Craig Brazell cranked out a pair of home runs and drove in four runs Wednesday night in Yokohama--and that was just in one inning.
But that wasn't even the best part of his night. After his first home run, Brazell received word that his son Trott had just been born back in the United States. What better way to welcome him to the world than with another longball?
"This is definitely a day I'll remember for the rest of my life," said Brazell, whose Hanshin Tigers broke open a tight game with a nine-run fifth-inning outburst as they handed the host BayStars a humbling 9-3 loss in front of their home fans.
With his team trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Brazell led off the inning with a solo shot to dead center, his 12th home run of the season and only the second hit given up by BayStars starter Les Walrond to that point. Unfortunately for Walrond & Co., there would be many more to come.
After that, Walrond gave up three straight singles to load the bases, followed by a run-scoring sacrifice fly off the bat of pinch-hitter Mitsunobu Takahashi. Norihiro Akahoshi and Takashi Toritani then pounded back-to-back RBI singles to make it 4-1 Tigers. After cleanup-hitter Tomoaki Kanemoto drew a walk to reload the bases, Yokohama skipper Tomio Tashiro got out the hook and that was the end of Walrond's night. Even though he was out of the game, however, his ERA would still take a hit when reliever Kentaro Takasaki gave up a two-run single to Takahiro Arai followed by Brazell's bases-clearing three-run homer to right-center that capped a huge inning for the former Seibu Lions infielder.
"I'd just gotten the news that my son was born and it was a great feeling," said Brazell. "The baseball gods and the Good Lord put everything together today and it worked out right."
Hanshin left-hander Minoru Iwata improved to 3-3 on the season. Iwata threw 140 pitches over eight innings. He allowed just two runs on nine hits and a pair of walks while striking out nine.
Lefty Walrond (5-10) was saddled with the loss after giving up seven runs on seven hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings.
Veteran Takahiro Saeki got the Stars on the board in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single to center field and pinch-hitter Yoshiyuki Kuwahara hit a solo home run in the seventh off Iwata to account for the first two Yokohama runs. They tacked on one more in the ninth off reliever Ken Nishimura.