With a team ERA in interleague of 1.02, the Hawks have been nothing short of dominant with their pitching. Yesterday was another ho-hum day against the Chunichi Dragons, with another combined effort shutout.
Despite Hawks starter Tsuyoshi Wada getting knocked out in the 6th due to injury (he took a batted ball off his right ankle), the bullpen was able to pick up the slack and keep the game out of reach.
The win extended Chunichi's winless streak at Yahoo! Dome. Today marks the last time the Dragons won in Fukuoka, four years ago. It was also the Hawks 8th shutout win of the season.
Against Taiwanese lefty Wei-yin Chen, SoftBank got the only run they would need in the 2nd inning. Tamura singled and came around to score on backup catcher Katsuki Yamazaki's RBI single after the former got to second on a groundout.
SoftBank added another run two innings later when Fukuda singled and stole second, and he got to third on a sacrifice fly. The super-utility man came in on Hasegawa's infield single. Fukuda was inserted on defense after Tamura fouled a ball off his left ankle and couldn't continue.
Chunichi managed to keep it close as Chen was able to wiggle out of the trouble he did get himself into. However, the home team broke the game open in the 7th and 8th with two runs in each inning. Enyelbert Soto was undone by two walks and a booted ball by the normally sure-handed Masahiro Araki.
Yoshihiro Suzuki was called on to clean up Soto's mess. With the bases loaded and nobody out, SoftBank got one run without even putting bat on ball. Uchikawa was plunked with a pitch to force one run home, and Kokubo lifted a sacrifice fly to put the game out of reach at 4-0.
SoftBank would add two more in the 8th on a sacrifice fly by Kawasaki and an RBI single from Honda. The relief corps of Morifuku, Falkenborg and Kanazawa kept Chunichi off the board and maintained the Hawks undefeated mark in interleague.
SoftBank continues their interleague campaign by taking on the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium tomorrow. DJ Houlton (6-1, 1.60) will face Minoru Iwata (1-5, 2.70).