5/9/12 – Chunichi (Away)

May 9th, 2012

Tokyo Swallows 3

Chunichi Dragons 8

Streak: Lost 3 Last 5: WWLLL

(Gifu Stadium)

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W: Nakata (3-1); L: Muranaka (3-2)

Chunichi widened their lead over Tokyo in the standings with a convincing win. Not a fun game for the Swallows, to say the least.

 Tokyo Chunichi
1Tanaka (2B)1Oshima (CF)
2Fukuchi (CF)2Araki (2B)
3Milledge (LF)3Ibata (SS)
4Balentien (RF)4Wada (LF)
5Kawabata (SS)5Blanco (1B)
6Morioka (3B)6Fukuda (3B)
7Hatakeyama (1B)7Hirata (RF)
8Nakamura (C)8Tanishige (C)
9Muranaka (P)9Nakata (P)

Muranaka’s first three batters singled, sac-bunted, and singled again. After a weak Wada grounder moved the runners to scoring position, Muranaka fed Blanco two fastballs right down the middle, the second of which Blanco cranked into the stands. Muranaka followed that with a hit to Fukuda, a walk of Murata, and another hit to Tanishige, on which play, mercifully, Fukuda got caught for out three. 3-0 Chunichi.

In the top of the second, Kawabata was pulled in favor of Araki  just before his first at-bat. Despite a couple of hits, the Swallows failed to score any runs.

After pitching just about as god-awful a first inning as possible, Muranaka found his feet and struck out two in the second. He also gave up a double and let Oshima reach third, but managed to avoid disaster.

The Birds finally scored in the top of the third, when Fukuchi doubled to left and was driven in by a Balentien broken-bat single. 3-1 Chunichi.

Then the bottom of the third, and Muranaka’s trade to the Dragons was apparently complete but for the uniform. Wada, hit. Blanco, hit. Fukuda, ground out to put runners in scoring position. Hirata, walk to load the bases. Tanishige, two-RBI double. Then, finally, Nakata struck out in an act of huminatarian compassion for a fellow pitcher. 5-1 Chunichi.

In the bottom of the fourth, Muranaka finally sat down. Hirai took over and did only marginally better, giving up a two-run home run to Wada with Araki on base. 7-1 Chunichi.

Abe, Masubuchi, and Kyuko then each pitched an inning for Tokyo, giving up hits, but not runs. In the bottom of the eighth, though, the Swallows pushed their luck by leaving Kyuko on the mound and Blanco hit his second round-tripper of the night. 8-3 Chunichi, Final.

Wait. How did the Birds score?

In the top of the seventh, Hatakeyama started the inning with a single and was driven in by Masakazu Fukukawa, who hit a two-run homer for his first hit of the season (and raised his batting average from .000 to .500). At one point, it was 7-3 Chunichi.

Tokyo and Chunichi travel to Nagoya tomorrow, where the Swallows will try to avoid the sweep and close the standings gap.