June 17th, 2012
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 2
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LWWLW
|W: Ishikawa (5-6; 3.26 ERA) L: Takeda (4-3; 1.81) S: Barnette (1-1, 16 S; 2.42)|
That’s right. Came back and won it in the 9th inning!
|Milledge (CF)||1||Itoi (RF)|
|Tanaka (2B)||2||Koyano (3B)|
|Kawabata (SS)||3||Tanaka (2B)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Nakata (LF)|
|Balentien (RF)||5||Inaba (1B)|
|Miyamoto (DH)||6||Yoh (CF)|
|Matsui (LF)||7||Nioka (DH)|
|Aikawa (C)||8||Kaneko (SS)|
|Morioka (3B)||9||Ono (C)|
|Ishikawa (P)||-||Takeda (P)|
Overall, the birds had another rough day at the plate. This contest remained a pitcher’s duel for much of the afternoon, and Tokyo was outhit 5-6.
But Balentien stepped up big time in the ninth with a two-out monster shot into the bleachers in left-center to give the birds the last gasp win and a winning record on their four-game northern tour.
The three-run dinger, his 15th of the season, was Coco’s only hit of the game. He grounded out to short, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, and flew out
to right in his first three trips to the plate today.
In fact, it was his first hit since the last time he won a game in the top of the ninth with a three-run blast. This past Wednesday.
Tokyo only threatened once before the ninth. Back in the third, Matsui’s double and Milledge’s walk put runners on first and second with two outs, but Tanaka lined out to the pitcher to end the fun.
Hokkaido scored its runs in the fifth and sixth with the help of a double and triple, respectively.
And even though they weren’t scoring much, Takeda was pitching a great game for the Fighters. His slow and slower offspeed pitches kept the birds off-balance for most of the game, and only a couple of players actually made solid contact in this game (Miyamoto’s fly ball to the warning track in the fifth comes to mind).
Ishikawa threw 110 pitches during 8.1 innings of work. He was hooked after getting Hokkaido’s Tanaka to ground out to our Tanaka. Ogawa opted to avoid another Ishikawa run-in with Nakata, Hokkaido’s annoying Kiyohara-esque left fielder, who had made good contact in his previous two at-bats.
Barnette took the mound with one out and nobody on. He walked (questionable call) Nakata on a full count, but then he got former Swallow, Inaba, to fly out to Milledge in center, and then wrapped things up by overpowering Yoh with a couple of heaters.
Ishikawa got the win on six hits, three strikeouts, and one walk. After only allowing two runs (both earned), his ERA dipped slightly to 3.26, and his record improved to 5-6.
Meanwhile, Barnette earned the save after facing three batters, issuing one walk, and striking out one. It was his third save this week, and his ERA improved to 2.42 while his 16th save of the season keeps him in second place in the Central League standings.
Tokyo’s final Interleague game is scheduled for Tuesday at Jingu against the Chiba Marines. First pitch is scheduled for 6PM. This is the make-up game for the cancelled game two Saturdays ago (June 9th).
Kawabata was the only Tokyo player to reach base twice. He singled in both his third and fourth at-bats. Along with Tanaka, he was one of runners that Coco’s round-tripper pushed home.
This game lasted just two hours and 49 minutes.
36,032 tickets were sold to this game. 34,000 of the ticket holders were obviously women because their shrill screams caused me to turn the volume on the TV down every time it was the Fighters turn to bat.
With this win, the Swallows climbed into 10th place in the Interleague standings. They now have an Interleague record of 9-14.
At 28-27-3 on the year, the Swallows are 4.5 games behind second place Yomiuri and 5.5 games behind Chunichi in first.