July 4th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 12
Streak: Won 3 Last 5: WLWWW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
After last night’s drubbing of the Dragons, some of us were worried that the other shoe would drop. Luckily those worries were quickly blown away as the Swallows offense, lead by Lastings Milledge, blew the cover off the ball for the second night in a row.
|W: Tateyama (6-5); L: Yudai (3-3)|
|1||Masahiro Araki (2B)||1||Lastings Milledge (LF)|
|2||Yohei Oshima (CF)||2||Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)|
|3||Kazuhiro Wada (LF)||3||Shingo Kawabata (SS)|
|4||Tony Blanco (1B)||4||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|5||Hirokazu Ibata (SS)||5||Wladimir Balentien (RF)|
|6||Masahiko Morino (3B)||6||Shinya Miyamoto (3B)|
|7||Takehiro Donoue (RF)||7||Jun Matsui (CF)|
|8||Nobumasa Fukuda (C)||8||Ryoji Aikawa (C)|
|9||Yudai (Kawai) (P)||9||Shohei Tateyama (P)|
The Dragons actually drew first blood in tonight’s game in the second inning. Blanco lead off the inning for the Dragons with a walk. Ibata followed with a hard-to-field chopper to Kawabata that the young shortstop wasn’t able to field and was ruled an error. Morino gave up the first out but advanced Blanco to put men on the corners with 1 out. Takehiro Donoue cashed in Blanco on a single to right. 1-0 Dragons
Things were slow going for the Swallows offense until the third inning. The Swallows gave up 2 outs in the third to bring Tateyama to the plate, but Yudai managed to walk the pitcher on 5 pitches. Milledge made Yudai pay one pitch later with a towering shot into the left field stands for the lead. 2-1 Swallows
Things got worse for the Dragons in the fourth. Kawabata lead off the inning with a sharp hit to right. At that point, the Dragons decided to lift Yudai who had only thrown 45 pitches up to that point. The Dragons handed the ball to Hiroyasu Tanaka’s doppleganger, Yamai. He didn’t fare much better than Yudai. Hatake grounded the first pitch he saw to Morino who couldn’t cleanly field and throw the ball to first, and the big man was safe on the error. Balentien singled to right to load the bases. Miyamoto lined a ball up the middle to score Kawabata from third. 3-1 Swallows Matsui struck out for the Swallows’ first out of the inning, but Aikawa was able to widen the gap by getting a single to right to score 2 and put men on the corners. 5-1 Swallows With Tateyama up to bat, it looked like the Swallows were content to slow down the game and give up an out to save Tateyama’s legs. Even with Tateyama clearly showing bunt, the Dragons weren’t able to prevent Miyamoto from breaking from third and giving up a suicide squeeze. 6-1 Swallows Milledge followed with a single to center, but the inning ended as Aikawa was tagged out at the plate trying to score from second.
The Birds got another run in the fifth after Balentien got a hit to left off of Asakura with men on the corners to score 1. The hit looked like a single, but Balentien managed to slide in headfirst into second for a double, thanks in large part to Ibata mishandling the throw from the outfield. 7-1 Swallows
The Dragons finally hit back a little in the sixth inning. After Wada got a double off of Tateyama, Ibata singled to bring him home. 7-2 Swallows
But Swallows showed in the bottom of the inning that the momentum stayed squarely with the home team. Asakura was still on the mound for the Dragons and he alternated fly outs with walks to put 2 men on base with 2 outs for Kawabata. Kawabata worked the count 2-1 before uncorking homerun #1 for the season into the right field stands to give the Swallows double digit runs for the second night in a row. 10-2 Swallows
The Dragons got 1 run back in the eighth, but the Swallows responded in the bottom of the inning with a walk and Milledge homerun to put 2 more runs on the board. 12-3 Swallows
Tateyama got the win for the Swallows after pitching 7 innings on 126 pitches, giving up 2 ERs, 7 hits and 2 walks. Tetsuya Yamamoto (1 H, 1 ER) and Rafael Fernandes (1 H) came into pitch an inning each of mop up. Yudai was tagged for the loss for his 3.0 innings pitched in which he gave up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 ERs.
- Milledge was the offensive star of the night going 4-for-5 with 2 HRs, 2 runs scored, and 4 RBIs.
- Every Swallows starter except Tateyama got at least 1 hit.
- But Tateyama had a good night offensively, going 0-for-0 in 3 plate appearances with 2 walks and a run scoring sac bunt. Good for 2 runs scored and an RBI.
- 4 out of the 5 walks issued to the Swallows came home to score via homeruns.
- Takagi, the Dragons manager, seemed upset with his squad and subbed in every available fielder except veteran catcher Tanishige throughout the game. Only Araki and Blanco ended up playing the full 9 innings for the Dragons.
- The Dragons are now 0-9-2 for the season in Tokyo, including games at the Tokyo Dome. If we include Yokohama, the Dragons have not won in 18 games in the Kanto region (0-15-3) since winning 2 straight against Yokohama in April.
- The Swallows will now hit the road to Hiroshima for a weekend series against the now fourth place Carp. The starters for tomorrow’s game will be Kenta Maeda for the Carp, and Katsuki Akagawa for the Swallows.