It seems like only the rain could stop the Tigers from going a perfect 6-0 this week. Thursday’s rain-out meant the men in black, gold and white only played 5 games this week. They needed to take advantage of their weaker schedule, and did they ever make the most of it! Their perfect week gave them their second five-game win streak of the year, and put them back in third place and a few games over .500! This gives them the confidence they need for the upcoming week.
The week started in Okayama (at Muscat Stadium) with a bang, as the Tigers put up seven runs in the first inning to obliterate the short-lived lead that the Swallows took. The game ended 12-6, with Gomez hitting a big home run to left in a 5-run fourth inning.
Wednesday’s game featured a Swallows team that resembled the Tigers of June. They put 12 runners on base against Tigers’ starter Iwata, but came up empty-handed, and the Tigers squeaked out a 1-0 victory. Thursday’s game was rained out as the Kansai area had a full day of showers.
The team hit the road on Friday, playing their Independence Day game in Shizuoka in front of a somewhat small crowd of 19,000. All four foreigners played a great game, with the Americans in particular shining. Messenger pitched 7 solid innings of 2-run ball, while Murton hit a 2-run home run in the sixth to tie the game up. The Tigers eventually won the game 3-2, with Sekimoto hitting a sacrifice fly in the eighth (lining Mess up for the victory). Seung-hwan Oh closed the door on the Baystars in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the win.
The next night in Yokohama, the Tigers put up another three-spot, this time getting stellar pitching from Iwazaki. Gomez hit his second HR of the week while both foreign hitters went three-for-four. Result: Tigers 3, Baystars 0.
The week finished up with a wild one. The Tigers scored three runs in the early going, thanks to Murton’s two doubles. With the game getting out of hand and the Tigers up 7-1, the relievers let the lead nearly entirely evaporate, as the Baystars put up five in the bottom of the eighth. However, the Tigers came right back in the top of the ninth, bringing their slim one-run lead back up to a six-run cushion. Oh came in again and finished the game up.
The Giants had a strong week, so despite going 5-0 this week, the Tigers only gained one game on the division leaders. However, they did regain third place and pulled within two games of the second-place Carp. Here are the standings as of the end of play on July 6th:
Now that’s more like it! It was definitely an easier week, schedule-wise, so the Tigers needed every win they got! Now let’s see what they’re made of, as they face the Carp for three at home and then visit the Giants for three in Tokyo! It sure would be nice to see them dominate the teams that are ahead of them in the standings! Keep on charging, team! GO TIGERS!