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Late Power Surge Lifts Hawks over Lions

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Late Power Surge Lifts Hawks over Lions
One of the main knocks on the Hawks for the last couple years has been their relative lack of power since the terror twins of Matsunaka and Zuleta in 2005 and '06. The Hawks have been scoring their runs elsewhere, and today the Hawks did find an alternative power source.

Three home runs from the good guys in the last three innings, including back-to-back jacks from Yuya Hasegawa and Hidenori Tanoue in the 9th helped turn a 3-2 Hawks deficit in the 7th into a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the 9th. Mahara had a shaky 9th, but managed to get through it as the Hawks managed to gain a game not only on Seibu, but also on Nippon Ham as Masahiro Tanaka out-dueled Yu Darvish.

Justin Germano teamed with Settsu and Falkenborg to get to Mahara, and Germano was solid as usual. He recorded his 6th quality start of the season, getting the minimum needed for one: 6 (plus) innings, 3 runs. He also gave up 6 hits and one walk to go with 5 strikeouts, but he did not factor in the decision. Instead it was Brian Falkenborg who got the win in relief, improving his record to 6-0.

Kazuyuki Hoashi was the Seibu starter, and he continued his hot streak. The Seibu lefty also recorded his 4th straight start where he went 7 innings or more, and he gave SoftBank all they could handle. While not factoring in the decision, Hoashi gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, walking only one and striking out 10, one of the few pitchers who has struck out 10 Hawks in a game this season.

The game was deadlocked for the first five innings as Germano gave up 4 hits in the first 5 innings, and retiring 7 in a row at one point. Hoashi gave up 4 baserunners in the first 6 innings and retiring 9 in a row at one point.

Seibu drew first blood in the 6th inning off Germano. It seems that Germano gives up a lot of his first runs off the home run, and today was no exception. One of the members of the Japanese WBC team, Yasuyuki Kataoka, got his pitch to hit and didn't miss. Kataoka made his 9th contribution to Souvenir City (Tokorozawa Branch) and Seibu was up 1-0.

SoftBank answered right back in their Lucky 7. Hitoshi Tamura smacked a home run of his own into the Tokorozawa night. His 13th bomb of the season knotted the game up at 1.

Germano trudged back out to the mound for the 6th inning, but the third time through the order was nowhere near as kind to the former San Diego Padres prospect as the first two. The first two batters reached as "okawari-kun" Nakamura singled his way on and Shimizu was hit with a pitch. Germano's day was done and he was relieved by Settsu for the 3rd time in four days. Settsu was put into a tough situation, and after striking out GG Satoh to get the first out of the inning, he walked Yasushi Ishii and then gave up an almost-costly double to pinch-hitter Gotoh to bring around Nakajima and Shimizu.

A tiring Hoashi got into trouble himself in the 8th. Morimoto led off with a double, and he was driven in by Matsunaka. After Falkenborg worked a scoreless 8th, the stage was set for another exciting Hawks comeback.

The Hawks are now 3 games in back of Nippon Ham for 1st place in the PL and can potentially gain more ground tomorrow. SoftBank sends their other foreign starter to the mound in DJ Houlton (8-4, 2.19), while Seibu counters with last year's Japan Series MVP Takayuki Kishi (10-1. 3.45).

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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