October 29th, 2011
Tokyo Swallows 3
Series: Swallows Lead 1-0
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
|W: Muranaka L: Takagi S: Lim|
Tokyo came from behind to down their beloved neighbours off the back of a Tateyama-Muranaka starter’s relay and, thank the lord of your choice, some timely hitting.
[table “68” not found /]
In a packed and buzzing Jingu it was Tateyama, not Ishikawa as expected, who took the mound to start the key game one of this best of three series. And he was made to work from the off as the pesky (no make that the completely f*cking annoying) Sakamoto battled eleven pitches before Tateyama got him to ground out to third. After striking out Terauchi for out number two, a single for Chono and a walk for Abe followed, but Swallows old-boy turned gurning Giants entertainer Ramirez grounded out to the pitcher to strand the two runners.
Sawamura on the other hand, had far less trouble sitting down Swallows batters early on, and it wasn’t until the third inning before they mustered a hit, via a single for Morioka.
And it was the Giants who got on the board first in the top of the 4th. With one out, Ramirez hit a pacey grounder to first, which the diving Hatake couldn’t quite come up with, meaning everyone’s favourite Venezuelan was safe at first. Ogasawara then singled to right, with Ramirez somehow managing to waddle his way to third, with him then somewhat questionably being called safe. Another single along the rightfield foul line followed for Takahashi, and it was 1-0 Yomiuri. With men again on the corners, Tateyama struck out Furuki to strand another pair of orange runners.
But Tokyo would tie things up in the bottom of the 5th. Back to back two-out singles for Morioka and Aikawa put two men on, and Jingu got a touch more anxious as Tateyama was sacrificed for Fujimoto. But, just as he did in the regular season closer against Hiroshima, he came up with the goods as he hit one back up the middle for a 1-1 scoreline.
With Tatayama now seated, it was Muranaka who got the call to try to pitch out the game, and he was in a word, immense. After giving up a single to get the 6th inning underway, he then sat down eleven men in order.
And he got himself a lead in the bottom of the 6th. Despite having thrown only 73 pitches, Sawamura was switched for Takagi. Which was good news for the Swallows, as if it was going to come down to a battle of the bullpens, then I’d put good money on ours vs their’s everytime. And my optimism was proved well-founded as Takagi allowed a one out single for Tanaka, and then Aoki got on board courtesy of a comical Ogasawara error at first. Takagi made way for the ultimate fugly, Nishimura, and he continued the theme by walking Hatake to load the bases.
Up stepped Miyamoto, and he hit a sacfly to centre, which was good enough to score Tanaka to give the Swallows a 2-1 lead. But Tokyo weren’t done yet, as with men on the corners Balentien hit a blooper, which just evaded Terauchi at second and made it 3-1 Tokyo.
And with Muranaka dominating on the mound, that lead never really looked threatened. And indeed, Kyohei came within one out of closing out the came, but a rather lucky swing for the pinch hitting Ohmura saw the ball just sneaking over the fence to the left of the scoreboard, and it was 3-2.
In came Lim to get Sakamoto to fly out to second, and that was good enough for a 3-2 Tokyo Final.
So then, a fairly comfortable win in the end for the Swallows, with the pitching of Tatayama (5IP/98P/6H/7K/2BB/1ER), and Muranaka (3.2IP/49P/2H/3K/0BB/1ER) giving the Swallows bats a platform to win. Which they did with some very uncharacteristic (for the month of October at least) timely hitting.
Muranaka and Miyamoto were selected for the post-game hero interviews, but by that point most of the Swallows supporting half of the stadium were likely too sozzled to listen to anything they had to say. Or perhaps it was just me.
Sunday’s game 2 starters are more than likely going to be Ishikawa for the Swallows, vs all around bitch-boy Utsumi for Yomiuri. Let’s hope we can make Utsumi cry like the bitch he is on the bench for the umpteenth time in his career.