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Yomiuri Giants 5 - Nippon Ham Fighters 2
Dicky Gonzalez was the talk of the sport's papers with 5 wins in 5 starts to start the 2009 season. The $1M question was whether Gonzalez would be able to keep the streak alive and he didn't disappoint (at least not the Giants' fans): 6.2 IP, 7 H, 7 K, 0 B, 2 R, 2 ER. The starter for the Fighters, Shugo Fujii, had a tough night and lasted only 3 innings: 3 IP, 8 H, 4 K, BB, 4 R, 4 ER.
The Fighters had two scoring opportunities while Gonzalez was on the mound for the Giants. The first scoring opportuning came in the top of the third when Atsunori Inaba (2-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second and 2 out and hit a single to right, pushing the lead-runner across the plate for the Fighters' first run of the game. The second scoring opportunity came an inning later when when both Yoshio Itoi (2-for-4) and Eiichi Koyano (2-for-4) singled to start the inning. But the next three batters couldn't get the ball out of the infield (fly out to second, ground out to third, strike out) and the Fighters' ended up missing out on their best chance to get some runs.
The Fighters would have more one chance in the top of the 8th against Daisuke Ochi, but once again they failed to get the big hit with runners on first and second with 2 out.
Outside of a 4-run first that saw 9 players come to the plate, the Giants' offense also struggled to get the big hit: runners on first and second in the third with 1 out; bases loaded in the bottom 5th with 2 out. It wasn't until the bottom of the 7th that Shinnosuke Abe (2-for-2, BB, 2B, 2 RBI) came through with a big RBI double that the Giants were able to push another run across the plate.
Yoshiyuki Kamei (3-for-3, BB, 2B, R) and Takayuki Terauchi (3-for-5, R) lead the offensive charge for the Giants with 3 hits a peice.
Interestingly enough, most of the scoring opportunities for both teams came with the bottom of the batting order up to bat: Gonzalez made the final outs in both of the failed Giants' innings and it was pinch-hitter Jimenez, in for the pitcher, that struck out to end the inning during one of the two scoring opportunities the Fighters had. ... The Giants left 11 men on base while the Fighters left 8. ... The 6 wins in 6 starts ties Eiji Sawamura's 1936 record and Leo Kiely's 1953 record.
Time: 3h 5m
Seibu Lions @ Yokohama Bay Stars
Hanshin Tigers 4 - Orix Buffaloes 0
Craig Brazell's (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) first official game with the parent club really couldn't have gone any better. Not only did the team win, but Brazell also ended up driving the first two runs of the game across the plate with his first home run of the season, a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 6th with Tomoaki Kanemoto (1-for-3, BB, R) on second base.
Brazell's second hit came in the 8th inning after Tsuyoshi Kikuchihara retired the first two batters of the inning. That opened the door for a pinch-hit single by Mitsunobu Takahashi (1-for-1) and a 2-run triple by Keisuke Kano (2-for-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI).
The Tigers also got some timely pitching from Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (7 IP, 7 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 0 R), who ended up winning his 5th game of the season. Chihiro Kaneko (6 IP, 4 H, 6 K, BB, HBP, 2 R, 2 ER), who tossed 7 shut-out innings against the Bay Stars in his previous start, took the loss for the Buffaloes and dropped his record to 5-4 on the season.
Kaneko had held the Tigers' line-up to just 2 singles through the first 5 innings of the game.
Time: 2h 55m