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Back From Break, Kishida Shuts Down Hawks

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Back From Break, Kishida Shuts Down Hawks
Mamoru Kishida has had lots of injury troubles in his short career. So far he has put together a good season when he is healthy. Opponents are getting on base against him, but Kishida won't let them score, as evidenced today against the Hawks.

With SoftBank losing four of their last five games before the All-Star Break, the team needs to get a good start to the second half of the season.

Kenji Ohtonari is continuing to struggle through an injury-riddled season on his end. He was touched up for 5 runs on as many hits, walking 2 and striking out 4 over just three innings. All of the runs that Ohtonari surrendered came on the home run. In my All-Star edition of Pro Yakyu This Week, I commented that the Buffaloes lineup is loaded with foreign mashers, and the power was on display today.

Alex Cabrera led the charge as he clubbed two home runs in his first two at-bats, a 2-run jack in the first and a solo shot in the 3rd. Cabrera's 2nd home run of the day was immediately after Jose Fernandez made Ohtonari pay for a walk to Keiji Ohbiki previously. With SoftBank in a quick 5-0 hole and Ohtonari's day done, Kishida had all the room he needed to work.

While SoftBank did get their chances, pounding out 8 hits against Kishida, the Hawks were stonewalled at every turn when they had chances. SoftBank had 2 on and 2 out in the first but couldn't push across a run as Tamura struck out. In the 2nd and 4th the Hawks also rapped out meaningless hits. The Hawks best chance of the day at that time was in the 5th as they tried again to get some 2-out lightning going. Satoru Morimoto and Honda singled, but Kishida got Kawasaki to ground out, continuing Munerin's season-long slump.

SoftBank finally broke through in the 6th with singles from Matsunaka and Kokubo to lead the inning off. Tamura hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Hasegawa hustled his way on to keep the inning going and scored Matsunaka to cut the Orix lead to 5-1.

While the Hawks were getting some help from their bullpen, it was mostly mop-up men Mise and Kamiuchi who stopped the bleeding. Orix did get one more off Masahiko Morifuku in the 8th. The diminutive reliever unraveled in this inning, giving up a single to Fernandez, a double to Cabrera, and then Morifuku hit LaRocca to load the bases. Shimoyama drew a walk to force a run in, and it ended Orix's scoring for the day, with a 6-1 lead.

The Hawks added one more in the 9th off Ohkubo thanks to a sacrifice fly, but it was nowhere near enough. The 6-2 loss, coupled with a Fighters win, drops SoftBank to 2 games behind Nippon Ham for first place in the PL.

Tomorrow the Hawks hope to bounce right back as the home team sends Yoshiaki Fujioka (4-4, 3.31) to the mound against Kazuki Kondoh (4-6, 6.00).

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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