Matt Davidson and Ryan McBroom helped propel Hiroshima to its fourth straight win, while Orix’s Jacob Nix had a debut to forget, and Yakult and Hanshin showed the world how to pitch for the third straight day at Koshien Stadium.
Carp 4, Giants 2: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Luis Okoye hit the game’s first pitch to put Yomiuri in front after losing four straight, but three one-out singles tied it in the third against Yuji Akahoshi (0-1) who lasted four innings, and Ryan McBroom’s sac fly on his 31st put the Carp in the lead for good. Matt Davidson led off the fourth with his fourth homer and Kosuke Tanaka homered to make it 4-1.
Shogo Tamura (1-0) struck out five without a walk over 6-2/3 innings for the win, and for the first time in three seasons, Ryoji Kuribayashi earned a save despite surrendering a home run, Sho Nakata’s third. His third save in three games sent Yomiuri to its fifth straight loss.
“Things are not going our way,” said Giants manager Tatsunori Hara after juggling his lineup to put Okoye in the leadoff spot for the first time in five games. “I should probably work on the batting order a little more.”
On a Central League Wednesday, with five teams battling for post-season positions, we had only one big showdown game, between Hiroshima and Hanshin, who started the day one back of the third-place Yomiuri Giants, whose manager Tatsunori Hara went all old school on us. In Nagoya, Munetaka Murakami had a difference of opinion about the strike zone with infamous umpire Kazuyuki Shirai.
Giants 2, BayStars 1: At Yokohama Stadium, Hara pulled out all the stops, and by that I mean he waved his sacrifice bunt wand.
Hara had slugging catcher Takumi Oshiro bunt two runners into scoring position in the fifth from where the go-ahead run could score on a groundout. Cleanup hitter Sho Nakata, who singled in the game’s first run, was asked to lay one down in the sixth with two on and no out. He got the job done, the next batter walked to load the bases.
Wednesday’s trio of Pro Yakyu News analysts, Hiroki Nomura, Tsutomu Iwamoto and Kenji Tomashino were doing their job to hold up the righteousness of the sacrifice bunt.
“Having Nakata bunt electrified the Giants bench. It’s special,” Tomashino said, to which Nomura and Iwamoto heartily agreed.
Including the subsequent walk, the Giants responded to being electrified by going into offensive shock making outs in 11 of their final 12 plate appearances.