounds out to second. The damage is done, and Lotte goes to the bottom of the 9th with a 1-run lead and a great chance for a series win!
Sikorski’s in to close it out and while he’s had his ups-and-downs as a closer he’s been really good his last few apperances – 4 IP in his last 3 with only one hit allowed and no runs.
He induces Fernandez to ground out to second for the first out, and catches the outside corner with Hamanaka at the plate for a called strike three. Kitagawa pinch hits for Kawasaki (who replaced Ikki at second) – he hits the first pitch deep to center, but right at Saburo who gloves it. Game, set! A 3-2 come from behind Lotte win!
Lotte takes the series 2-1, and splits the road trip 3-3. That’s a good result to see especially given the road problems for Lotte this year. Lotte is 6-3 in their last 9 and could be 8 back of third at the end of today’s play.
As I mentioned earlier this post Ohmatsu has been on an absolute tear as of late. In his last 5 games he has 3 HR, 8 hits, and 12 RBI. It’s a great time for him to go on a rampage as Lotte needs every bit of help they can get to claw back into the Pa-league race. Up next is a mid-week set with Seibu – let’s hope for another home sweep!