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SET-UPPERS' EFFORTS

BASEBALL

Last month, putting up with the sleepiness, I enjoyed Japan's football games in Germany and Netherlands, however, in my country, I have to say that there were exciting games of baseball, which were ties of Hanshin Tigers and Chunichi Dragons that ended that Tigers win the three-game series, 4-3, 4-2, 3-9. This time I got a chance to watch Friday's game between two top-teams again, but couldn't see rest of series because of NHK-BS's not broadcasting.

Each team has wonderful set-up pitchers of both right and left before superb closers come in, right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa and left-hander Jef Williams for Hanshin, and righty Shinya Okamoto and lefty Akifumi Takahashi for Chunichi.

Three consecutive hittings in 4th led Tigers to a win of series-opener over Dragons. Akinobu Okada's bullpen helped starter Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi to earn no-run to Chunichi's line-up. Fujikawa entered most of any other pitchers in the league to drop ERA to 0.99, and Williams followed to drop ERA to 2.55, and closer Tomoyuki Kubota saved the game to drop ERA to 2.06. Despite two-run deficit, manager Hiromitsu Ochiai sent in Okamoto for starter Masa Yamamoto to set up the game(ERA 3.07), but Takahashi, who replace Masafumi Hirai, the 3rd pitcher this night, allowed Takashi Toritani to add a non-earned run(ERA 2.52).

Central League doesn't have play-off games. Both managers will send the relievers to hold games to get the pennant. It seems to be a key for championship how managers are well excuse from them after All-Star games.

match result:

Hanshin 3-0 Chunichi (8 Jul)
W:Shimoyanagi(7-1)
S:Kubota(14)
L:Yamamoto(5-4)

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