Game 2 Recap – Advantage: TIGERS!


On paper, the series leans in the Giants’ favor considerably. There’s a reason they take things to the diamond, though. The Hanshin Tigers stormed out to a 5-0 lead and never really looked back. With closer Seung-hwan Oh on the mound in the 9th, the atmosphere in Tokyo Dome was subdued, as fans were left to face the reality of a 2-1 series deficit. The lone win for the Giants is an “imaginary” one, given to them by virtue of winning the division in the regular season. As it stands right now, they are searching frantically for an explanation as well as an answer to the Tigers’ pitching. Once again the hero of the night was the starting pitcher: Minoru Iwata threw 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs, earning a long-awaited win.

Both teams’ bats were fairly silent until the top of the 3rd. With one out, Iwata took first on a walk. Nishioka advanced him on an infield single, and then Uemoto brought him home on a line drive to center. Toritani was the next batter up, and his sharp grounder found its way to right field, scoring another run. Once again the Tigers had jumped out to a solid lead, 2-0.

Photo taken from Dailysports - Taichi Tanaka.

Photo taken from Dailysports – Taichi Tanaka.

Iwata did not do himself any favors in the bottom of the inning, though. With a runner on first and one out, pitcher Sawamura was called on to advance the runner. His bunt was well placed, but what should have been 2 outs and a runner on 2nd turned into a great scoring chance for the Giants. Iwata’s throw to first was in the dirt and Uemoto was unable to corral it. Iwata then walked leadoff hitter Chono, leaving the bases loaded and only one out. Fortunately, he coaxed a ground ball double play out of Hashimoto, ending the threat. Again in the fourth, a couple of hits and some sloppy fielding led to another scoring chance for the Giants. Iwata remained calm and got the third out without a run scoring.

The Tigers bats came back to life in the 5th, though it did not come without a scare. Following a leadoff walk to Nishioka, Sawamura lost control of a 1-2 pitch that hit Uemoto squarely in the helmet. The Giants pitcher was ejected from the game, and Uemoto remained motionless for a few minutes. He managed to get up on his own and walk to the dugout. While reliever Kubo was warming up, Uemoto recovered and jogged back to first to resume the game. Toritani took the first pitch he saw and put it through the infield, scoring Nishioka. Two batters later, Murton‘s bat came to life with a 2-run single to left. The Tigers’ lead had ballooned to 5-0!

There’s something about that seventh inning for the Giants, though. Again a home run with no outs brought them to within three, as Iwata surrendered a 2-run blast to Ibata. Fortunately he settled down nicely and retired the side to put a halt to the Giants’ charge. For an inning, anyways. The bottom of the eighth put another scare into the hearts of Tigers fans, as Fukuhara came in and proceeded to give up a deep fly ball to center. Only a beautiful Yamato catch prevented it from being an extra base hit. He then plunked the next batter and was pulled. Takamiya came in to put out the fire, facing Abe for the second straight night in a similar situation. Miraculously, Abe duplicated Chono’s inning-ending double play from the previous inning – a line drive to first caught by Gomez, who doubled up the baserunner.

All signs point towards a Randy Messenger – Toshiya Sugiuchi showdown tomorrow evening. Another Tigers win would put immense pressure on the Giants. As it stands, the Tigers are still not in the clear – they must win two of the remaining four games. The way their pitching is rolling now, it may only take two more. GO TIGERS!


5 thoughts on “Game 2 Recap – Advantage: TIGERS!

  1. Great result! I wasn’t able to get the live feed from the internet-tv over here and had to refresh the score page on for a good 2 hours (not continuously though as I was multi-tasking).

    I’m beginning to believe that the little discussions I had with a few Colonel Sanders figures in Japan is helping a bit… 🙂

    One game at a time, though. The momentum is clearly with us, but I’d rather under-expect than over-expect. 🙂

    • Right on! Couldn’t agree with you more… don’t want to wake up the sleeping Giants by being too brash! Hope Messenger can keep the solid pitching going tomorrow! I also hope you’ll be able to take in the games on TV the rest of the way!

  2. What a game! The Giants had several chances to take this one, but couldn’t finish. I don’t think that the Tigers’ luck will hold out for the entire series though. Hopefully they won’t need luck in the next two games.

    • I don’t know if they had chances to “take” this one but certainly to make it closer than it was. If you look at how many players each team left on base, the Tigers had 10 base runners not score – the Giants had only 7. The Tigers happened to get out of 3 jams with double play balls, but I would not consider this win (or the last one) to be “luck”…

  3. Mate, couldn’t wait for your recap of Game 3 (or Game 4, haha) as it’s past midnight here in Melbourne but WHAT A GAME!

    Son and I got the feed at 0-1 just to see Messenger concede the HR. We were both disappointed that we could not score in the 4th despite the strong position we were in.

    We both went bananas when Fukudome batted in the tying run and I went bonkers (son was not at the TV) when Gomez drove in the winning runs (I was in a conference call and thank goodness it was on mute!).

    Then we lost the feed here at 9 PM Tokyo time and I had to refresh every 30 seconds.

    I’ve discovered again why I loved watching baseball. It’s games like this that makes it such a compelling game to watch as a spectator.

    Surely the Midgets are a spent force now despite taking the lead this time round? In truth, despite them taking the lead, they didn’t seem like they would increase the lead and I guess it was a matter of time before we got going and we did.

    Here’s to Game 4 (Game 5, haha) and may we prevail!

    Karl @ Melbourne (I’m known as Kar Gee Tan at the English Hanshin Tigers Facebook page)

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