An inspiring start from the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat wasn't enough to hold off one of the world's greatest baseball sides, as the Yomiuri Giants outlasted the Heat for a 7-1 victory at Sajik Stadium earlier today.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Heat found themselves in unprecedented territory, leading the Yomiuri Giants 1-0 after a very impressive start where pitcher Anthony Claggett stifled the Giants' offense, while Tim Kennelly was able to capitalise with a two-out RBI single to score Corey Adamson.
After going hitless in Thursday night's 6-1 loss, Corey Adamson came out swinging from the first pitch driving the ball up the middle giving the Heat drive for the first half of the game. Adam Melker immediately followed with a hit of his own, however the Heat were not able to capitalise on their early advantage.
Any fears of the Giants offense taking an early lead were unfounded, with Anthony Claggett throwing back to back 1-2-3 innings. Through the fourth inning, Claggett had still faced the minimum amount of batters thanks to a great pickoff to get Tetsuya Matsumoto at first and de San Miguel throwing out Daisuke Fujimora at second.
In the sixth inning the Heat really piled the pressure on the Giants and Tim Kennelly was able to break through with an important RBI single. The momentum was lost however as the Giants manager Tatsunori Hara was forced to play his big hand, bringing in batting title winner Shinnosuke Abe in the bottom of the seventh in what would be a three-run inning for the Giants. The Giants kept their good form in the eighth inning as the Heat made two crucial errors that allowed another three runs to score, the latter finally facing an insurmountable 7-1 deficit.
At the post game press conference Manager Steve Fish addressed the Korean and Japanese media on the team's impressive early performance in this game. "I'm very happy with how we played today, especially everything we did right up to the sixth inning. We were let down defensively by allowing four extra outs to the Japanese Champions however Anthony Claggett pitched extremely well and his performance was exactly what we needed in this game. Our relievers came in and threw strikes too but the tempo of the game was decided by one error in sixth inning."
Giants Manager Tatsunori Hara paid tribute to the Heat's performance. "The Perth Heat's starting pitcher threw very well and he was the reason we had such a hard time early in the game. It wasn't in the plan to bring out Abe, but in the seventh inning with the game tied at 1-1, we really needed his bat in that situation and he came through."
The Heat head home on Monday to prepare for their home opener against the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces starting on Friday the 16th at 7:20pm. Tickets for the game and the Championship Ring presentation are available here.