Well, it had to end sometime. The Hawks 12-game unbeaten streak in interleague was snapped today by the Hanshin Tigers, who ended a streak of their own, although this was on the opposite end of the spectrum.
DJ Houlton (L, 6-2, 2.10) was lit up for five runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings with two walks, a hit batsman, and four strikeouts. He had his first legitimately bad start of the season, giving up three runs in the first two innings. Takahiro Arai tied the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the first, and took the lead on an RBI single from the pitcher Iwata and also a double play from Matt Murton.
That was enough for Hanshin, as they added two more in the fifth to close out their end of the scoring. Craig Brazell hit an RBI single to left, and former Hawks catcher Johjima reached on a booted ball from Kawasaki. Center fielder Kohei Shibata capped the scoring with an RBI groundout to extend Hanshin's lead to 5-1.
The only real bright spot for the Hawks was that Hitoshi Tamura seemed to be fine after fouling a ball off his ankle the other day against Chunichi, and the team saw the return of Jose Ortiz from the DL. It was an eventful return as well, as he hit a pinch-hit two-run blast in the 7th inning to pull the Hawks to within two at 5-3, but it wasn't enough.
Minoru Iwata (W, 2-5, 2.87) finally got some run support and notched his second win of the season, going seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. With their run in the first inning, Hanshin snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak.
SoftBank gets back to work tomorrow against Hanshin as they finish up their season series with the Tigers. Toshiya Sugiuchi (2-2, 1.67) takes on Atsushi Nohmi (2-3, 3.33).