July 25th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 1
Streak: Drawn 1 Last 5: WLLLD
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
These two teams were in quite different places entering the all-star break.
The Swallows were suffering from the chronic inconsistency that has plagued them for long spells in 2012, going 5W-7L-1D in July prior to the break, capped off with that humiliating sweep in Yokohama against the BayStars.
The Carp on the other hand were on all kinds of fire, going 11-3 over the same period, including a winning sweep in Yokohama against those very same ‘Stars. All of which meant that Hiroshima entered the second half of the season (well, post all-star half anyway) sitting pretty in third place in the CL, ahead of Tokyo courtesy of having won more games than the now fourth placed Swallows (with both teams sitting on .500 records).
And so to tonight’s game, which saw the Carp come from behind to secure a tie that keeps them sitting in the top half of that table.
|Milledge (LF)||1||Amaya (CF)|
|Tanaka (2B)||2||Kikuchi (2B)|
|Kawabata (SS)||3||Soyogi (SS)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Iwamoto (LF)|
|Balentien (RF)||5||Dohbayashi (3B)|
|Miyamoto (3B)||6||Hirose (RF)|
|Matsui (CF)||7||Eldred (1B)|
|Aikawa (C)||8||Ishihara (C)|
|Ishikawa (P)||9||Bullington (P)|
The game’s only runs both came courtesy of solo homers. In the 3rd, Lastings Milledge deposited a slider from starter Bullington into the stands just to the left of the back screen for his 13th dinger of the season. 1-0 Tokyo.
Ishikawa was the starter for Tokyo, and he let quite a few men on base over his first six innings, and did well to keep the Carp off the board, though he was aided by a couple of Hiroshima double plays and general wastefulness. But he finally succumbed to what is often his downfall, the long ball, as Dohbayashi went deep to the backscreen in the 7th to tie things up at 1-1. Things could have gotten worse as the Carp hit two more times that inning, but Ishikawa was once again aided by another double play to escape with the scores still tied.
Masanori was done after that 7th inning, and Hiroshima continued to threaten against the Swallows ‘pen after that. In the 8th with Hidaka on the mound, a single and a walk put two men on for Hiroshima. With two outs on the board Hidaka was hooked for Yamamoto who plunked Dohbayashi on the stomach to load the bases, but fortunately Hirose could only hit a soft liner back to the pitcher and Tokyo escaped once more.
Oshimoto and Masubuchi both gave up a single apiece in the 9th and 10th innings respectively, but they didn’t have too much trouble keeping the Carp run total at just the one run.
Though Hiroshima did carry the greater threat, Tokyo did have their chances too. In the 4th a two-out single for Miyamoto, a walk for Matsui, and a single for Aikawa loaded the bases. Unfortunately it was for Ishikawa who could only strike out on three straight fast balls to strand the men.
And in the 8th a Tanaka single and Kawabata sacbunt put the go ahead runner at second with one out on the board. And Tanaka was then moved to third via a flyout to right from Hatake. Balentien was up next and he almost sneaked one through the infield to right to put the birds ahead, but an excellent piece of fielding and throw to first from Kikuchi at second got the final out to snuff out the threat.
And it would be Balentien again who would be presented with the final chance of the game in the bottom of the 10th. With reliever Mickolio on the mound, a deadball for Fukuchi (in for the pitcher), a walk for Kawabata (after a one-out Tak-bunt from Tanaka) and a single for Hatake loaded the bases with two outs for Coco. But he frustratingly swung at the first pitch he saw to ground out to third to end the game with the scores tied, 1-1 Final.
- That final groundout took place at 9:32pm, meaning that the 3 hours 30 minute dead zone had been passed and there would be no 11th inning.
- Ishikawa’s final line: 7 IP / 8 H / 4 K / 1 BB / 1 ER. His record remains at 6-7 while his ERA fell to 3.40.
- Miyamoto was the only Swallow to manage two hits. Kawabata and Matsui were the only non-pitching starters to go hitless.
- Tonight was the start of Jingu’s mid-game fireworks that will grace each game through August. A healthy 21,443 were there to witness them, with arguably a majority of those Carp fans, buoyed by Hiroshima’s recent good form and subsequent rise to A-Class contender status.
- Tomorrow’s game will see Kyohei “rabbit in the proverbial headlights” Muranaka start for Tokyo with Kenta “the face” Maeda likely shutting down the Swallows offence on the mound for Hiroshima.