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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Series Wrap: Dragons vs Giants @Nagoya Dome, 9 April - 10 April; Series split in even contest

In preparation for the long stretch of baseball over the golden week period (April 27 - May 6) a shortened series against the Giants took place at Nagoya dome. Kazuki Yoshimi had been put on ice after being de-registered ahead of the series, while Yudai Ono and Enny Romero were expected to take on a sputtering Giants dreadnought.

It was to be a shared series with the Giants taking honours in the opening fixture despite striking out more than a teenage boy on the dance floor while Enny Romero backed up his first win in Japan with a second in a solid showing.

  • Game 10: Giants 3 - 1 Dragons
  • Game 11: Giants 2 - 3 Dragons
Former San Diego Padres third baseman, Christian Villenueva's two homer night would be the difference as he solo'd in the first and 9th off Yudai Ono and Joely Rodriguez respectively. The Dragons had taken the lead in the first inning through an Oshima sac-fly but tight pitching from Shun Yamaguchi kept the Dragons quiet. Yudai Ono absolutely made a mess of the Giants line-up however as he K'd 11 batters in 6 innings. The bullpen took a further 6 strikeouts with Shinji Tajima ripping through Yoshiharu Maru, Kazuma Okamoto and Daikan Yoh to complete a near perfect relief outing. 
Enny Romero's second win in Japan was to be less eventful than his first given the nervous moments toward the end with Hiroshi Suzuki closing out, but it would be another 1-run win perhaps marked by Nobumasa Fukuda's 5th deck home-run. The long 2-run dinger, was reported as the highest a Japanese Dragons hitter has taken the ball since Kosuke Fukudome in the mid-2000s. Fukuda and Hirata would finish with multi-hit games while Katsuki Matoyoshi, Tajima and Suzuki closed out the game in style. 

Two games that were close and fun to watch. Yudai Ono going on a K-ing spree was perhaps one of the fun moments to watch this series particularly with Hirokazu Ibata commenting in the lead-up that the Giants would struggle against him. Plenty of confidence to take from the series. Onward to Koshien to take on the Tigers.

Some other talking points out of this game was the call-up of Taiki Mitsumata who hasn't seen game time in the first team since 2016. He helped turn a handy double play and was otherwise defensively tidy at second base despite not registering a hit. 

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