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Hawks split first two with Orix

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Hawks split first two with Orix
After the sweep at the hands of the Seibu Lions, the Hawks went home to Yahoo! Dome with their collective tails between their legs. It didn't get any better as their first game against the Buffaloes as they became the latest team to tee off on DJ Houlton.

In four and one-third innings, the Hawks starter once again failed to get out of the fifth inning despite recording seven strikeouts and only one walk. He gave up five runs, with a pair of two-spots in the first and fifth innings, and four of those runs were driven in by longtime Hawks nemesis Alex Cabrera. He hit a two-run double in the first and a two-run home run (16). The Buffs other offense came in the person of Aarom Baldiris, who hit a home run of his own (10) to give his team the lead for good at 3-2 at the time.

The Orix cause was helped from some good pitching from Chihiro Kaneko, who may have given up four runs on eight hits, but was brilliant otherwise, with 10 strikeouts and one walk.

Kaneko also got some help from his bullpen the rest of the way, as Yoshihisa Hirano retired the only man he faced, and new closer Mamoru Kishida worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning with a strikeout for his eighth save of the season.

SoftBank matched Orix's offensive output in the first inning with a two-run home run from Nobuhiro Matsuda (16), who has been homer-happy as of late with three home runs in eight days.

However, the Hawks couldn't match Orix's offensive output the rest of the way as they got only two runs, with one coming from a Kawasaki RBI single and a run coming home when Honda grounded into a double play.

Needing to get off their six-game skid, the Hawks sent their stopper, Tsuyoshi Wada, to the mound against Kazuki Kondoh, who notched a complete-game victory in his last visit to Yahoo! Dome. This visit was not as welcome, as the Hawks chased him after three and two-thirds innings and gave up four runs on seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

Wada's offense backed him up as Kokubo rapped out an RBI single in the first, and the Hawks scored three more in the fourth on back-to-back RBI doubles from Tamura and Petagine.

A disturbing development was that Brian Falkenborg came into the game in the 8th inning to get some work in, and he once again was tagged for two runs on five hits. While all it really did was ruin the shutout bid, Falkenborg's sudden struggles are disturbing, especially with the playoffs coming right around the corner.

The Lions were rained out today, and with the win today the Hawks pulled to within one game of Seibu, and they lead the Marines by three games for second place in the Pacific League.

SoftBank will finish up their three game series with the Buffaloes tomorrow when they send Kenji Ohtonari (2-8, 4.56) to the mound against Yuki Nishi (0-0, 3.38).
Comments
Re: Hawks split first two with Orix
[ Author: Guest: Softbank Fan | Posted: Aug 13, 2010 4:46 PM ]

I'm sorry, using the word disturbing to describe Falkenborg is a little harsh. Seriously, the guy has been lights out. Is 2 bad outings really enough to start questioning him and call him struggling?! Geeze, tough judge you are.
Re: Hawks split first two with Orix
[ Author: NipponHam11 | Posted: Aug 14, 2010 11:58 AM | SFT Fan ]

Had he given up one or two runs in each of those appearances, I wouldn't have been worried. However, he was outright tagged in those two outings, the first of which had the game in the balance. He rebounded today against Nippon Ham, though.

What made me nervous is that he got hurt around this time last year, and he is currently one appearance shy of last year's total, which he could have had more had he not gotten hurt and taken a leave due to the birth of his child last year.
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