No one was happier to see southpaw Kazuyuki Hoashi leave on Sunday than Giants cleanup hitter Alex Ramirez.
Ramirez, whose sayonara home run lifted Yomiuri to a 3-2 win over the Saitama Seibu Lions in Game 2 of the 2008 Japan Series at Tokyo Dome, went hitless in three at-bats against the Lions starter.
"He was pitching a great game," Ramirez said of the side-armer, against whom he's now 1-for-9 in 2008. "I was glad when they took him out."
For five innings, Hoashi did to the Giants what he had done all season long in compiling an 11-6 record--put runners on and strand them. The 29-year-old allowed 10 runners to reach base, but only one of them scored--and that was on a tough break.
With one out in the second and runners on second and third, the Giants' Kazunari Tsuruoka got a pitch below his knees and lifted it far enough for a sacrifice fly.
"I put runners on in every inning but I think I was able to come through with the kind of tenacious performance that's my trademark," Hoashi said.
In two interleague starts against the Giants this season, Hoashi surrendered just two runs in 14 innings, largely because he was able to strand 13 runners. He was 1-0 against the Giants only because he was outlasted by Yomiuri southpaw Tetsuya Utsumi on June 8. In that game at Tokyo Dome, Hoashi left a scoreless tie after seven only to see the bullpen surrender four in the bottom of the eighth. Utsumi, who has yet to pitch in the Series, went eight scoreless innings for the win.
Against Hoashi on Sunday, Ramirez left four runners on base, three of them in scoring position.
Manager Hisanobu Watanabe pulled his starter for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth after Hoashi had thrown 83 pitches. The lefty allowed five hits, issued three walks and hit two batters.
"He was as good as usual," Watanabe said. "He didn't give up strings of hits, but pitching against that lineup will wear you out and I wanted a new pitcher to start fresh the next time through their lineup."
But the tail end of the Giants lineup tied it against Koji Onuma, preventing Hoashi from winning for the first time in five career postseason starts.