TIGERS DEFEAT MARINES SURROUND AUTUMN ATMOSPHERE
It was a rematch of last year's Nippon Series. Chiba Lotte Marines have piled nine consecutive victories after defeated Hanshin Tigers at Koshien on May 11, but Marines manager Bobby Valentine looked like not allowing more loss to Tigers, who went to Chiba with sweep against Orix Buffaloes at home last weekend. In the series opener, the American made a decision when, under the situation of 1-1, he sent off closer Masahide Kobayashi at the 9th. It was like autumn atmosphere.
Although Kobayashi put it zero to succeed starter Shingo Ono, who made a solid pitching with allowing 4 singles including Makoto Imaoka's homer at 7th, Marines couldn't capture Hanshin starter Kei Igawa at the bottom of 9th, who allowed 7 hits and a run by Koichi Hori's RBI single at 3rd until replaced reliever Kyuji Fujikawa at 10th. At the top of the 11th, the designated hitter Shinjiro Hiyama's home run off Yasuhiko Yabuta for Kobayashi and closer Tomoyuki Kubota's save gave the road team a victory under windy and a little rainy condition. Hanshin closed the gap with the Central League leader Yomiuri Giants to 0.5 games as Tigers had the fourth consecutive win.
I could watch only this game of the series but not the rest of it on NHK BS. This weekend, Tigers will go to the Seibu Dome while Marines is going to Tokyo Dome. I expect more games like this night in the Interleague and each league.
Hanshin 2-1 Lotte (23 May)