Before Sunday's game, Yu Darvish spent some time giving Yuki Saito tips on how to throw the curve -- Darvish even got into the batter's box against Saito to check on his movement.
The Saito Effect? Attendance for the Nippon Ham Series topped out at 18,873 Sunday night. Attendance figures from the previous two games: 5,633 on Friday and 12,212 on Saturday. And according to Sanspo, only about 7,000 advance tickets were sold; and about 300 people were in line for tickets before the gates to the ballpark opened on Sunday.
Saito topped out at 140km/h. All 10 pitches he threw in the 3rd inning were all off-speed pitches. Of the 24 pitches he threw in the 4th, only 2 were fastballs.
Nikkan Sports has a fairly detailed account of Saito's outing against the Rakuten Eagles.
1st inning - 0 runs, 0 hits
Kazuo Matsui grounds out to first.
Ryo Hijirisawa grounds out to short.
Teppei grounds out t oshort.
2nd inning - 2 runs, 2 hits
Takeshi Yamasaki hits a solo homer to left.
Yosuke Takasu grounds out to the pitcher.
Akinori Iwamura grounds out to first.
Randy Ruiz hits a solo homer to left.
Daisuke Kusano flies out to right.
3rd inning - 0 runs, 0 hits
Suguru Ino grounds out to short on the first pitch.
Matsui strikes out swinging on a fork.
Hijirisawa grounds out to the pitcher on a fork.
4th inning - 0 runs, 2 hits
Teppei grounds out to first on a fork.
Yamsaki hits a single between third and short.
Takasu hits an infield single.
Iwamura strikes out swinging on three pitches.
Wild pitch on fork (5th pitch) allows runners to advance to second and third.
Ruiz grounds out to third on a fork.
5th inning - 0 runs, 1 hit
Kusano flies out to center.
Ino hits a single to right.
Matsui walks (Saito falls behind 3-0 and manages to take the count to 3-2 before losing him).
Hijirisawa flies out to center, runners tag up to second and third.
Teppei grounds out to the pitcher.
6th inning - 1 run, 3 hits
Yamasaki skies a pitch that drops in front of Koyano, Saito, and Hoffpauir.
Takasu strikes out swinging with Yamasaki running, Yamasaki gets thrown out at second.
Iwamura hits a double to left-center.
Ruiz drives the ball over the center fielders head, Iwamura comes around to score, Ruiz heads to second and slides but is thrown out.