June 8th, 2012
Chiba Lotte Marines 4
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 13
Streak: Won 2 Last 5: WWLWW
Welcome back Mr Balentien!
Tonight saw the return of Wladimir Balentien to Jingu and to the starting line-up. He made his mark in his first two at-bats.
|W: Muranaka (4-2); L: Fujioka (4-2)|
Coco was not alone in his sweet swinging as you can see from the above table. Although he went 3 for 3 with a walk, the rest of the team contributed 12 hits. Both teams combined for a total of 25 hits but the Swallows were able to get more of those runners home.
|1||Milledge (CF)||1||Okada (CF)|
|2||Tanaka (2B)||2||Nemoto (SS)|
|3||Kawabata (SS)||3||Iguchi (2B)|
|4||Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Saburo (LF)|
|5||Balentien (RF)||5||Kakunaka (RF)|
|6||Miyamoto (3B)||6||Imae (3B)
|7||Miyade (LF)||7||Ohmatsu (1B)|
|8||Aikawa (C)||8||Satozaki (C)|
|9||Akagawa (P)||9||Fujioka (P)|
Things jumped off quickly tonight at Jingu. In the top half of the second, the Marines jumped out to an early lead when Kakunaka walked and Imae followed with a triple. Fujioka helped his own cause by knocking in Imae a few batters later. 2 – 0 Chiba
The Swallows would answer right back when Coco knocked the second pitch he saw into the scoreboard in straight away center. 2 – 1 Chiba
Miyade would hit a double in the inning but nobody else crossed the plate for the swallows before the inning ended.
After a 1-2-3 inning in the top half of the third, the Birds bats were a swinging. Milledge started things off with a single. Sac bunt specialist Tanaka did his thing for the first out in the inning. Kawabata then walked. Hatakeyama then hit a grounder towards Iguchi at second. In what appeared to be a routine double play ball, turned into an error and the bases were loaded. I struggle to describe this play. It looked like Iguchi’s knee just gave out on him as he was attempting to field the ball and the ball ends up rolling into shallow right field. In any event, that meant Coco was back at the plate. Before being sent down to nigun, Coco often seemed to think he needed to swing for the fences when he was at bat with the bases-loaded. However, he was hardly ever successful at doing that. More often than not, he would fly-out to end the threat. So, one can assume he was probably reminded of this and told to just make contact. And gee-wiz kids. Guess what happened? Coco went with the pitch and hit a single to right that knocked in two. 3 – 2 Tokyo
Of course, when you are over 40 and have more than 2,000 hits, you play by different rules. So, Miyamoto was given the green light to do as he pleased. He then proceeded to hit a lovely 3-run blast into the left-field stands. 6 – 2 Tokyo
The inning would end with Miyade and Aikawa grounding out and striking out, respectively.
The Marines would get two more back over the next two innings.
Kiyota, batting in place of Fujioka, would knock in a run in the 4th. 6 – 3 Tokyo
Nemoto would score a run in the 5th after hitting a double to lead off the inning. He would score after a sac-fly and a ground out by Saburo. 6 – 4 Tokyo
However, that would be as close as the Marines would get. Over the next three innings, Tokyo would tack on 8 more runs to their lead. I’ll let you absorb that for a second… That’s right 8 more runs in three innings! I think we went about 5 games during the great losing streak of May 2012 to score 8 runs. Well, May is over and June is here. Sorry, I digress.
In their half of the 5th, the Swallows scored a run. After Boo singled, Coco walked to put runners on first and second. Matsui came to bat for Miyade. He hit a lovely little single to center to score, Boo.
7 – 4 Tokyo
In the 6th, the Marines sent in Carlos to attempt to slow down the Birds. That didn’t happen. After Muranaka nearly hit a HR to left-center (he flew out at the fence) Milledge singled. Although Tanaka hit a grounder to third for the second out, Milledge would advance to second. Kawabata then hit an RBI double to score Milledge. Boo was the final out of the inning. 8 – 4 Tokyo
And then came the 7th inning. For the second time tonight, Tokyo would score 5 runs in one inning. The inning started off with Balentien hitting a single to center. He was replaced by Fukuichi on the bases, and would move to second on a bunt by Tanaka. Matsui would follow that by getting hit by a pitch. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Aikawa strolled to the plate. The captain delivered a single back up the middle to score Fukuichi from second. 9 – 4 Tokyo
Fujimoto would fly out to deep right field for the second out of the inning. Matsui would move to third on the play, though. Milledge would deliver another hit and knock in yet another run for Tokyo. 10 – 4 Tokyo
Tanaka, given permission to swing freely, then hits a triple to left-center, scoring Aikawa and Milledge. 12 – 4 Tokyo
Not to miss out on the hit parade, Kawabata hit a single to left to score the final run of the game.
13 – 4 Tokyo
Lim pitched the 8th and Shoda the 9th.
Notes and musings:
- Coco was an obvious choice for the player of the match, but Milledge would have been a good second choice. He went 3 for 5 tonight with an RBI and two runs scored.
- Chiba used 5 pitchers in defeat, while the Swallows used 4 in victory.
- 19,153 people were in attendance tonight
- The costly error by Iguchi in the 3rd really altered the game.
- Akagawa started and pitched only four innings and thus got a no decision.
- Muranaka was credited with the win after pitching 3 innings.
- Chiba leads this years battle 2-1. Tokyo will try and salvage a draw in the series when these two teams go at it tomorrow
- Ishikawa is scheduled to start for the Swallows while Katsuki is scheduled to take the mound for Chiba
- First pitch is at 3 pm. The first Swallows run will be scored at 3:17 pm! So get there early!