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Wada rocked again as Hawks fall

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Wada rocked again as Hawks fall

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One of the things that has been apparent as the season has progressed, Tsuyoshi Wada has had his troubles. Considering that today he matched the highest amount of starts he's had in two years, and is three starts shy of his career high, he may indeed be tiring.

Every other start since the beginning of August has been rocky, and today continued the trend as he was rocked for six runs on nine hits in five-plus innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

Although he was behind, Wada (L, 14-8, 3.42) was pitching pretty well into the sixth inning. Then, the wheels fell off. Koyano, Nioka, and Nakata all singled to lead off the inning and load the bases. Dai-kang Yang then tripled home three runs to put the Fighters ahead for good. Against Keisuke Kattoh, Shota Ono singled in Yang for the fourth run of the inning, closing the book on Wada.

Wada's counterpart was Keisaku Itokazu, making his fifth start of the year. Itokazu (W, 2-1, 5.34) worked six-plus innings with two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. One of the runs he gave up was at the beginning of the third inning to Matsuda (17), but his offense answered back with two in the bottom of the inning.

The Hawks had a golden opportunity to pull closer in the seventh inning, as they loaded the bases with nobody out against Itokazu. However, Nashida-kantoku went to his bullpen, with Hayashi taking over to face Petagine. He lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 6-2, but that's all they would get in the inning as Tateyama retired Matsuda on strikes and Shibahara grounded out harmlessly.

With the loss and a Seibu win, SoftBank's already-slim lead decreases to just half a game, and one game over Lotte for third. The two teams meet for the rubber game tomorrow as the Hawks give the ball to Hiroki Yamada (4-3, 4.34) against Hawks Enemy Number One, Masaru Takeda (11-6, 2.65).
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