game report

Never Yield An Inch!

From Sponichi
From Sponichi

Here’s what you need to know about the pitching of Messrs. Abe, Fujioka, Rosa, Matsunaga, and Masuda: 9 IP, 6 hits, 3 walks, 4 Ks, one teeny tiny little run. In the first inning.

Yes, ladies and gents, Our Marines gave another stunning ensemble pitching performance – for the second night in a row throwing a wet, lead-filled blanket on the Chunichi bats and cruising to a victory. This one featured no come-from-behind heroics, just runs when they were needed and pitching all night long. When the last out was recorded, it was a nice 3-1 Lotte victory and the 4th win in a row. Outstanding.

Quick Start
Lotte jumped out in front really quickly. Yamai started for the Dragons for the first time in about a year, and with one out in the first Kakunaka said “Welcome Back!” to a 3-1 pitch and dropped it into the right field stands. Instant 1-0 Lotte lead.

Kazunari Abe started for Our Marines – his third of the year and his first since the unfortunate start against Hanshin a week ago. He got rid of Oshima and Ibata quickly to start the first but a deep double by Morino (starting at second??) and an RBI single by Luna tied the game at 1-1. Luna got thrown out between first and second after Morino scored – not that you would know since J Sports declined to show a single replay or decent camera angle of the play.

An aside – what was up with Chunichi fans? Morino’s double elicited only polite applause, not an excited roar. It seemed like Chunichi fans were really quiet all night, and I don’t just mean in comparison to Lotte fans. Odd.

Getting the Lead Back
Lotte had a golden chance again in the second with a T OGINO leadoff walk and rapid steal of second. Emura got Ogino to third with a 1-out single but Abe and Nemoto couldn’t bring him in.

In the top of the 4th, Kiyota chased a super high hanging curve from Yamai and blasted it into the Lotte fans in left! Tie no more, it’s a 2-1 Lotte lead!

That’s all that was needed. Abe went only 5 innings for some reason – his final line: 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 Ks, 2 walks, 1 earned run and only 60 pitches. Maybe it wasn’t a Quality Start but it was a quality start nonetheless.

Putting It Away

From Sponichi
From Sponichi

Fujioka (??!??) took over for the second night in a row and was sterling yet again – this time a 3 up, 3 down one inning in relief. Actually the Lotte pen was almost boringly good, there wasn’t any feeling that Chunichi was going to mount a charge. Credit for that goes to Emura behind the plate – he’s showing the ability to control a game behind the plate that is far superior to what you’d expect from a 21-year-old.

Our Marines weren’t quite done for the evening. In the 7th Daichi gapped another ball to the same spot as the night before, this time standing up at second with a double. Emura battled hard, first to bunt Daichi over and then swinging away, and with a full count he sacrificed Daichi over. Hosoya Kei in as the pinch hitter, and reliever Okada bounces the first pitch to Hosoya in the dirt and to the backstop. Daichi scores easily and the Lotte lead stretched to 3-1.

Really the only iffy point in the pitching staff was Masuda as closer. Of course, he was making his **17th appearance of the month** so I think he might be a wee bit tired. Masuda gave up a leadoff single to Ibata in the 9th and a long, long fly out to Morino before walking Luna on 4 pitches. Wada flied out to deep left and Tanishige to right to end it though.

With the win Our Marines move to 11 games above .500 and a tie for the best record in NPB. Wow! Only 0.5 games out of the interleague top spot, too. The first 12 interleague games are in the books – up next is a 4 game set at QVC against Gomiuri and Tokyo Yakult.

10 thoughts on “Never Yield An Inch!”

  1. Such a great game!!! I was scared in the 9th with Masuda, but he held the fort yet again! All I can say is wow!
    Totally missed Fujioka tonight though. The person behind us had a big spill so our area spent the whole bottom of the 6th cleaning up. orz Ended up slipping on some of the toilet paper we left down and jumped on the guy on my right. lol

    Very seriously considering a trip to Chiba in the near future. I have some buddies in the right field I’d need to catch up with, but if I make it I’d like to meet up with you and Craig if you’re around. 🙂 If it’s not too annoying that I don’t actually know much about baseball yet. ^^;;

    1. Honestly Masuda doesn’t scare me except for his health. What is up with him pitching in basically every game??? His arm is going to be 2x the size of his other by the end of the year.

      You got lucky to go to two great games! So nice. Glad you had fun there.

      And you should definitely come to Chiba! We can always just get drunk and scream at Seibu players like I always do. Sometimes we’re even playing Seibu when I do!

      BTW I forgot to mention earlier – Craig is going to Koshien so I don’t have an extra ticket. Maybe next year?

      1. I figured. No worries, it took a lot to talk myself into the cost of shinkansen, but I really should save the money anyway. More excuse to get back to Makuhari! And I’m not good at much, but I AM good at screaming! The games I’m looking at are versus Softbank, but they’re sure to hear us all the way in Saitama! hehe

        1. You talking about the series 28-30 June? I can’t make the game on the 28th but I can make the Sat/Sun games for sure.

          Only problem with being in the gaiya vs the Hawks is it eliminates one of my favorite pastimes. I LOVE sitting on the third base side for Hawks games since there’s a lot of Hawks fans and screaming my guts out to be louder than the entire sections of Hawks fans. I am, if I may say so, a wee bit louder than the average naiyaseki fan (or 100).

          I have really pleasant memories of yelling a lot at Hawks fans/Hawks players at this game:

          And now I feel so very old because that game was 4 years ago now. Time flies.

        2. Actually, I’m thinking of the weekend of Marine(s) Day in July. Saturday with my host family, Monday and Tuesday at QVC, Sunday… I have no idea. Probably just eating too much of my favorite ramen. lol

          Nice work putting that Hawks fan in his place! Loud is the best!! My shout just goes way too high-pitch.
          And your pics are even nicer than usual! Ohmatsu and Tsuyoshi…. I think I’m gonna cry. ;__;

  2. I agree with you about Masuda. But what a ride, Chiba Marines are on fire ! lets enjoy it. I missed the game last night as I was sure it would rain out, it was coming down hard here in Narita. Instead I watched a chick flick, and yes the Titanic sunk again…but dang, this is great ! I sent my girlfriend back to Ireland with 5 Chiba jerseys as souvenirs, thanks to all y’all Chiba fans !

    1. Ah, but the game was in Nagoya Dome! We have serious problems if games in Nagoya Dome rain out, though we did manage a Seibu Dome rain out last year.

      Softbank unis are definitely goofy – at least those hats. They look like they are going to drive a choo choo train with those high top hats.

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