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Guttormson's Stellar Return Ruined by Darvish

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Guttormson's Stellar Return Ruined by Darvish

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Since July 9th, Rick Guttormson has not pitched for the Hawks thanks to an inflamed adductor muscle, which he was deactivated for on the 17th of that month, leading to an emergency start from Hideaki Takahashi. Guttormson was activated to start today, and he easily put together his best start of the season. The bad news for him was that the Fighters had their ace, Yu Darvish, on the mound to counter him.

The results were not pretty for the Hawks. Already 5-16 against the Fighters this season and in an extremely important series where they needed to scratch out a few wins, SoftBank did not get off to a good start.

Darvish was almost unhittable over 8 innings of work, hitting 2 batters and giving up only one hit, a single, to Yuichi Honda in the 6th inning. Darvish also struck out 8 batters through only 96 pitches. He improves his record to 12-4. Micheal Nakamura shut down the Hawks in the 9th to record his 21st save of the season and put the wraps on a combined 1-hitter.

Both the Hawks and Fighters had their share of trouble getting their offenses going. While Darvish was perfect through the first 11 batters, Guttormson walked 2 in the 2nd inning, but he got out of it with a double play. The first offense of the day, and the only run that the Fighters would need came on a towering home run from Atsunori Inaba, his 15th of the season. Guttormson got into more trouble with 2 outs in the 6th inning. He gave up a double to Inaba, then intentionally walked Terrmel Sledge, but it backfired as Eiichi Koyano doubled in Inaba to make it 2-0, Fighters.

Guttormson went 8 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 3 (1 intentional) and striking out 1. Despite his record, he was the tough-luck loser, he falls to 4-5.

Tomorrow, the Hawks try to right the ship and solve the Fighters. Nagisa Arakaki (1-4, 4.31) will take on junkballer Masaru Takeda (6-5, 3.01).

In other news, the Hawks got some news they did not need, as rookie lefty Kenji Ohtonari was deactivated retroactive to September 1st with left elbow pain. The Hawks have been snakebitten by injuries this season, but this is easily their worst loss to injury in a long while.

However, the bad news is offset by some potentially good news. First of all, Hidenori Tanoue, who has been out since May with a sprained ankle, returned to play today and pinch-hit for Nobuhiko Matsunaka, so it gives the Hawks another option behind the plate.

Most importantly, right-handed ace Kazumi Saitoh returned to Japan today, his rehabilitation in Arizona complete. He said that he feels fine and that every week he was able to throw from a longer distance.

When he will be ready to go remains under wraps, but the fact that he is feeling strong, is throwing without pain, and is ready to compete will be a giant boost to the Hawks, especially since losing Ohtonari to injury.
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