A much more feel good vibe to this week as the Dragons matched the Tigers pound for pound in the first series at Koshien while the Dragons took out the brooms handling the league leaders, Hiroshima in front of the Nagoya faithful.
Dragons 1 - 8 Tigers
WP: Takumi Akiyama 8IP 1ER 12SO Nakatani 3-2, Itoi 4-2
LP: Shota Suzuki 4 2/3IP 2ER 7SO Kyoda 4-3, Hirata 4-2
HR: Nakatani (1st), Itoi (6th)
It was a strikeout festival at Koshien as both teams racked up a total 23 strikeouts between them. Nakatani would go to long in the first inning after a Viciedo fumble helped runners on base with one out to put the Tigers up 3-0.
Masahiro Araki would grab one back after scoring Kyoda but after Suzuki was withrawn after putting two runners on with one our remaining, Araujo loaded up the bases with a walk to give Itoi the chance to strike with a 3RBI double. Itoi would be the harbinger of death for the Dragons in the 6th as his 2-run homer put the Tigers out of sight at 8-1.
Try as the Dragons might to squeeze blood out of a stone but despite 6 hits a piece, it was the Tigers that got value out of their hit with 3 of 6 resulting in extra-base RBIs.
Dragons 1 - 2 Tigers
WP: Marcos Mateo 1/3IP 0ER 0SO Haraguchi 2-1
LP: Raul Valdes 8IP 2ER 6SO Viciedo 4-2, Hirata 4-2
HR: Haraguchi (5th)
The Dragons well out batted their opponents, but all it took was 3 hits from the Tigers to get the win despite 8 mustered by the Dragons. The Tigers would take the lead in the 5th through Haraguchi's solo homer.
Hirata's RBI in the 7th would get the teams back level but an 8th inning RBI double from Shun Takayama was unreturnable as the Dragons once again fell over when it was easier to stand up.
Raul Valdes marked his 9th quality start in a row since opening day. The man gets no support from his batting line-up when he pitches. He has a lone, single win to his name for his troubles.
Dragons 2 - 1 Tigers
WP: Jordan Norberto 7 1/2IP 1ER 5SO Araki 4-3
LP: Randy Messenger 8IP 2ER 12SO Haraguchi 3-2
Norberto would once again break another skid pitching a great outing to negate the effectiveness of Randy Messenger.
Nakatani would once again wreak havoc as his double gave the Tigers the lead in the 1st. It would take until the 5th for the Dragons to reply as a Kyoda at full flight manage to beat a throw in the infield to allow Masato Matsui to score. Ryosuke Hirata drove in the winning run in the 8th through a double to score Araki who picked up a modasho for his batting prowess on the evening.
The Dragons walked away with a win in the end but it certainly was a "what might have been" in the other two games which could have easily fallen the other way given some luck and perseverance.
Araki has show the Tigers he means business this season as he averages .400 against them despite having his highest whiff rate against them as well.
The league leading Carp would visit Nagoya and be given a lesson in humility as the Dragons claimed the sweep in revenge for their previous series away to Hiroshima 2 weeks previous.
Carp 3 - 5 Dragons
WP: Yu Sato 1IP 0ER 1SO Hirata 2-2, Matsui 4-2
LP: Randy Jackson 2/3IP 2ER 1SO Kikuchi 4-3, Tanaka 4-2
HR: Guerrero (6th), Viciedo (10th)
Shinnosuke Ogaswara's second start of the year wouldn't result in a win for the 19 year old, but it would be a win for the team as the Dragons out-hit the Carp for the first time in a long time to claim back to back wins.
The home team took the lead in the second through Matsui and doubled their advantage through Matsui again in the 4th. Kikuchi and Ishihara would level things for the Carp in the 5th and 6th but Guerrero's 8th homer of the campaign in the bottom of the 6th would give the Dragons the lead once more.
It wasn't to last however as Kikuchi struck in the 9th to send the game into extras. Dayan Viciedo was to be the man of the moment however as his 2-run homer in the 10th sealed a walk-off win for the home side.
Carp 1 - 2 Dragons
WP: Katsuki Matayoshi 7IP 1ER 3SO Kamezawa 3-2, Fujii 3-2
LP: Aren Kuri 7IP 1ER 4SO Noma 3-1, Maru 3-1
Katsuki Matayoshi kept the Carp awfully quiet as he fished a win into existence on the back of a good batting display.
Atsushi Fujii would take the lead for the Dragons in the 2nd while Abe evened up things for the Carp in the 4th. It was however to be a Viciedo that broke the dead lock despite hitting into a double play to score Kamezawa.
The Dragons bullpen would hold strong as Mitsuma, Iwase and Tajima did their jobs to finish off a close win.
Carp 4 - 7 Dragons
WP: Kazuki Yoshimi 5IP 1ER 2SO Oshima 3-2, Viciedo 3-2
LP: Yuya Fukui 6IP 3ER 6SO Maru 5-3
HR: Tanaka (7th), Guerrero (8th)
Yuya Yanagi joined the first team for the first time this season replacing Yudai Ono but he was found not needed this time around as the Dragons held firm once more the claim a wonderful sweep over the Carp.
Viciedo would help grab the lead in the 1st before Seiya Suzuki returned fire in the 3rd. It was however to be Viciedo again who would push the Dragons into the lead in the third. A solo homer from Kosuke Tanaka would however prove to be an interruption.
However RBIs from Oshima and Viciedo put the Dragons on top once more.At 5-2 the Carp fought back through Abe and Nishikawa to put the Carp within one but Guerrero's blast followed by Kyoda's RBI single sealed an important win for the Dragons and finally give Kazuki Yoshimi his first win of the year.
This series was a fantastic moral boosting one that I hope teaches the rest of the Central League not to underestimate us. The bats have been hot this month and they are putting plenty together. With Viciedo and Guerrero starting to get it done at the plate, there's no end to what this side could accomplish with a bit more luck.