Same deal as last night: Pro Yakyu Live! and Yahoo Gameday are my sources. Satoru Kanemura's starting for the Fighters... keep in mind this is a guy who got suspended for ten days after telling off Trey Hillman for taking him out of a game after 4.2 innings when he was in a jam, denying him of his 10th win for 5 years straight. Then he was roughed up for something like five runs in four innings when pitching against a KBO instructional team last week. WHAT THE HELL, KANEMURA.
Slightly new lineups today: same for the Fighters, even with Takahashi starting, but Tatsunami moves up to 5th for the Dragons.
IT'S OGASAWARA'S BIRTHDAY!!!! HAPPY OGASAWARA DAY, EVERYONE!!!!
Araki 2B Hichori LF
Ibata SS Kensuke 2B
Fukudome RF Ogasawara 1B
Woods 1B Seguignol DH
Tatsunami DH Inaba RF
Dragonbutt 3B Shinjo CF
Ochoa CF Inada 3B
Tanishige C Takahashi? C
Inoue LF Kaneko! SS
Nakata (7-4, 3.91) Kanemura (9-6, 4.48)
I am essentially transcribing Michael Westbay's broadcast of the chat with some extra details thrown in from Yahoo and SportsNavi and my Fighters-fandom and whatnot, but hey, I have no idea if anyone else in the world is providing an almost-realtime English gameday transcript of the Japan Series, so.
First inning, top: Araki starts off the game by getting into a full count and grounding out to shortstop. Ibata singles to left ("going under Inada's glove and into left field"). Fukudome swings at the first pitch he sees, sending it high into shallow left and Kaneko makes the catch. During Woods's at-bat, Ibata steals second, a strike getting away from Shinji Takahashi. Kanemura gets up to another full count on Woods, and walks him. Tatsunami hits a liner towards left but Kaneko leaps up to make the catch! Ibata is left on second, Woods on first. Score is 0-0 and Kanemura's thrown 20 pitches this inning.
First inning, bottom: Hichori Morimoto draws a walk to lead off the inning. Kensuke Tanaka bunts him to second (this time Tanishige looks at second but throws to first). Apparently this 6th sac bunt ties a record for sac bunts in a Japan Series by one player. Ogasawara walks after 9 pitches, whoosh. Here's Seguignol... who hits a long fly ball to centerfield, and Hichori tags up and runs to third as the throw comes into second. Inaba gets up to a 3-1 count (every batter except Kensuke got up to a 3-ball count) and then eventually strikes out, leaving Hichori on first and Ogasawara on third. 27 pitches for Nakata through the first inning, still 0-0.
Second inning, top: Morino grounds the ball up the middle, past a lunging Kanemura and past the middle infielders into centerfield for a single. Alex grounds to short, where he gets treated to a Kaneko-Tanaka-Ogasawara double play! Two outs. Here's Tanishige... who singles to right. I've been challenged to come up with a poem about the Fighters' double-play combo. Inoue flies out to shallow center, Kaneko making the catch. Tanishige is stranded on first, score is 0-0, Kanemura's thrown 33 pitches through two.
(Hmm... I'm thinking it'll have to be something like "Mack to Tack to Guts")
Second inning, bottom: Shinjo leads off the inning by singling to center for the first Fighters hit of the evening! Inada hits a sac bunt, nearly beating out Tanishige's throw at first. Shinji Takahashi is up and... he lines the ball right to Ibata at shortstop, and Shinjo dives back to the bag at second. Kaneko ends the inning by grounding out to second. Shinjo is stranded on second, the score is still 0-0, and Nakata's thrown 34 pitches through two.
Third inning, top: Araki leads off the inning by flying out to center. Ibata gets behind on a 0-2 count before flying out to Inaba in right. (Westbay: "Kanemura's impressive! THREE STRAIGHT STRIKES TO IBATA!") Fukudome hits a bouncing liner into centerfield for a single. Kanemura doesn't even throw a damn strike to Woods as he walks on four straight pitches, Fukudome moving to second. After throwing something like 6 straight balls, Kanemura finally throws a strike and Tatsunami flies out to center to end the threat. Fukudome is stranded on second, Woods on first, Kanemura has thrown 53 pitches.
Third inning, bottom: Hichori Morimoto lines a ball into the gap for A TRIPLE, SLIDING HEADFIRST INTO THIRD!!!!! YEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!! Kensuke Tanaka finally doesn't have to freaking bunt (I am still too amused by seeing 中田賢 pitching to 田中賢) and instead hits an RBI double to the left-center gap!!!!!!! 1-0 Fighters!!!!!! And... Ogasawara gets hit by a pitch in the leg GRRRRRR and then what the hell Seguignol ALSO gets hit by a pitch! WOW! That loads the bases and Seguignol was apparently NOT too happy about that one, as Seguignol glares at Tanishige and the umpires go lecture Nakata about it. Inaba comes up to bat with the bases loaded and no outs, gets up to a 2-2 count and then strikes out for the second time this evening (and is infact the only Fighter to strike out this evening so far). Shinjo and his dazzling smile are at the plate and they hit a smoking line drive to short which Ibata DIVES for and catches down by the ground, since the infield was playing in. wowie... gone from bases loaded no outs to bases loaded two outs, here's Naoto Inada... who STRIKES OUT LOOKING. geez.
Well, Tanaka is stranded on third, Ogasawara on second, Seguignol on first, but the score is now 1-0 Fighters as Nakata gets a miracle out of that jam, having thrown 56 pitches through three innings.
Fourth inning, top: Morino leads off the inning by grounding into Kanemura's stomach, him fortunately getting his glove in the way and making the throw to first. Alex gets up to a full count and then grounds out to short. Tanishige gets up to a full count and strikes out.. whoa! Kanemura struck someone out!!! YAY!!! No baserunners this inning and Kanemura's thrown 70 pitches through four. Still 1-0.
Fourth inning, bottom: Takahashi leads off by grounding a 2-1 pitch to short, nearly beating out the throw but not quite. Kaneko gets up to a full count before hitting a hard liner to third... unfortunately straight to Morino. Hichori Morimoto hits a long fly ball to center which Alex Ochoa catches on the warning track, and look, a 1-2-3 inning. Still 1-0 and Nakata is up to 71 pitches.
Fifth inning, top: Inoue hits the ball way to the right-field fence, Inaba playing the ball and throwing it into second but Inoue's in with a stand-up double. Araki grounds out to second after that, Inoue advancing to third after Kensuke throws the ball to first. Ibata grounds to third, Inada fielding the ball, stepping on the bag (not a forceout though) and then throwing Ibata out at first. And... and Kanemura strikes out Fukudome swinging on a forkball, ending the inning!! YYEAAHH!! (Hillman came out to the mound before Fukudome's at-bat and I was worried that there'd be a repeat of the incident from a few weeks ago, but he left him in there!) Inoue is stranded at third, the score is still 1-0 and Kanemura is up to 83 pitches through five.
Fifth inning, bottom: Alright, lefty Yuuya Ishii is up on the mound for Chunichi now with Kensuke Tanaka at the plate. (Nakata's line: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER/R, 3 K, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 71 pitches.) Tanaka grounds out to first base where Tyrone Woods makes the play unassisted. And the birthday boy Ogasawara HITS A DOUBLE TO LEFT OVER A JUMPING IBATA!!! Seguignol gets up to a full count and then walks. Inaba gets up to a 2-2 count and then hits the ball out to left, out to the gap, neither Inoue nor Fukudome can get to it and it becomes a TWO-RBI DOUBLE!!!! Ogasawara scores! Seguignol scores! Ochiai comes out to the mound for a pitching change. Whooooosh.
(Ishii's line: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 K, and 2 R/ER)
Yoshihiro Suzuki comes in to pitch and Shinjo takes the first pitch he sees and hits it to left for a single! Jose Macias comes in to pinch-hit for Naoto Inada, taking away the Inada-Ibata-Inaba fun. With the infield playing in, Macias grounds to second... Araki fields the ball and throws it home, catching Inaba in a rundown, eventually tagging him out (in what sounds like a 4-2-5-2 sort of play). Macias gets to second in the meantime and Shinjo gets to third. Iiyama comes in as a pinch-runner for Macias. Takahashi strikes out swinging to end the inning but the score is now 3-0 Fighters!!!! Shinjo is stranded on third and Iiyama at second, Suzuki at 9 pitches at the end of the inning.
Sixth inning, top: After the long fifth-inning break for YMCA and whatnot, former Twins hurler Brad Thomas replaces Kanemura on the mound and Iiyama remains in the game at third base. Satoshi Nakajima comes in as catcher for the Fighters.
(Kanemura's line: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 0 ER. Both of his walks were Woods.)
Tyrone Woods is at bat, hitting the ball into the left-center gap for a double, almost getting himself thrown out at second because he's so damn slow as Hichori fields the ball and fires it in. Tatsunami hits a long fly to right-center field and Inaba makes the catch at the wall, firing the ball back to the infield as the slow slow Woods doesn't try to tag up and advance. Thomas gets behind 3-0 before making it a full count on Morino, and then walks him. With runners at first and second, Alex Ochoa comes to bat and Hillman and Brown come out to talk to Thomas... oh, it's a pitching change. Ok.
(Thomas's line: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 15 pitches, I'll add if anything happens)
OH MAN, okay, so ex-Fighter Yoshinori Ueda comes in to pinch-hit for Alex Ochoa, and ex-Fighter closer Yoshinori Tateyama comes in to pitch to him. (for the record, Tateyama's first name is spelled 義紀 and Ueda is 佳範) Ueda gets ahead 3-1 in the count before hitting a long fly ball to center and Shinjo tracks down the ball and fires it in, still holding the slow Tyrone Woods at second. Motonobu Tanishige... gets... hit by a pitch in the side, ouch. That loads the bases... Inoue gets to a 1-2 count and hits a line drive that hits the right-field wall just under the foul pole, just CENTIMETERS FOUL (about 2 ball widths according to Westbay) -- good thing they have 6 umpires in these games! and then KARABURISANSHIN!!! Inoue strikes out on a sinker for the third out wasting the bases-loaded opportunity! Whew!!! Seriously, if Inoue's hit had been fair that's a game-tying triple right there. Oh man.
Okay, still 3-0. Woods stranded on third, Morino stranded at second, and Tanishige stranded at first, as Tateyama ends the inning having thrown 13 pitches.
Sixth inning, bottom: Ueda remains in the game playing centerfield as Fukudome switches to right. Makoto Kaneko leads off the inning by striking out. Hichori Morimoto singles to center! And that's it for pitcher Suzuki as Ochiai heads out to the mound.
Suzuki's line: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 K, 16 pitches.
Lefty Yuuichi Hisamoto comes in to pitch. Kensuke Tanaka bunts... except... it's a popup to third and Morino runs in and makes the catch at his feet, pulling an Imae. Unfortunately, with the count at 0-2 Ogasawara takes a pitch and Hichori Morimoto is caught stealing second, Tanishige making the throw to Ibata who makes the tagout at second. Ugh. I can't tell if Hichori was running to steal or just running on the play. Oh well. No runners stranded, still 3-0, 5 pitches that inning for Hisamoto.
Seventh inning, top: Tateyama's still on the mound as Araki walks to lead off the inning. And then Ibata singles to left and well, that's it for Tateyama, here comes the lefty relief ace Hideki Okajima to face the lefty batting ace Kosuke Fukudome, with no outs and runners at first and second.
Tateyama's line: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 21 pitches, I'll update if anyone scores.
Fukudome's up to bat... and... he watches the first two strikes go by and then unsuccessfully checks a swing to strike out swinging on three pitches! YEAH!! GO OKAJIMA! Just like last night! Okay... Woods grounds the ball back to the mound, Okajima thinking about a double play but just throws to first for the sure out, Araki and Ibata advancing. Tatsunami ends up walking after several pitches just miss the corner, so here comes Morino with another bases-loaded two-out situation. Morino grounds to the right side, Ogasawara getting the ball and throwing to Okajima covering first. Whew.
Araki was stranded at third, Ibata at second, Tatsunami at third. Score is amazingly still 3-0 Fighters, and Hideki Okajima threw 14 pitches that inning, doing a GREAT job keeping the Dragons from capitalizing on the situation he came in with (just think about that -- runners on first and second, no outs, Fukudome-Woods-Tatsunami coming up).
Seventh inning, bottom: Ogasawara flies out to Ueda in center, and then Seguignol grounds out to third (three pitches for those two outs, wow). Inaba pops out foul, Morino making the catch somewhere in Siberia. Score is still 3-0, as Hisamoto threw a scant 6 pitches that inning.
Eighth inning, top: Whoosh, Hidenori leads off the inning pinch-hitting for Ueda, and gruonds out to second. Tanishige grounds to the left side, Iiyama and Kaneko crossing paths but Kaneko making the play and throwing to first in time. Tanishige strikes out on a high fastball and man was that a quick inning. Still 3-0 Fighters and Okajima's thrown 27 pitches this outing.
Eighth inning, bottom: Hidenori stays in at centerfield and Kazuki Yoshimi comes in to pitch for Chunichi. Shinjo gets up to a full count before grounding out to the mound, and Iiyama also gets to a full count before grounding out to Ibata at shortstop. Nakajima gets hit in the arm by a pitch, ouch! Then Kaneko comes up and hits the ball to left, just out of Ibata's reach! And it's a pitching change. Whee. Oh, no it's not. Okay, rookie Atsushi Fujii came in to play left field, replacing Inoue, apparently... and with Hichori at bat, the trainers run out to second base as it appears that Nakajima's pulled a hamstring in addition to being in pain from getting hit by that pitch. Ugh, poor guy. Toshimasa Konta comes in to pinch-run. Hichori gets ahead 3-1 in the count before swinging at a low and outside pitch, coming to another full count, and walking! Bases loaded, two outs! Kensuke Tanaka comes up and for once isn't being told to bunt! Except... he hits a long fly ball to left, Fujii making the catch. Konta stranded at third, Kaneko at second, Hichori at first, still 3-0 and Yoshimi threw 24 pitches that inning.
Ninth inning, top: Closer Micheal Nakamura takes the mound for the Fighters, Konta staying in the game in left field, Hichori moving to center, and Shinya Tsuruoka in as the catcher. Araki leads off and pops the ball up along the firstbase line, Ogasawara making the catch. Ibata tries to check a third swing on an outside pitch and fails! Karaburi sanshin! And now here comes Kosuke Fukudome with two outs, ato hitori! And he grounds up to first, birthday boy Ogasawara getting the ball and running it to the bag himself and the FIGHTERS WIN THE GAME 3-0!!!
12 pitches for Micheal, one strikeout.
That's three games for the Fighters, one game for the Dragons. But don't count this series over, I still think anything could happen. Tomorrow's supposed to be the Darvish-Kawakami rematch, too, in theory.
Hmmm... I am TOTALLY zonked. Forgive me, but I don't think the game summary's gonna be up until after I take another nap.
WOW. Well, THAT is a big deal -- Kanemura was made the game hero, over Inaba or Ogasawara or Okajima. That's a big show of trust between Hillman and Kanemura and I hope this means everything really is cool between them. Also, I will now stop picking on Kanemura until next year. I promise. :)
Good night, y'all.