October 12th, 2011
Chunichi Dragons 4
Streak: Lost 3 Last 5: LWLLL
|1||Fukuchi (LF)||1||Araki (SS)|
|2||Morioka (2B)||2||Ibata (2B)|
|3||Aoki (CF)||3||Morino (3B)|
|4||Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Blanco (1B)|
|5||Kawabata (SS)||5||Tanishige (C)|
|6||Miyamoto (3B)||6||Wada (LF)|
|7||Balentien (RF)||7||Hirata (RF)|
|8||Aikawa (C)||8||Oshima (CF)|
|9||Masubuchi (P)||9||Nelson (P)|
This was an uneventful, low-hitting game for five and a half innings. Masubuchi and Nelson were even pretty evenly matched in pitch count. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, starting at the top of the Chunichi order, Araki singled and made it to second on an Ibata ground-out, Morino walked, and Blanco hit an RBI double to the center-field fence to open up the scoring. Masubuchi must’ve been on a short leash, as he was immediately yanked for Oshimoto, who opened with a K against Tanishige, walked Wada to fill the bases, and, lukcily, got Hirata to pop out to end the inning. 1-0 Chunichi.
Tokyo made no reply and Matsui took the mound for the Birds in the seventh, notching a K in a 1-2-3 inning. The offense then came back up and sat right back down – Nelson was either getting better as the night went on, or the lanky Dominican righty has more endurance on the mound than the Swallows do in the batter’s box.
In the bottom of the eighth, Chunichi showed that they did, in fact, want to win the CL. Lim made an earlier appearance than he’s used to and got a quick out, followed by a seven-pitch out, then beaned Blanco and sat down. Matsuoka took over, looking for a chance to redeem himself, and walked Tanishige before giving up a three-run homer to left to the baldy from Gifu, Wada. The youngster Hidaka managed to secure the third out. 4-0 Chunichi.
Tokyo’s good for a little excitement, though, and the top of the ninth saw a rally.
Nelson walked Morioka and finally left the game, having given up three hits and no runs on 105 pitches in eight innings. Kobayashi took over for the Dragons and gave up a single to Aoki. Suzuki then took the mound to bean Hatake and fill the bases. (The youth Nakamura did the running.) The oft-dangerous Asao then took the mound, getting Kawabata out, but allowing Morioka to score. Miyamoto then drove in Aoki with a single (and was replaced on the basepaths by Noguchi). Balentien followed that by knocking in Nakamura with a line drive to left. Aikawa and Iihara then both struck out to end the rally and the game. 4-3 Chunichi, Final.
Nelson (10-14) took the win, Masubuchi (7-11) the loss.
The Swallows’ chances to retake the lead are growing fewer. Another chance to salvage a bit of pride against the Dragons come tomorrow night before the team comes back to Jingu for a one-off make-up with Hanshin that has become really important.