May 4th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 8
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LWWLW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
Miyamoto got his two-thousandth hit, which got the Swallows more TV coverage than they’ve had in an age, but that was hardly the most exciting part of this afternoon’s slug fest.
|W: Masubuchi (1-0); L: Fukui (1-2)|
The rain-soaked early innings were kind to Tokyo. The foul weather didn’t deter a capacity crowd from gathering for a holiday afternoon game at which the Swallows’ senpai of senpai stood almost certain of reaching the 2,000-hit milestone.
|1||Soyogi (SS)||1||Tanaka (2B)|
|2||Kokubo (2B)||2||Ueda (CF)|
|3||Hirose (CF)||3||Milledge (LF)|
|4||Nick (LF)||4||Balentien (RF)|
|5||Aizawa (RF)||5||Kawabata (SS)|
|6||Matsuyama (1B)||6||Miyamoto (3B)|
|7||Dobayashi (3B)||7||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|8||Kura (C)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|9||Fukui (P)||9||Akagawa (P)|
Akagawa gave up two walks (vs. one K) in the first, but pitched a 1-2-3 second, which brought up Balentien to start a bonanza for the Birds. On a 2-1 count, Coco knocked one just left of the Kirin ad in center to, as Nakamura’s entrance tune puts it, “just knock one out, even if I’ve got to do it solo.”
Kawabata walked, then Miyamoto batted a low and away fastball (Fukui’s control was not to be envied) to center for hit number two-thousand. Pause for hullabaloo.
Hatakeyama then singled to drive in Kawabata. Fukui then walked Nakamura to load the bases and made everyone wait in the rain while he blamed it on the mound. The runners went into the dugout, the grounds crew came out, the spectators soaked up the rain, then play resumed.
Akagawa popped out, but Tanaka drove in a run on a sac fly (a stat a bit too oft-rewarded, methinks). Ueda followed that with a double to drive in Hatake. All the mound’s fault, mind you. Milledge grounded out to end the inning. 4-0 Tokyo.
In the top of the third, the Carp got some revenge. Fukui hit (good thing, given that he couldn’t pitch today), as did Hirose. Nick then homered them in. 4-3 Tokyo.
What to do, feathered friends? Start the bottom of the third with Balentien again. Wham! (But, like, with two George Michaels. And Lemmy.) Homer to left.
Kawabata doubled. Miyamoto walked. Nakamura hit an RBI single. 6-3 Tokyo.
Dobayashi led off the the fourth for the Carp and hit one to deep center. Ueda went back, back, back. . . and crashed into the wall so hard it hurt Aoki in San Francisco. Dobayashi made it to third, and Ueda stayed in the game after a chat with the trainers. He was replaced by Fukuchi when Tokyo went on offense, though. The greater Tsubamegun, obviously, hopes our center-fielder is all right.
The Carp made the obvious choice and pulled Fukui in favor of the pinch-hitting Maru, who hit an RBI single. 6-4 Tokyo.
In the bottom of the fourth, Fukuchi and Milledge singled. Kawabata grounded out, but drove in a run. 7-4 Tokyo.
Masubuchi took over on the mound in the fifth and did very well indeed.
On offense, Hatake doubled and Nakamura singled him to third. Tanaka hit a big RBI single when he came up. 8-4 Tokyo, Final.
Hirai, Oshimoto, and Barnette all pitched decent innings for the home side. (Barnette again wound up his work on a low count – a mere eight pitches.)
As always, the Hiroshimans proved to be our favorite guests. We like it when they lose, but we must admit that we pull for them against any other CL team except, maybe Yokohama.
No, scratch that. We feel bad for Yokohama’s long-suffering fans, but Carp fans are better. We want to end Hiroshima’s season in game three (aka “four”) of Stage Two at Jingu in the Fall. They’re good folks. Another game against them tomorrow evening.
As tomorrow’s another holiday, why not have a burger? Try topping it with blue cheese, browned onions, and bacon. Call it the “Jingu Burger”.