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After tie, SoftBank recovers with win over Yakult

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Featuring Jim (a.k.a. NipponHam11)

The title defense begins! Welcome to 2012, Hawks fans!

After tie, SoftBank recovers with win over Yakult

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The second game between the Hawks and Tigers was, as my colleague Christopher called it, boring. It ended up in a 0-0 tie, the first such game the Hawks had played since the 2008 season. SoftBank used half the number of pitchers that Hanshin did, as Toshiya Sugiuchi and Sho Iwasaki each went four innings, and Masahiko Morifuku worked one.

Today the Hawks took on the Yakult Swallows continuing their preseason romp through the CL. And the Hawks also finally scored more than five runs in a game!

The starting pitching matchup was Tadashi Settsu against Masanori Ishikawa. Settsu had been rumored to be converted to a starter most of the offseason, and he performed admirably over four innings, striking out six, walking one, and giving up only two hits and a walk. Ishikawa was not as effective, giving up four runs on four hits in five innings, with four K's and a walk.

SoftBank scored early and often, as they sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning and got four runs. The inning was capped by Seiichi Uchikawa's two-run triple, his first timely hit of the preseason. Hitoshi Tamura and Hiroki Kokubo also hit RBI singles in the inning. Tamura got his second RBI of the day off Kyohei Muranaka in the 6th to cap the scoring.

Relieving Settsu was Anthony Lerew, who also went four innings, but also got roughed up for three runs on five hits, with one of them being a solo bomb from former Arizona Diamondback Josh Whitesell. Wladimir Balentien, formerly of the Seattle Mariners, also got to Lerew for an RBI double, his only at-bat in which he did not strike out. Shingo Kawabata got a timely base hit of his own to end the scoring in Yakult's Lucky 7.

Lerew did fine otherwise, as he struck out five and walked one in his four innings. Last year's unsung bullpen hero, Takehito Kanazawa, worked the 9th for the save, giving up a hit and striking out two.

SoftBank goes back to work against the Swallows tomorrow, ending their short two-game series.
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