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04/03/2003 Archived Entry: "Japanese Baseball News: Orix on Nine Game Losing Skein"

Seibu Makes Orix Zip for Four in Shutout Win

Fumiya Nishiguchi threw too many pitches, 118, in six innings Monday against Orix at Kobe Green Stadium, but the results were awesome, as he limited the Blue Wave to four hits and no runs while striking out five and walking three in a 4-0 victory. Orix has now lost four in a row in 2003 and nine since the last five 2002 tilts, causing a lot of ominous grumbling from team owner Miyauchi that effectively put manager Hiromichi Ishige on notice that things better change and the sooner the better.

Koo Dae-sung started for Orix and didn't pitch that badly, going seven innings and giving up four runs, three earned, on eight hits while striking out eight and walking two, but he ended up with a defeat anyway.

Orix centerfielder Yoshitomo Tani's fiance, 2000 Sydney Olympics judo gold medalist Ryoko "Yawara" Tamura, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and Tani responded with a three hit performance, but for his team as a whole, it was business as recently usual.

Seibu threatened in the third when ancient catcher Tsutomu Itoh beat out a dribbler toward short for the first hit of the contest. Second baseman Hiroyuki Takagi did the exact same thing. How often do you see THAT? Shortstop Kazuo Matsui grounded to third baseman Jose Ortiz, who booted it and the bases were loaded. However, this little bit of cruelty from the baseball gods abated when rightfielder Kazuhiko Miyaji grounded to Scott Sheldon, who started a 3-6-3 double play to snuff this fiasco.

But then Seibu returned for real in the fourth. First baseman Taketoshi Goto grounded to short and beat it out. DH Scott McClain singled to left and leftfielder Kazuhiro Wada copycatted that, except that the ball squirted through Roosevelt Brown and all the way to the wall, allowing the less than speedy McClain to score all the way from first for a 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, Orix made some noise and that was quickly silenced. With one away, catcher Takeshi Hidaka walked and Tani singled to left. Both runners were sacrificed up 90 feet. Brown, though, flied out and the shutout remained in effect. Now debuting at Tokyo Disneyland (which is also owned by Orix), a two out RBI basehit in Fantasyland.

The Lions notched another one in the seventh, as centerfielder Shogo Akada doubled down the leftfield line and was sacrificed to third. Itoh singled to left and Akada strutted in to make it 3-0 Seibu.

An inning later, Matsui hammered an 87mph fastball to deep rightcenter. Matsui thought it was a gapper and turned on the afterburners and went into third standing up, only to be waved home by the umpires when told that the ball had carromed off of a seat in the rightfield stands for the first homer since Kobe Green Stadium officially changed its name to (well known portal site/broadband outfit) Stadium. Remember this, there will be a quiz later and those who don't get it right will go to bed with no Baseball Tonight.

So at 4-0, the Lions were firmly in control against the hapless Blue Wave, who went down in order in the eighth and ninth to put this one out of their misery.

This was career win number 101 for Nishiguchi.

Koo said his pitch movement was real good. He has to be wondering, however, whether he should have taken that Yankees offer in 2000 after what he's seen this and last season.

For Seibu, McClain was 2-4 and is at .333. Matsui was 1-4 with an RBI and is at .400.

For Orix, Brown was 0-2 with two walks and is at .231. Ortiz was 0-4 with two strikeouts and is at .214. First baseman Scott Sheldon was 1-4 and is at .313.

Pitching Lines:


Nishiguchi (W, 1-0) IP 6.0 BF 25 PC 118 H 4 HR 0 K 5 BB 3 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Osada IP 1.0 BF 4 PC 11 H 1 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
S. Mori IP 1.0 BF 3 PC 9 H 0 HR 0 K 2 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Y. Doi IP 1.0 BF 3 PC 15 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00


Koo (L, 0-1) IP 7.0 BF 28 PC 104 H 8 HR 1 K 8 BB 2 R 4 ER 3 ERA 3.86
Makino IP 1.0 BF 5 PC 25 H 1 HR 0 K 0 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 4.50
Imamura IP 0.2 BF 4 PC 15 H 1 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 11.57
T. Yamamoto IP 0.1 BF 1 PC 8 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00

E: Ortiz, Brown, Imamura
SB: H. Shibata
2B: Katsuragi, Akada, McClain
HR: K. Matsui (1)
RBI: K. Matsui, K. Wada, T. Itoh
GIDP: Miyaji, McClain, H. Takagi
LOB: Seibu 7, Orix 8

Season Series: Seibu 1, Orix 0

Game Time: 3:10
Attendance: 28,000
Umpires: Nagami (HP), Higashi (1B), Sato (2B), Tamba (3B)

Beirne Hangs Tough and Kintetsu Gets Five in Sixth for Victory

Before Monday's game against the Daiei Hawks, Kintetsu Buffaloes manager Masataka Nashida told his players to layoff rookie righthander Nagisa Arakaki's divebombing slider and make him throw a lot of pitches. It didn't seem that the strategy was working, since Arakaki had a 2-0 lead after five while being clocked at 94mph, but the youngster then came out for the sixth and helped open the floodgates with a mental mistake and that was the ballgame, as he and reliever Hirokazu Watanabe were shelled in that frame for five runs in a 5-2 loss. Kevin Beirne, the son of former Oilers and Chargers wide receiver Jim Beirne, gutted out a strong 7.1 innings to wrest his first victory in Japan Monday at Osaka Dome.

Beirne began the game a little shaky, as he was mugged for a one out triple off the leftfield fence by Hawks shortstop Munenori Kawasaki and came home on a groundout to short from leftfielder Pedro Valdez for a lightning quick 1-0 advantage. First baseman Nobuhiko Matsunaka drilled one off the centerfield wall, but Matsunaka must have thought it was outta here and only got a single for it. Catcher Kenji Johjima singled to center to bring up DH Noriyoshi Omichi, a quality hitter with not much pop. Omichi whiffed and, aided by a pair of double play balls, Beirne fended Daiei off through the following four innings.

In the sixth, though, centerfielder Arihito Muramatsu mashed a Beirne delivery into the rightfield bleachers to double the Hawks' lead to 2-0.

Then the Buffs retaliated in their half. With two outs, first baseman Yuji Yoshioka singled to left. DH Kenshi Kawaguchi grounded to Matsunaka, who went to flip the ball to Arakaki covering, but the number one choice was late going for the bag and Kawaguchi, who only has average speed, was safe. Arakaki plunked shortstop Osamu Hoshino to pack the sacks. He went 3-1 to pinch hitter Daisuke Masuda and then walked him to force in a run. Hawks' boss Sadaharu Oh went to the pen for Hirokazu Watanabe.
Centerfielder Naoyuki Omura laced a shot up the leftcenterfield gap and all the way to the fence, clearing the decks while Omura soft shoed it into second and suddenly it was 4-2 Buffs. Second baseman Yusuke Takasu singled to left and Omura motored in to ante that up to 5-2.

Beirne induced another twin killing in the seventh, but when he issued a one out walk to pinch hitter Mitsuru Honma in the eighth, Nashida gave him the hook in favor of a fresher arm and of the final six hitters in the game, five were sent away with no problem and this one was history.

Arakaki had 20 friends and relatives in the stands, so he was embarrassed about falling apart in the sixth. Watanabe blamed himself for the loss while complimenting Arakaki's performance.

Daiei hasn't had any hits with runners in scoring position in their last three games, so the bats are in a bit of a funk.

For Kintetsu, Rhodes 1-4 with two strikeouts and is at .529.

For Daiei, Valdez was 0-3 with an RBI and a walk and is at .286.

Pitching Lines:


Arakaki (L, 0-1) IP 5.2 BF 27 PC 113 H 6 HR 0 K 4 BB 2 R 4 ER 4 ERA 6.35
H.K. Watanabe IP 0.0 BF 1 PC 3 H 1 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 1 ER 1 ERA infinity
A. Yamada IP 1.1 BF 7 PC 22 H 2 HR 0 K 0 BB 2 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Yoshitake IP 1.0 BF 3 PC 8 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00


Beirne (W, 1-0) IP 7.1 BF 27 PC 87 H 6 HR 1 K 3 BB 3 R 2 ER 2 ERA 2.45
T. Yoshida IP 1.1 BF 4 PC 14 H 0 HR 0 K 2 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
A. Okamoto IP 0.1 BF 2 PC 9 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00

E: Johjima
SB: O. Hoshino
2B: N. Omura
3B: M. Kawasaki
HR: Muramatsu (1)
RBI: Muramatsu, P. Valdez, N. Omura 3, Takasu, Masuda
IBB: K. Kawaguchi (A. Yamada)
HBP: Johjima (Beirne), O. Hoshino (Arakaki)
GIDP: Nelson, O. Hoshino, Omichi 2, Matsunaka,
LOB: Daiei 4, Kintetsu 9

Season Series: Daiei 0, Kintetsu 1

Game Time: 2:56
Attendance: 18,000
Umpires: Hayashi (HP), Yamamura (1B), Maeda (2B), Yoshikawa (3B)

Ogasawara, Cromer Back to Back Jacks Ignite Four Run Fighters Seventh

Back to back solo blasts by Nippon Ham third baseman Michihiro Ogasawara and first baseman D.T. Cromer off of Shingo Ono in the seventh inning created a breakthrough in what had been up to that point a scoreless faceoff with the Chiba Lotte Marines Monday at Chiba Marine Stadium, as the Fighters went on to nail a four spot on the big board and made it stand up in a 4-2 triumph. Masaru Yoshizaki, who looks at second base to help keep his front shoulder closed before he delivers the ball, threw a beauty, smothering Lotte on four hits over 6.1 shutout innings in his first pro start to earn the victory.

For Lotte manager Koji Yamamoto, this has to be galling, since Ono has been erratic over the last season and change and therefore when he does get a strong outing from him, he wants to win it since he may get rocked his next time on the hill.

Neither side had gathered any hits over the first three innings before Ogasawara singled to right with two outs in the fourth and then Lotte first baseman Kazuya Fukuura smacked a double in the home segment. Neither starter was in any trouble until the sixth, when Lotte second baseman Koichi Hori doubled to leftcenter and rightfielder Saburo Omura singled to right. Hori made the turn for the plate. Kazuteru Shimada got to the ball and uncorked a strike on the fly to catcher Shinji Takahashi, who applied the tag on Hori for the third out to keep it at 0-0.

Obviously inspired, Ogasawara crushed a shuuto that Ono left over the middle of the plate and propelled it into the centerfield bleachers. Cromer then got a cut fastball and torqued it into the centerfield seats, too to make it 2-0 Fighters. Ken Yamazaki entered from the bullpen and, one out later, DH Yukio Tanaka doubled down the leftfield line and cruised in on a triple off the centerfield fence by Shimada. Takahashi singled to left to plate Shimada and it was 4-0.

In the eighth, Lotte saw shortstop Makoto Kosaka dented the leftfield wall for a double and then glided home on a big fly by Hori into the centerfield stands to pull within 4-2. Fukuura doubled off the centerfield wall and DH Derrick May dug in representing the tying run. However, he struckout and the inning was a thing of the past.

Masashi Date came on in the ninth to close and was touched for a single to center by Yukihiko Sato. The next three batters, though, couldn't get out of the infield and the former Hanshin Tiger Date had save number two.

Yoshizaki, a third rounder out of Miki House of the Japanese industrial leagues in 1999, had his parents, who came all the way down from Kyoto, in the stands to see his inital career win.

For Lotte, Rick Short was 0-1 in a pinch hit role and is at .083. May was 0-3 with a walk and is at .133.

For Nippon Ham, Cromer was 1-4 with an RBI and is at .067. Leftfielder Angel Echevarria was 1-4 and is at .133.

Pitching Lines:

Nippon Ham:

Yoshizaki (W, 1-0) IP 6.1 BF 22 PC 89 H 4 HR 0 K 2 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Shibakusa IP 1.1 BF 7 PC 28 H 3 HR 1 K 2 BB 0 R 2 ER 2 ERA 6.75
Ko. Yamaguchi IP 0.1 BF 2 PC 9 H 1 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Date (S, 2) IP 1.0 BF 4 PC 10 H 1 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 3.86


S. Ono (L, 0-1) IP 6.0 BF 22 PC 99 H 4 HR 2 K 6 BB 0 R 2 ER 2 ERA 3.00
K. Yamazaki IP 0.1 BF 3 PC 13 H 2 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 2 ER 2 ERA 54.00
H.Y. Kobayashi IP 0.2 BF 4 PC 12 H 2 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00
Kanda IP 1.0 BF 4 PC 12 H 1 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 4.50
Sikorsky IP 1.0 BF 4 PC 14 H 1 HR 0 K 2 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.00

SB: Y. Tanaka
2B: Fukuura 2, Hori, Y. Sato, Kosaka, Y. Tanaka
3B: K. Shimada
HR: M. Ogasawara (1), Cromer (1), Hori (1)
RBI: M. Ogasawara, Cromer, K. Shimada, S. Takahashi, Hori 2
GIDP: Y. Sato
LOB: Nippon Ham 6, Orix 6

Season Series: Nippon Ham 1, Lotte 0

Game Time: 3:09
Attendance: 20,000
Umpires: Nakamura (HP), Tsugawa (1B), Kawaguchi (2B), Yamamoto (3B)

Team Reports

Yomiuri The opening series with the Chunichi Dragons drew the poorest tv ratings in the team's history, according to Sports Nippon. The Giants drew an average of only 16.2% of viewers in that time slot, only the second time in club annals that an opening series had drawn less than 20%. That occasion was in 1996, when they posted a 19.7% mark. Team officials say that the depressed numbers aren't due to Hideki Matsui defecting to the Yankees. "Giants fans will always be Giants fans," said one Yomiuri bigwig, who allowed that when Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima retired, ratings remained steady....Righthander Hiroki Sanada will make a minor league start so that he can get in some innings Monday. He will then make a start at the first team level during an upcoming road trip.

Yakult Third baseman Akinori Iwamura had an MRI taken Monday and it was determined that he doesn't have the earlier diagnosed fracture, but severed cartilage in his wrist and it will take two months to heal. He will have it in a cast for two weeks and should be able to start throwing again in about a month and hopefully he can be back in mid-June. However, one has to wonder if his using a much heavier bat than normal during spring training may have had something to do with this.

Hiroshima Carp pitching coach Manabu Kitabeppu says that he intends to have his charges pound Hanshin leftfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto, a former fish, inside repeatedly, insisting that has always been the all star outfielder's weak point. Yet, that didn't stop Kanemoto from being one of the few players to put together a .300-30 homer-30 steal season a couple of years ago. So this may be just a mind game.

Yokohama Manager Daisuke Yamashita provided some individual fielding instruction to slumping third baseman Katsuaki Furuki Monday, guiding him on his reactions to hard hit balls. Yamashita was a multi-Gold Glove recipient when he was an active player.

Nippon Ham Manager Trey Hillman's wife and kids returned to the U.S. over the weekend. According to Hillman, they really like Japan.

Lotte Tomohiro Kuroki gingerly threw 54 pitches in a workout Monday. There is still no concrete timetable as to when he might return.

Orix Makoto Suzuki's start in the minors has been moved back until Wednesday.

Hideki Matsui Matsui made his debut with the Yankees and wacked the first pitch he saw from Roy Halliday of the Toronot Blue Jays through the hole between third and short for an RBI single in his first at bat and a splashy first time it was. He ultimately went 1-4 with the RBI, but the hit was smoked.

Koshien Tournament Toyodai Himeiji High School and Hanasaki Tokuei locked up in a 2-2 15 inning tie Monday in the Koshien Spring High School Baseball Tournament, the first time that has happened during the spring festivities in 41 years. Ace Kwen Tran Phuoc An went all the way, throwing 191 pitches in another example of child abuse in Japanese athletics. However, An says that it felt to him as if the game went by quickly and he didn't feel fatigued. The game was scoreless for nine innings before Hanasaki put up a run in the top of the tenth, but Toyodai came back to knot it in the bottom half. The same thing happened again in the 15th. An threw 151 pitches Sunday in beating Naruto Kogyo High and has delivered a total of 454 pitches in the tourney, according to Sports Nippon. He will start again when they game is replayed. And Hanasaki's ace? Fukumoto threw 220 pitches during this marathon and has thrown 547 pitches in the tournament thus far....Chiben Wakayama High School was ground under the cleats of Tokushima Shogyo High School13-0, as righty ace Masaki Hiraoka tossed a seven hit shutout....Yokohama High School moved on to the group of four when it shutout Heian High School on two hits 3-0. This is the first final four bid by Yokohama in five years, when they won it all behind Daisuke Matsuzaka. Makoto Yoshida homered in the ninth to highlight the Yokohama attack while ace Yoshihisa Naruse babied a middle finger nail that was partially torn....Koryo High School number one starter Kentaro Nishimura's mechanics were off in the early going, but he made an adjustment and things went smoothly the rest of the way in his contingent's 4-2 triumph over Omi High School.

Today's Pictures

Masaru Yoshizaki Looks the Other Way

Yoshizaki Just About to Go Home

Kazuo Matsui Creams the First of Many Homers to Come This Season

2000 Judo Gold Medalist Ryoko "Yawara" Tamura Throws Out the First Pitch at Kobe Green Stadium

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