September 11th, 2011
Tokyo Swallows 4
Streak: Won 6 Last 5: WWWWW
The Birds continue their success, as the Tigers continue to make costly errors.
|WP: Matsuoka (2-1) LP: Enokida (2-3) S: Lim (24)|
|1||2B Hirano||1||CF Aoki|
|2||CF Shibata||2||2B Tanaka|
|3||SS Toritani||3||SS Kawabata|
|4||3B Arai||4||1B Hatakeyama|
|5||RF Murton||5||LF Takeuchi|
|6||LF Kanemoto||6||3B Miyamoto|
|7||1B Morita||7||RF Balentien|
|8||C Fujii||8||C Aikawa|
|9||P Messenger||9||P Masubuchi|
In the finale of this three game set, both teams were chomping at the bit to get a victory. Both starting pitchers came out looking to set the tone early. Both were pretty much successful over the first three innings. With Balentien the only batter reaching base, courtesy of a walk.
After the Tigers again went down in order in the top half of the fourth, the Swallows bats decided to come out of the humidor. Tanaka started things off with a walk. After Kawabata flew out, Hatakeyama hit a sharp grounder to third. Arai fielded it cleanly but was unable to get the force out at second. So both Tanaka and Hatakeyama were safe. Up walked the elder statesman of the team, Miyamoto. Reminding us all why he is still playing this game, Miyamoto hit a perfect ball just over Arai’s head and down the third base line to score both Tanaka and Hatakeyama. 2 – 0 Tokyo
Miyamoto made it to second safely but would advance to third after a wild pitch by Messenger. Balentien would be walked AGAIN! So that put runners on the corners with two outs. Messenger would issue another walk to Aikawa which would load the bases for ”Snoochi-boochee” Masabuchi. As good as he was performing on the mound, Masabuchi’s bat was doing the opposite. He did get a good crack on a ball but it went right to the second baseman, who easily threw out Masabuchi at first. That would end the inning.
The Tigers would eventually get a few hits in the top of the sixth which would lead to their first run. After Messenger struck out to start the inning, Hirano walked. Shibata followed that with an infield single. Toritani lined out to Miyamoto for the second out of the inning. Arai followed that with a double down the right field line, scoring Hirano and moving Shibata to third. 2 – 1 Tokyo
Murton would hit a soft grounder back to Matsui to end the threat.
The 8th inning is where the game was decided. First up were Hanshin. Being down a run, they needed to score, otherwise they would face Lim in the top of the ninth. Kubo was now on the hill for the Birds. Hirano welcomed him to the game by leading the inning off with a single up the middle. Sekimoto came into pitch hit and bunted Hirano over to second. With one out, Toritani was up. The bumblebees in left were stomping and cheering for Toritani to do something to tie up the game. Unfortunately for those in blue, he did. He hit a single to right that would bring in Hirano from second. 2 -2
Arai would get another single to put runners on 1st and 2nd. That meant Murton was up next. He hit a laser right to Kawabata who quickly threw to Tanaka at second to double up Toritani.
Now with the game tied the Birds were sweating a little bit more than normal. However, the Tokyo bench was staying positive and up-beat as they had the top of the order coming to bat. Aoki was the first batter of the inning. However, both he and Tanaka would ground out to put the Birds in a bit of a bind. Enokida was doing a good job of getting the Birds batters to swing at close pitches. However, Kawabata wasn’t biting and would get a walk for his efforts. Now with 2 outs and a runner on first and the game tied, the loyal Swallows fans were hoping for a hit from Hatakeyama. They got more than that. “Boo” hit a deep ball to left-center that cleared the fence by the hair on his chinny chin chin. Quieting the bumblebee fans and elating the Tokyo supporters. 4 – 2 Tokyo (final)
Iihara came into bat for Takeuchi but was only able to ground out to third and that was the end of the Swallows eighth.
Lim came into close out the ninth. He struck out the first two men he faced and got Shunsuke to line out to Kawabata to end the game.
The Birds swept the Tigers for the first time in 2 years.
The Tigers committed 7 errors over the three games.
Nearly 22,000 were in attendance.
Swallows are 9-1 in the month of September.
Swallows now have a 5 game lead over Chunichi and 5.5 game lead over the Giants.