Yomiuri Giants walk off with a 5-4 win to split the series. The Marines were looking for their third straight come-from-behind win. For the second straight night, they rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to take the lead in the Tokyo Dome. But tonight the Giants would get the last laugh on a 2RBI walk-off double by Chono. It was a night of ups and downs for Chiba, here’s the recap:
Veteran Seth Greisinger was called upon to make his first start of the year, after beginning the year recovering from an injured shoulder. Despite a 2-run 2nd inning, and a solo line drive HR given up to his former catcher Abe, Greisinger left the game in line for a win. His final pitching line: 5IP, 3ER, 6H, 2K, 2BB.
On a night in which he faced his former team, the most memorable moment for Greisinger actually occurred on the base paths. With the bases loaded and 2 outs in the top of the 2nd, Seth came up to the plate. Greisinger hit what seemed to be a base hit to right for the first run(s) of the game. However, the hard hit ball was quickly scooped by the shallowly positioned RF Chono (more to come from Chono later). Chono’s throw beat Greisinger to first by an eyelash, and the inning was over.
Lotte had 13 hits on the night, but failed to send runners home until the 6th inning. Playing without a DH in a Central League ballpark, the Marines were unfortunate to have Greisinger come up again and strike out with the bases loaded and 2-outs in the 4th. Iguchi’s double play with 0-out and two runners on in the fifth, followed by an inning ending basket catch by Giants SS Sakamoto, added to the list of blown chances.
Lotte did all of their damage at the plate in the top of the 6th. Pinch-hitter Fukuura (for Greisinger) hit an RBI single up the middle, to cut the Giants deficit to 3-1. Next, last night’s hero Nemoto poked an opposite field 3-run homerun over the left field wall. It was another timely at bat for Nemoto, this one resulting in his first homerun of the year. The Marines led 4-3, and it was beginning to look like we might finish with 2 wins in the only two games of the season scheduled at Tokyo Dome.
Nakagoh came in relief for Lotte and pitched a perfect 6th & 7th. Matsunaga overcame two 2-out Giants hits in the 8th to protect our 4-3 lead going into the 9th.
In came Masuda to close in the 9th. Surely Masuda would not blow his second save in 3 chances. After a lead-off single by Ishii, PH Tateoka sent a potential double play ball up the middle. Second baseman Nemoto, poised for back-to-back nights as the hero, attempted to backhand the ball. Instead, he flicked the ball into shallow left field (it looked like it could have been called an error to me, but was originally ruled an infield single). The play resulted in runners on 1st and 3rd and 0 out, leadoff man Chono coming to the plate. Chono smacked a ball in to the right-center field gap. The throw home was too late to catch the trailing runner Tateoka, and the Giants walked off with a 5-4 win. Disgusting.
Overall, it must be said that the Marines fought hard the last two nights. Tonight, the breaks just didn’t go our way. Watching the Giants celebrate a sayonara win was a tough pill to swallow for sure.