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Japan beats Taiwan, qualifies for Olympics

by on Dec.03, 2007 @ 11:19 am, under Other

Team Japan beat Taiwan behind a gutsy performance by ace Yu Darvish. He pitched 7 full innings and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits (1 HR), 3 walks, 1 hbp, and 6 strikeouts. When he left the game, he had already thrown over 95 pitches (I can't remember the exact number and I can't find any info on any of the Japanese media sites).

The game started off with a single by Nishioka, followed by a sac bunt by Kawasaki. Aoki followed with a grounder to first, moving Nishioka over to third. The following batter, Aoki, initially appeared to have been struck by a 2-2 ball, but the umpire ruled that the ball instead bounced out of the mitt and struck him on the elbow. But no matter, Aoki quickly followed with a single second and third, scoring the first run of the game. Abe followed with another single, setting up a first and second situation for Murata with two out. But Chien-Fu Yang bore down and retired Murata on a fly to left.

There would be no scoring for either team until the bottom of the sixth when Yu Darvish surrendered a 2-run shot to Chin-Feng Chen (DH). After the 2-run homer, things looked a little bleak for Japan -- outside of that first inning, the Japanese offense sputtered (3-for-16, 1 walk, 1 K, and 2 GIDPs). But things would quickly change in the top of the 7th.

Murata started off the inning by getting hit in the back. Inaba followed with a single to right, at which point Miyamoto replaced Murata at second. Satozaki laid down a bunt to move the runners over, but Taiwan pitcher Chien-Fu Yang threw to third, a costly mistake that lead to a bases load, no outs situation. Out went Yang and in came Po-Hsuan Keng. Unfortunately, Keng couldn't hold things down.

Number 9 hitter Oomura laid down an unexpected squeeze bunt, scoring Miyamoto from first to tie the score. Okamura followed with a single to right, pushing Inaba over home plate for the go-ahead run. Out when Po-Hsuan Ken and in came Fu-De Ni. He too couldn't cool off Japan.

Kawasaki hit a single through the right side, scoring Satozaki from third and moving Okamura to second. Number 3 Aoki (who up until this game was fairly quiet with the bat), walked to load the bases. Out went Fu-De Ni and in came Chin-hui Tsao. Much like the two relievers that came in before him, Tsao had a rough time.

Clean-up batter Arai singled to right, scoring Okamura. With the bases still loaded, Abe dropped a single to left scoring Kawasaki and Aoki. Tsao then managed to get Miyamoto to fly out to left for the second out of the inning. He then hit Inaba and struck out Satozaki to finally end the inning.

Japan managed to send 12 batters to the plate and scored 6 runs to put the game further out of reach.

Taiwan had a chance to score in their half of the 7th, but couldn't manage to get that timely hit -- they left runners on first and second (both were walked).

The 8th inning ended quickly for both Japan and Taiwan. But the 9th inning saw Japan score three more runs (including a 2-run shot by Arai) to make the score 10-2.

Fujikawa and Uehara both pitched an inning of relief a piece and faced the minimum 3 hitters.