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Deja vu all over again for Seibu

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Deja vu all over again for Seibu

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In what has got to be one of the wildest games so far this season, the Hawks survived a late rally from the Seibu Lions to beat then 10-8 yesterday at Yahoo! Dome. Nobuhiro Matsuda was the game hero, hitting two home runs, including the second sayonara home run for the team this series.

Matsuda's second home run (and 2nd and 3rd RBI's) came off Lions closer Brian Sikorski, who was one out shy of securing the draw for the Lions. The final time of the game was three hours, 59 minutes, and if Sikorski got the third out, then the energy conservation rules would have kicked in.

It almost didn't have to come to that as SoftBank dominated the first half of the game, including a four-run fourth inning that required only one hit. Tamura drew a walk, Ortiz reached on an error from shortstop Nakajima, and Matsuda got a free pass of his own.

That was when things started to unravel for Hirano. Kawasaki got a run in with a groundout, and Honda singled home two more. Honda then came around thanks to the Seibu battery of Hirano and Ginjiro. Seibu's 23-year old catcher let one get by him to allow Honda to reach second, and then the Hawks burner took two more bases on a Hirano wild pitch to give the home team a commanding 6-1 lead.

Seibu then came storming back in the last third of the game. Nakajima crushed a home run to start the 6th, but Iwasaki and Soichi Fujita finished up the inning.

Then in the 7th, the Lions feasted on Takehito Kanazawa. The SoftBank mop-up man failed to record an out as he gave up singles to the top of the Seibu order in Kataoka and Kuriyama. Nakajima drove Kataoka in with a single of his own to chase the former Hanshin Tiger.

With left-handed reliever Morifuku taking the mound, okawari-kun Nakamura reached on an error that allowed Kuriyama to score and Cabrera's fielding gaffe also allowed Nakamura to reach second.

Even more shocking was that the normally-dominant Bian Falkenborg got roughed up for three more runs to pull the Lions to 8-7. Once again, it was the terrifying combination of Nakajima and Nakamura that gave the Lions their three runs, as Nakajima hit a two-run single, and Nakamura singled the former home. Tomoaki Satoh tied the game in the next inning with a leadoff home run to tie the game at eight.

SoftBank got off to a quick start in support of their starter, Sho Iwasaki. Against Masamitsu Hirano, the home team got a little two-out lightning, sparked by Seiichi Uchikawa, who doubled high off the wall. Cabrera walked to set up Matsunaka, who blooped a single into center field to bring Uchikawa home for a 1-0 lead.

Iwasaki gave the run right back in the next half-inning, as Seibu drummed up a little two-out lightning of their own, as Asamura singled, Ginjiro was almost robbed by Honda at second, and birthday boy Shogo Akiyama used a little birthday magic to tie the game at one with a blooper of his own.

Matsuda hit the first of his two home runs in the bottom of the 2nd, taking an up-and-in pitch from Hirano and putting it in the first row. The Hawks also got some offensive help in the 6th with an RBI single from Kawasaki, and a solo home run from Matsunaka, who seems to be looking healthy early on in the season.

The Hawks get back to work tomorrow at Yahoo Dome when they see Senichi Hoshino at the Dome for the first time since 2003. This time, the legendary manager will be wearing a Rakuten Eagles uniform. It will be a great pitching matchup, as Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0, 3.24) will take on Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 2.00).
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