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Monday, May 28, 2018

Series Wrap: Dragons vs Carp @ Mazda Stadium, 25 April - 27 May; Sweet, sweet fishkabob; The Tank rolls in

We've been somewhat good against the Carp this year. I consider this karma for the amount of come from behind losses we suffered to the pennant winners last year. We still however haven't been able to do it consistently in Hiroshima. At Nagoya, we seem to hold the upper hand but among those seas of red, the Dragons have a point to prove.

Game 10

Dragons 3 - 6 Carp

Good things: Yanagi given a run-out
Bad things: Yanagi getting out-classed

Daichi Ohsera continued his decent record against the Dragons as he claimed a win over Yuya Yanagi.

Yanagi collapsed in his second inning. A Seiya Suzuki homer started things off before consecutive hits to Aizawa, Nishikawa, Ohsera, Tanaka and Kikuchi quickly racked up 6 runs on the board. Mori kept the faith with Yanagi this time for whatever reason and the former Meiji Uni hurler got through a further 4 innings unscathed picking up a total of 2 strikeouts before Kento Fujishima showed off his wares with 2 scoreless frames. Koji Fukutani rounded out his steady comeback with a scoreless 2-strikeout inning in the 8th.

Batting wise, scoring didn't start for the Dragons until the 6th. Hitting didn't really start either as Viciedo's single in the 2nd was the lone hit up until Kyoda's triple in the 6th inning which scored Shuhei. Shuhei himself would put his name up in lights with solo homer in the 8th and Almonte too would add another to score with fence clearer of his own.

Overall, not a great performance where the starting pitchers proved the difference.

Game 11

Dragons 8 - 7 Carp

Good things: Garcia somehow wins again, Beat the Carp
Bad things: Pitching wasn't too great.

Well, when you've got it, you've got it and whatever it is, Garcia has it as he somehow claimed winning honours in a tight win over the Carp.

Garcia dealt 6 innings with 8 strikeouts surrendering only 3 runs. Hiroshi Suzuki would continue to keep things scoreless while the usually unfallable Iwase let in one run. The Shinji Tajima Experience (not unlike the Fernando Rodney Experience in the MLB) meant that many a butt was clenched as the shaky closer put the clamps on a close game despite giving up 2 runs.

Bats did what they needed to do and the top order of Kyoda, Oshima and Almonte put together 6 hits and 3 RBIs. Shota Ono would chip in with a 2RBI single while a pinch hitting Donoue and Kamezawa also put runs on the board while a costly error in the 2nd from the fielding of Francois proved costly as the Dragons ran away with an unlikely victory.

Game 12

Dragons 8 - 7

Good things: Winning, duh, Viciedo clutch hitting like a madman
Bad things: More butt clenching.

Yudai Ono, presumed to be grazing on the farm until this point, was brought up to pitch the final game of the series. The former "ace" has torn it up in the Western League but hasn't shown the conversion to the first team this year. It wasn't to really be good enough this time around either.

Ono pitched an archetypal Ono game giving up 2 runs in the first inning after loading the bases with walks, having a batter score on a ground out, walking a batter again and seeing another batter ground out but have a scoring run. Seiya Suzuki's 2-run dong in the 3rd would pile on the pressure by which point Mori had seen enough. Koji Fukutani got through 2 scoreless innings of relief, while Okada gave up one in his only frame. Hiroshi Suzuki gave up 2 earned runs but ended up the winning pitcher as Sobue and Tajima cleaned up the 8th and 9th.

The bats went bananas in today's game mashing 19 hits! No fewer than 4 Dragons picked up modasho's today with Almonte and Shuhei bagging 4 hits, and Oshima and Viciedo smashing 3 a piece. It was a late flurry from the Dragons that brought in the runs as Viciedo's double in the 5th started things. Viciedo would once again pop up in the 7th with a 2RBI single while Ryosuke Hirata's 2-run homer evened the scores at 5-5.

Viciedo would be again in the thick of it in the 8th as his double drove in 3 to give the Dragons the lead and ultimately the win.

Dayan Viciedo finished the night with 6 RBIs in a maginificent performance from the Cuban slugger who has really picked up the pace since his one week absence in early May.

An event that took 4 years in the making, the Dragons finally took a series off the Carp in Hiroshima. You have to go back as far as 2014 to see a 1-2 series win-loss line at Mazda Stadium in favour of Chunichi. Granted the last few years have marked Chunichi's decline from the Golden Era and Carp's ascension into arguably another of theirs, but it is a big win in the context of the pennant race as the Dragons continue to be a thorn in Hiroshima's side this year.  7 wins and 5 losses so far this year against the Carp. Let's keep them honest.

This series is the last before we head into the Interleague break where we come up against some Pacific League opponents. First up is the Orix Buffaloes at Nagoya Dome with Raidel Martinez starting against Andrew Albers.

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