One of the teams that has historically given the Hawks trouble in Interleague is the Yokohama BayStars, and while they haven't exactly been competitive in the last few years, they have been somewhat pesky this year.
SoftBank's starter today was Toshiya Sugiuchi, and he was knocked around by the BayStars offense for four runs in the first two innings, but he managed to get through six innings before handing it over to the bullpen.
However, it was the shaky Yokohama bullpen that ended up giving the game away. Namely, it was the Hawks' favorite whipping boy, Shintaro Eijiri, who was rocked for three runs in just two-thirds of an inning to vault the home team to a 6-5 win to keep their perfect record in interleague intact.
Five of the Hawks six runs came in the last two innings, with two of them coming in the 7th off BayStars starter Kentaro Takasaki, who pitched admirably, but was solved in the Hawks Lucky 7.
The first three batters--Kokubo, Tamura and Matsuda--all reached on singles, with Matsuda's single scoring Kokubo. The flurry chased Takasaki, with Shinji Ohara replacing him. Yokohama's young starter was still responsible for Matsuda and Tamura, and after an out, Ohara uncorked a wild pitch to send the runners to second and third. It was a single by Kawasaki that got Tamura home, but Matsuda was gunned down trying to score. Still, the Hawks pulled to within one at 4-3.
The rally was almost put to a screeching halt in the top of the 8th as Terrmel Sledge crushed a Kenji Ohtonari offering into the stands for his seventh home run of the season to give the BayStars a 5-3 cushion and put themselves in position for the upset.
Ejiri (L, 2-1, 2.63) got himself into a fine mess in the 8th inning, as he loaded the bases thanks to singles by Cabrera and Kokubo, and a walk to Tamura. With two outs, Ejiri was lifted for former Hawk Takayuki Shinohara, as the lefty was brought in to face his former teammate Matsunaka. The Hawks cleanup man gave singled home two runs to tie the game at five.
With Hiroki Sanada in to try and stem the tide, the newly-activated Hidenori Tanoue singled home another run to give the Hawks a 6-5 lead. Mahara worked a perfect ninth for his third consecutive save.
Sugiuchi was not at his best in this game, as the BayStars jumped on him early. Sledge hit a 2-run double with two outs in the first to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Yokohama extended their lead in the 2nd--again with two outs--with a little help from the Hawks defense. Leadoff man Takehiro Ishikawa doubled home one man, and Hichori Morimoto legged out an infield single. However, a throwing error allowed Ishikawa to get home and stake the BayStars to a 4-0 advantage.
SoftBank got one run back in the fourth off the bat of Cabrera, who hit a solo blast to get the Hawks on the board at 4-1. Reliever Takehito Kanazawa got the win with a scoreless eighth (1-0, 0.87).
The Hawks will look to continue their unbeaten streak in Interleague as the Hawks send Tadashi Settsu (3-2, 4.12) to the mound against Clayton Hamilton (1-3, 4.50).