FUKUOKA – Shota Takeda might’ve opened the Japan Series with a three-hit shutout had the game been played in 2014. It wasn’t, so instead of a shutout, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks pitcher gave up a two-out two-run home run to Tokyo Yakult Swallows slugger Kazuhiro Hatakeyama in the ninth inning of a 4-2 victory in Game 1 on Saturday night.
Takeda fell victim to a talented power hitter in that instance, but the fact the Hawks moved in the walls at Yafuoku Dome over the winter certainly didn’t help him out in Game 1. Last year, Hatekeyama’s strike was a double at worst. This year, it was a home run.