game report Playoffs

Nippon Series Game 5 – One More to Go

Today was the last home game of the season for Our Marines, and they made the most of it. Lotte batters bashed 15 hits and hung 10 runs on the “best pitching staff in NPB” en route to a decisive 10-4 victory and a 3-2 series lead. Since Nishimura-kantoku made a surprise move in starting Hayden Penn over the expected Naruse, Lotte now gets to start their ace in Game 6 in Nagoya on Saturday with a great opportunity to close out the series and win the title!

Penn pitched quite well for his part. He gave up a run in the top of the first off of a Wada sac fly (following a walk to Oshima and a Morino double) but really settled into a nice groove for the next few innings, staying in until giving up 3 hits and another run in the 6th. If you had told me ahead of time that Penn would start Game 5 and go into the 6th only yielding 2 runs I would have told you I’d take it, for sure.

The Lotte offense was the real star of the show tonight. Right from the bottom of the first inning the Lotte bats battered Chunichi starter Kenichi Nakata – usually a quality arm – and they didn’t let up until the game was way out of hand. The first inning featured 5 straight hits – Iguchi to Kim Tae Kyun – with an RBI double by Imae, an RBI single by Fukuura, and a 4th RBI provided by Kim. Not only did Our Marines swipe the run given in the top of the first but they tacked on 3 more for good measure!

In the fourth inning Nakata was still in. Tsuoyshi was camped on third with two outs, Saburo at the plate. On a two strike count he pounces on a fork ball from Nakata and smashes it into the Chunichi fans in left! It looked gone right off the bat and arced beautifully through the night like a little white victory rainbow. Lovely! 6-1 Lotte.

Nakata was STILL in for the fifth inning, which I find inexplicable. I seriously wonder if Ochiai-kantoku was even trying to win at this point! Nakata never seemed in command, and spent his entire 5 innings in trouble. This is great news for Lotte fans and must be troubling for Dragons fans. With one out, rat-a-tat-tat, just like that – Kim, Satozaki, and Okada knock out hits to load the bases. Tsuyoshi at the plate – bam! He drives one to center; it won’t drop in but it’ll score Kim easily and move Sato and Okada over to scoring position. Up next is Mr October/November – Kiyota. He’s had a string of meaningful hits these last few series, can he add another? YES! A single to center, two runs in, the game turned into a 9-1 laugher!

Chunichi would tag on three more runs thanks to the bat of Blanco (who has only hit well when games are blowouts, like this one and game 2) and Lotte would get one more via a weird passed ball. Heiuchi on third, the ball trickles past Tanishige but neither he nor anyone else seem to care. I care! So does Heiuchi – he races in for the score.

This game was Deadly Serious for me (so serious I Wrote It In Caps) so I vowed not to film or take pictures unless we were 10+ runs ahead or the game was almost over and we were comfortably ahead. Kobayashi finished the game in very uncomfortable fashion (as he could not find the plate) but still, we were up 6. So here’s a few videos I shot in the outfield late tonight!

Champion Flag

Chiba Marine ni Tsudou Warera (with tons of towels!)

And the hero Banzai! for Penn and Imae.

It’s a bit sad to be the last game at the ol stadium this year, and next year the stadium will probably have a new name due to the sale of the naming rights. As we celebrated the great victory tonight and the impending championship sealing victory in Nagoya, the ouendan leaders asked who was going to Nagoya to raise their hands. I did, of course, and after that most of the fans around me came up and said “Cheer hard!” I must, and I will! We need to support our Men of Lotte to win the Nippon Series! Tonight was pure hot-blooded cheering and Saturday is going to be that, and more.

3 thoughts on “Nippon Series Game 5 – One More to Go”

  1. A great way to end the last game at home! Great clips!!!

    Everyone got a hit in the line up. This was the first time that everyone got a hit in the line up in Japan Series since 2005, and at 2005 it was the Marines too!! If I remember correctly, only the Marines have ever achieved this in the Japan Series.

    When I watch live, I prefer hitting games to pitching games. The stadium tends to be more lively when we get hits and score. So last night, it must have been great being right in the middle of the hardcore Marines fans in right field.

    So far for Marines, I would say Iguchi has been the series MVP. He has been hitting really well, but also Imae and Kiyota. Last nigh Kim finally was hitting the ball relly well. He had 3 hits last night. It will be important to have him back in shape when Marines go to Nagoya. Penn pitched really well. He had great command over his fast balls, good velocity. He did an outstanding job.

    Ochiai is really difficult to understand. I thought it was really strange that he kept Nakata in for that long. It was like batting practice for Marines. Either he didn’t have any mid relivers or he gave up on this game and thought that he would save his best relief pitchers for Nagoya. If that is the case it was a dumb move by Ochiai.

    I take my hat off to your dedication and the time and energy you put into this excellent blog and to the Marines. Respect. I got no one but myself to blame for not being able to go to 1 game. My lazy half hearted attempts in getting tickets doesn’t work in Japan Series. I have now learned from you and I’ll take this as a lesson for the next time we reach the Japan Series. So back to the bland Nagoya Dome. Have a nice trip to Nagoya! 1 more to go. It’ll be tough. Naruse vs Chen!

  2. Steve,

    any idea how many people are following your blog from all over the world?
    Keep up the good work!

    Btw, I wouldn’t mind a 7th game, as long as one can guarantee that WE take the championship in the end…

  3. Thanks for the nice words, guys! I honestly have no idea how many people follow this; I’m just happy people care enough about Lotte to join the ride. I’m going to do all I can to cheer Our Marines on to one more victory!

    This game 6 should be great. It doesn’t get any better than an ace battle for the title – if Naruse and the bats come through like they have for the entire playoffs nobody can say that the Marines aren’t true champions.

    I’ve just watched the highlights from Game 5 for the first time – great stuff. I was in the highlights, too 🙂

    Ed, I think the series MVP will be decided in this last game. If Kiyota, Imae, or Iguchi deliver more magic it will definitely go to one of them. The way Kim is hitting right now I wouldn’t rule him out for a huge game 6, either. He had some big hits in interleague play against the Dragons, and a huge hit in the Seibu series, so he has it in him! Even though he hadn’t had so many hits in the first 4 games I thought he was really crushing the ball.

    My money is on Imae to be the MVP again! He’s got a nose for the moment.

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