6/23/12 – Yomiuri (Away)

June 23rd, 2012

Tokyo Swallows 4

Yomiuri Giants 7

Streak: Lost 1  Last 5: LWLWL

(Tokyo Dome)

Tokyo’s offense heats up in the first, but it wouldn’t be enough as Tokyo starter, Muranaka, gets hooked before the end of a disastrous fourth inning.

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W: Mathieson (2-0; 1 S; 1.71 ERA)
L: Yamamoto (0-1; 2.16 ERA)

And the silencing of Tokyo’s bats after the first didn’t help either.

The birds put out a very similar lineup to what they used in Nagano last night.

TokyoOrderYomiuri
Milledge (LF)1Chono (CF)
Tanaka (2B)2Terauchi (2B)
Kawabata (SS)3Sakamoto (SS)
Hatakeyama (1B)4Murata (3B)
Balentien (RF)5Abe (C)
Miyamoto (3B)6Takahashi (RF)
Matsui (CF)7E. Gonzalez (1B)
Nakamura (C)8Tani (LF)
Muranaka (P)9Sawamura (P)

In the top of the first, Milledge drew a full count walk to begin Sawamura’s one forgettable inning of the game. Tanaka bunted him over, and Kawabata brought him home on a 2-2 slider that ended up in center field.

1-0 Tokyo.

Hatakeyama then flew out harmlessly to right before Balentien absolutely wrecked the first pitch he saw. The two-run dinger was his league-leading 18th of the year.

3-0 Tokyo.

But that was pretty much it for the Swallows offense. Sawamura settled down, and aside from Muranaka’s single with two outs in the second, the birds

No doubt about that one.

didn’t trouble Sawamura after that.

Muranaka threw two perfect innings on 28 pitches to begin the evening. He wobbled a bit in the third as the Giants were able to get runners on the corners with two outs, but a Terauchi fly ball to right let Muranaka off the hook.

The wheels fell off in the bottom of the fourth though. With the birds still leading 3-0, Muranaka struck Sakamoto out to give the visiting fans a false sense of security. Murata then worked a full count and bundled a fastball into center. He would score on Abe’s ensuing double to the gap between center and left.

3-1.

After getting ahead of Takahshi 2-0, Muranaka proceeded to walk him to put runners on first and second. Just for good measure, he walked Edgar Gonzalez as well.

Bases loaded.

Tani then popped up to Tanaka at second to help Muranaka get a little closer to the exit.

But Hara then gambled and pulled his starter after only four innings (53 pitches) in favor of pinch-hitter, Kajimae. And the gamble paid off as Kajimae drew Muranaka’s third walk of the inning to push another run across home plate.

3-2.

Chono then put an end to Muranaka’s start as hit singled to right and scored both Takahashi and Gonzalez.

3-4 Yomiuri.

Hirai replaced Muranaka on the mound, and after re-juicing the bases by plunking Terauchi with his second pitch, he got Sakamoto to fly out to left with his seventh.

Tokyo leveled in the fourth thanks to Morioka’s pinch-hit walk and Milledge’s single. That put runners on the corners for Tanaka who executed an excellent squeeze bunt down the first base line.

4-4.

But things only went downhill from there. Milledge’s single in the fifth was Tokyo’s fourth and final hit of the evening.

In fact, save for Nakamura’s walk in the seventh, the Swallows sat down in order for the rest of the game. Feathered batters struck out six times over the final four frames of this contest.

Meanwhile, Yomiuri scored one run in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to put the game out of reach.

4-7 Final.

Pitching

Muranaka threw 81 pitches through three and two-thirds innings. He faced 19 batters, gave up four hits, struck out two, and walked four. He allowed four runs, all of them earned, but was able to escape being tagged with the loss thanks to Tanaka’s squeeze bunt in the fifth. His record remains 4-2, but his ERA bulged to 3.68.

Hirai (17th appearance, 4.91 ERA), Yamamoto (7, 2.16), Shoda (5, 1.50), Hidaka (28, 1.69), and Oshimoto (25, 4.15) all made relief appearances. Yamamoto took the loss after allowing Yomiuri’s go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth.

Hidaka and Oshimoto also allowed one run each although Oshimoto’s wasn’t earned.

Hitting

Milledge was 1-3 at the plate and was the only Tokyo player to reach base twice in this game (first inning walk).

Notes:

42,081 people allegedly paid for tickets to this game.

Despite the loss, Tokyo leads the season series against Yomiuri 6-3-1.

The next game of this series is scheduled for 2PM tomorrow at Tokyo Dome.

Ishikawa is penciled in to start against Yomiuri’s Sugiuchi.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini