April 15th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 1
Streak: Won 2 Last 5: WLLWW
The Swallows go 2 for 2 in Matsuyama against Yoyo, I mean, Toyo Hiroshima Carp. After last nights outburst by the Swallows, the bats cooled off this fine Sunday afternoon. Still, thanks in large part to Tanaka, the Swallows did enough to win this one.
|1||Soyogi (SS)||1||Ueda (CF)|
|2||Higashide (2B)||2||Tanaka (2B)|
|3||Stavinoha (LF)||3||Milledge (LF)|
|4||Kurihara (1B)||4||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|5||Aizawa (RF)||5||Kawabata (SS)|
|6||Hirose (CF)||6||Miyamoto (3B)|
|7||Dohbayashi (3B)||7||Balentien (RF)|
|8||Shirahama (C)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|9||Nomura (P)||9||Akagawa (P)|
Today’s “hero’s”, Tanaka and Akagawa, were the main story from today’s game. Besides some fine defensive plays, there was not much offense in todays game. As you can see from the boxscore below, both starting pitchers did very well. Thankfully, Tanaka was able to knock the ball around the park today.
|W: Akagawa (1-1, 1.39 ERA) L: Nomura (1-1, 0.90 ERA)
S: Barnette (4)
In what turned out to be a great pitching performance from both teams, a few lucky breaks went the Swallows way and Akagawa got the victory. However, the win was not an easy one.
Things did not start off well for Akagawa. He walked Soyogi to start the game. Then Higashide bunted Soyogi over to second. With Stavinoha up, Nakamura decided to take a pitch off and dropped the first pitch Akagawa threw to Stavinoha. This allowed Soyogi to move to third with ease. Both pitcher and catcher looked a little uneasy at this point. However, that was quickly taken care of when Akagawa collected the come-backer from Stavinoha, looked to third, and calmly threw to first for the force out. Kurihara flew out to left to end the early threat.
We pick up the action in the bottom of the third. After a fly-out by Balentien, Nakamura walked. After a few attempts, Akagawa finally bunted him over to second. With two outs, Ueda also walked. That brought Tanaka to the plate. The second pitch he saw was smacked down the right field line. Kurihara made a valiant attempt to jump for the liner but the best he could do was only slightly alter the path of the ball. This might have made the difference in the inning as Stavinoha got to the ball very quickly. However, the ball had lost its speed while Nakamura was gaining speed around third. He was easily safe at home, as were all the runners. Milledge would ground out to end the inning.
In what was a repeated occurrence in this game, Hiroshima would strand two runners in the top half of the fourth. They also had another threat stomped out on a 5-4-3 double play in the 6th.
The last serious threat from Hiroshima was in the 7th inning. Hirose lead off the inning with a single to center. Dohbayashi bunted him over to second. Shirahama walked to put runners on 1st and 2nd and only one out. Not facing enough of a challenge, Akagawa hit Kokubo to load the bases. Soyogi bailed out Akagawa by popping up the pitch and being called out on the infield fly rule. Higashide grounded out to Kawabata to end the inning.
Not much excitement came until the top of the ninth. With the Birds clinging to a 1-run lead, they turned to Barnette to secure the game. The inning opened up with a single by Dohbayashi. Kurihama bunted him over to second. Maeda came to bat and hit a grounder back up the middle. Kawabata was able to chase it down and throw him out in time. With Dohbayashi now only 90 feet away from tying the game, Barnette had to buckle down and get the last out of the inning and the game. In what I can only say as a great play (with a snarky smile on my face) by Barnette, the game ended like this:
Barnette leaped and caught the ball; drops the ball; picks it up and threw to first in time for the out; and fell over.
- Three of the Swallows 4 hits came from Tanaka (Iihara getting the other)
- 16006 were in attendance to watch this 3 hour and 5 minute affair
- Miyamoto was unable to reach base; he is still 14 shy of the magic number
- Barnette picked up his 4th save of the season
- The Birds have a tough week ahead. They play three games on the road against Hanshin and face their Tokyo neighbors at Jingu Friday thru Sunday.
- With Hanshin sitting atop the table and Tokyo in a tie for second, this looks to be an important showdown for both teams.