Baseball Prospectus's Kevin Goldstein, stuck in a hotel in Seattle while on a book tour for the 2009 BP annual, predicts that Japan will score two in this inning.
Hiroyuki Nakajima leads off with a grounder to the shortstop hole. Ki Hyuk Park gets to the ball, but Nakajima beats the throw for an infield single, Japan's third off Bong in this game. Norichika Aoki then hits a line drive right at second baesman Young Min Ko, but the ball tips off Ko's glove and dribbles into shallow right putting men on first and second for cleanup hitter Kenji Johjima with no outs. The play is correctly ruled an E4.
Johjima shows bunt. Oy. Johjima then bunts foul on 1-0 and 1-1. Double oy. The count's now 1-2 on Johjima, who taps a grounder to third. Bum Ho Lee fires to second base, just beating Aoki with his throw, leaving runners on the corners with one out for Michihiro Ogasawara.
With Japan in the middle of a rally, ESPN keeps cutting to Bud Selig in the booth with the ESPN announcers. C'mon. Show the game!
Ogasawara pokes a curve through the first-base hole under the feet of Johjima, pushing Nakajima home with the first run of the game.
Men on first and second for Seiichi Uchikawa, who pokes a changeup through the same hole to load the bases for Kenta Kurihara with one out.
Kurihara quickly falls behind 0-2, swinging over a changeup for strike two. A fastball sails high for ball one. Another just misses to make it 2-2. Jung Keun Bong is over 70 pitches at this point. Kurihara fouls off a fastball, then taps into a 5-4-3 double play to kill the rally.
Kevin was close . . .