The game is underway with Yu Darvish making the start for Japan.
Bottom of the 1st - 21 pitches
Giorbis Duvergel... WALK on 3-2 pitch (7 pitches)
Michel Enriquez... STRIKEOUT on 3-2 pitch (6 pitches)
Yuliesky Gurriel... FLY OUT to right on 1-1 pitch (3 pitches)
Alexander Malleta... STRIKEOUT on 1-2 pitch (5 pitches)
Bottom of the 2nd Inning - 30 pitches
Frederich Cepeda... STRIKEOUT on 1-2 count (4 pitches)
Alexei Bell... TRIPLE on 1-0 count (2 pitches)
Alfredo Despaigne... SINGLE to center on 2-2 count (5 pitches)
Ariel Pestano... SINGLE to center on 3-2 count (6 pitches)
Eduardo Paret... HBP on 2-0 count (3 pitches)
Giorbis Duvergel... POP OUT to short on 2-2 count (7 pitches)
Michel Enriquez... FLY OUT to left on 1-1 count (3 pitches)
Bottom of the 3rd Inning - 22 pitches
Yuliesky Gurriel... DOUBLE on 0-0 pitch (1 pitch)
Yoshihisa Naruse is warming in the pen
Alexander Malleta... GROUND OUT to first on 3-2 pitch (7 pitches)
Toshiya Sugiuchi appears to be warming in the pen as well
Frederich Cepeda... SINGLE through the right side on 2-1 pitch (4 pitches)
Alexei Bell... STRIKEOUT on 1-2 pitch (4 pitches)
Alfredo Despaigne... STRIKEOUT on 3-2 pitch (6 pitches)
Darvish doesn't really look like himself out there -- he looks a little sluggish. And after only 3 innings, he's already thrown 73 pitches.
Bottom of the 4th Inning - 23 pitches
Ariel Pestano... GROUNT OUT to first on 1-2 count (4 pitches)
Eduardo Paret... DOUBLE on 1-1 count (3 pitches)
Giorbis Duvergel... WALK on 3-0 count (4 pitches)
Michel Enriquez... STRIKEOUT on 2-2 count (5 pitches)
Yuliesky Gurriel... WALK on 3-0 count (4 pitches)
Alexander Malleta... FLY OUT to left on 2-0 count (3 pitches)
So another heavy inning for Darvish. Seems like he's getting into trouble every inning. His control isn't really there right now. Darvish is now sitting on 96 pitches. Naruse and Kyuji Fujikawa are said to be warming in the pen.
Top of the 5th Inning
Japan just tied the score (again) at 2 with Takahiro Arai's sac fly to right to score Munenori Kawasaki from third (Kawasaki was also the runner that scored on Aoki's sac fly in the third inning). This after Kawasaki and Aoki were balked over to second and third with 1 out, followed by a HBP to Masahiko Morino.
Bottom of the 5th Inning - 7 pitches
Frederich Cepeda... WALK on 3-2 count (6 pitches)
Alexei Bell... DOUBLE on 0-0 count (1 pitch)
*PITCHING CHANGE - Naruse in to relieve Darvish*
So ends Darvish's night. He leaves the game with runners on second and third and no out. Darvish threw a total 103 pitches. He struck out 6, walked 4, hit a batter, and gave up 7 hits (3 doubles and a triple).
The runners on second and third just scored so Darvish's night is now officially over. Here is his final line score:
4 IP, 7 H, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 4 BB, 4 R, 4 ER, 24 BF, 103 Pitches
The announcers over here were a little surprised to see Naruse in the game. I'd have to agree with them: is Naruse really the right option? He came in and promptly gave up a 2-run single. Perhaps it's asking a bit too much for him to shut the doors on the Cuban offense since Naruse really isn't a reliever by trade and probably hasn't entered into too many pressure situations he wasn't originally responsible for.
But Naruse has been a little rocky as of late. Over his last 5 official NPB starts, he gave up 20 runs (all earned) on 36 hits (4 homers), and 8 walks over 33 innings. And that, of course, doesn't include the All-Star game where he gave up 8 runs (7 earned) on 11 hits in 2 innings of work.
Naruse managed to get out of the 5th without giving up another run. He got Pestano to ground out, walked Paret, struck out Duvergel, and Aoki made a nice catch out in center on a liner by Enriquez. It'll be interesting to see how he pitches the next inning.
BTW: for those wondering, Naruse can throw 6 pitches, but primarily relies on his fastball, slider, and change (he can also apparently throw a curve, forkball, and screwball).
Bottom of the 6th
Nice strong inning by Naruse. He got Gurriel to fly out and struck out both Malleta and Cepeda.
Bottom of the 7th
*PITCHING CHANGE - Masahiro Tanaka in to relieve Naruse*
The announcers are saying that Tanaka's arm should be fine and that he seemed really relaxed during a short chat during practice yesterday.
Alexei Bell... STRIKEOUT on 1-2 count (5 pitches) - 151 km/h fastball on last pitch
Alfredo Despaigne... SINGLE to right on 2-2 count (6 pitches)
Ariel Pestano... FOUL TIP STRIKEOUT on 1-2 count (4 pitches)
Eduardo Paret... WALK on 3-1 count (5 pitches)
Giorbis Duvergel... STRIKEOUT on 1-2 count (5 pitches)
Nice inning by Tanaka. He showed some poise out there on the mound. Not bad for a 19 year old.
Bottom of the 8th
*PITCHING CHANGE - Fujikawa in to relieve Tanaka*
Michel Enriquez... FLY OUT to center on 2-2 count (5 pitches)
Koji Uehara soft tossing in the pen, 9th inning?
Yuliesky Gurriel... DEEP FLY OUT to right on 2-1 count (4 pitches) - 151 km/h on second pitch
Alexander Malleta... LINER to second on 1-0 count (2 pitches)
GAME SET: Cuba beats Japan, 4-2.
AOKI WATCH: 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 HBP
1st AB: HBP
2nd AB: Sac fly
3rd AB: Single
4th AB: Fly out
5th AB: Fly out
Some more numbers for those of you that might be interested.
Six 3-2 counts: 1-for-4, 2 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Eight "3 balls, x strikes" (where x is 0 or more strikes) counts resulted in 4 walks.
In counts where the batter saw at least 1 pitch but no strikes, they went 1-for-2 with 2 walks, a hbp, and a triple.
Darvish threw the change-up and forkball against Cepeda in the bottom of the 5th, both were for balls.
None of the 6 curveballs Darvish threw went for strikes.
2 of the 3 doubles were on the first pitch (slider and fastball).
Senichi Hoshino after the game, "We just need to turn the page and move on." He didn't look all too pleased. Not only was he frustrated by the team's lack of offense (3 GIDPs!), but I think he wasn't happy with the strikezone either. There were more than a few times it seemed as though the home plate ump was squeezing Japanese pitchers. At best, the ump wasn't very consistent with his zone.