Nippon Series Game 2 – The Hawks Claw Back

In October, everything has been coming up Tigers. They won their last game of the regular season on October 1, watched the Carp hand second place to them by losing their final game, won their best-of-3 against those same Carp despite scoring just one run in 21 innings, and then swept the Giants in their own barn. They also took Game 1 with relative ease, scoring 6 runs off their former teammate Jason Standridge, despite being shut out by him earlier in the year.

With Atsushi Nohmi on the mound, the game got off to a rough start. A leadoff single by Yanagita was followed by a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single by Seiichi Uchikawa. Before two outs could be recorded, the Tigers were in the hole. Somehow, Nohmi kept his pitch count low despite giving up three hits in the first three innings. In the fourth, Korean slugger Dae-Ho Lee smashed a ball over the left field fence, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the Tigers bats fell silent. Through 5 2/3 innings, starting pitcher Shota Takeda was perfect. It took a Keisuke Kanoh pinch-hit single to break the perfect game. This was followed by a Tsuyoshi Nishioka RBI double to right, and the score was close and hopes ran high. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were unable to cash in as Uemoto feebly grounded out to second base. They got opportunities in each of the final three innings, but could not bring the tying run across the plate. Takashi Toritani, who had two hits in the game, was caught stealing in the seventh, Uemoto flied out to center in the eighth with runners on first and second, and the combination of Gomez, Murton and Fukudome failed to capitalize on a leadoff hit by Toritani.

The final result is a 2-1 loss for the Tigers and a tied series heading off to Fukuoka. Tomorrow is a travel day and Game 3 starts at 6:30pm on Tuesday, at YafuOku Dome. Let’s hope the Tigers, who were limited to just 5 hits in this one, can find their bats against (perhaps) Kenji Ohtonari. The Tigers are putting their hopes in young ace Shintaro Fujinami. Let’s GO TIGERS! Steal one back in Game 3!

Blogger’s Note: I personally would not have gone with Nohmi in Game 2. He did not have a great season and struggled mightily against the Giants in his last outing. He allowed 10 baserunners in 5 innings in that one, and although he only allowed six in six innings tonight, he struggled right from the start, giving up two hits and a run in his first five pitches. My lone explanation for not starting Minoru Iwata instead would be that he is a poor hitter, and starting him when the DH rule is in place, i.e. at YafuOku Dome, was the logical choice. Still, I would have liked to have seen him on the mound tonight. Not that Nohmi’s results were that poor, mind you… his game ERA was 3.00… the team simply did not generate any offence.

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