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Draw drops Hawks back further

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Draw drops Hawks back further

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There were plenty of fireworks to be had in the 5th and 6th innings today at Yahoo Dome, but neither the Buffaloes nor the Hawks could muster anything in the remaining six innings as the two teams played to a 6-6 draw, five hours and three minutes after the first pitch.

Neither starter was effective today, as the bullpens took center stage late in the game. Jon Leicester, Yoshihisa Hirano, and Mamoru Kishida all threw two innings, with Leicester giving up the only run. Ryota Katsuki threw the 12th for Orix and worked a scoreless inning.

On the other side, it was Keisuke Kattoh who gave up a run among the multitude of the Hawks relievers. Tadashi Settsu, Takahiro Mahara, and Takehito Kanazawa all worked scoreless outings.

The Hawks looked like they had broken the game open in the bottom of the 5th inning with five runs off Orix starter Yuki Nishi, all coming with two outs in the inning. Trailing 1-0 thanks to an Alex Cabrera solo blast in the fourth (17), Matsuda hit an RBI double to tie the game, and Tamura followed it up with a two-run single of his own, and then Lee Bum-ho also singled to give the Hawks a commanding 5-1 lead.

However, the top of the very next inning saw Kenji Ohtonari, finally staked to a lead, cough it up. He started the inning with a walk to Baldiris, gave up a single to Sakaguchi, and he hit Gotoh with a pitch. Again it was Hawks-killer Cabrera doing the run-scoring honors with a grand slam (18). Suddenly, the game was tied at five a side.

The game settled into a bullpen battle, but not before SoftBank once again put themselves in a position to win. Kokubo rapped out an RBI single to score Tanoue, who led off the inning with a single. But Kattoh couldn't hold the lead as he gave up a run on an RBI groundout by Sakaguchi.

The tie drops SoftBank back by another half game behind Seibu, who won their game today against Rakuten. The Hawks now stand one and a half games behind the Lions for first place, while Lotte is two and a half in back of second.

The Hawks now take on the dangerous Fighters in a weekend series that the boys from Fukuoka have to win. The series starts with a tough game, as the Hawks have to face Yu Darvish (10-5, 1.72) for the first time since Opening Day. Hiroki Yamada (2-3, 5.72) gets the ball for SoftBank.
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