In a clash of the two titans of interleague so far, the Hawks met the Chunichi Dragons head-on, with Maximo Nelson (3-2, 2.26) taking on rookie Hiroki Yamada (4-2, 2.36).
The game was decided in the first inning, even if nobody knew it. One swing of the bat from Seiichi Uchikawa put the Hawks on top at 1-0, and from there, it was a classic pitcher's duel.
Chunichi didn't have much in the way of chances, as they only mustered four hits in the game, and they didn't even get a man past second base. Designated hitter Masaaki Koike was the only man to reach second, and that was on a two-out double in the fifth.
Nelson (L, 3-3, 2.17) had his share of trouble as well. The seventh inning was where the Hawks had a chance to break the game open. The big, hard-throwing Dominican got himself into a bases-loaded jam with a double and a pair of walks. He didn't get a chance to get out of the jam, as Masato Kobayashi got Kawasaki to ground out to end the threat. However, Nelson took the hard-luck loss, giving up just the one run on six hits, with three walks and six strikeouts.
Yamada (W, 5-2, 2.05) was very good in his seven innings of work, giving up just the four hits, with a walk, a hit batter, and eight strikeouts. Falkenborg, back in his familiar role as setup man, struck out two, of the three batters he faced, and Mahara notched his fourth save of the year to close it out.
SoftBank will once again put their undefeated record on the line again as they finish up their two-game series against the Dragons at Yahoo Dome. In another titanic lefty matchup, Tsuyoshi Wada (3-1, 1.94) takes on Wei-yin Chen (2-1, 2.30).