August 12th, 2012
Yomiuri Giants 1
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WWLLW
The birds weren’t overpowering in this game, but they deserve credit for creating chances and capitalizing on several of them. Lots of RBI singles with runners on second base. I dare say that it was fun to watch.
Tokyo 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 2 6 12 0
Yomiuri 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 1
W: Muranaka (6-5; 4.62 ERA) L: Miyaguni (3-2; 2.04 ERA)
After two straight losses to the crosstown Giants, it was definitely time for some steadier play from the Swallows, particularly the pitching staff. Fortunately for the Swallows, Muranaka (aka “The Giant Killer”) was on the hump for the visitors.
|Fukuchi (CF)||1||Chono (RF)|
|Ueda (RF)||2||Matsumoto (CF)|
|Milledge (LF)||3||Sakamoto (SS)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Abe (1B)|
|Kawabata (3B)||5||Murata (3B)|
|Tanaka (2B)||6||Takahashi (LF)|
|Morioka (SS)||7||Terauchi (2B)|
|Nakamura (C)||8||Katoh (C)|
|Muranaka (P)||9||Miyaguni (P)|
Fukuchi led this game off with a double, but a bad sac bunt and a double play later, and the Swallows were forced to take the field with no runs on the board.
But the birds kept applying the pressure to Miyaguni, Yomiuri’s young starter.
Kawabata and Morioka had hits in the second, and Fukuchi and Milledge drew walks in the third to keep Miyaguni on his toes.
Tokyo’s first run actually came during the third inning with two outs and Fukuchi on second. Ueda punched one to right which was enough to help Fukuchi race home.
The Swallows sat down in order for the first time in the fourth inning, and they only got one runner on in the fifth (Nakamura walk), but they gave Muranaka a bit of a cushion to work with in the sixth.
Milledge led off with a HBP (left hand/wrist), and Hatakeyama popped up to right. Milledge was able to make it all the way to third, however, on Kawabata’s ensuing grounder through the infield gap into right.
With runners on the corners, Tanaka attempted a safety squeeze that rolled foul early in his at-bat. It was a good idea that unfortunately didn’t work out, but then the bench called for a suicide squeeze, and Tanaka was able to come through with a lunging bunt down the first base line that allowed Milledge to score easily from third.
Morioka created another scoring opportunity when his singled to put runners on the corners with two outs, but Miyaguni intentionally walked Nakamura to load the bases and bring Muranaka to the plate.
But then Miyaguni forgot where the strike zone was. He walked Muranaka to push home a third run. That walk was the end of the game for Miyaguni. He would eventually be tagged with the loss.
And the birds scored another in the top of the seventh when Kawabata singled with runners on the corners to bring Ueda home from third.
The Giants finally caused a wobble from Muranaka in the bottom of the seventh. Abe’s single was followed by a Murata double to put runners on second and third with no outs. Takahashi flew out to Tanaka at second, but Terauchi drew an easy walk from Muranaka to load the bases and cause Ogawa to bring Yamamoto in from the pen.
Yamamoto started by allowing an RBI single to pinch-hitter, Tani, but recorded two outs with the bases loaded shortly thereafter. One inherited runner (Abe) scored from third in the process, but that would be it for the Yomiuri offense this afternoon.
4-1 Good Guys.
With Barnette just returning to the top team today, the Swallows made sure to welcome him to the game with a couple of extra runs in the top of the ninth.
Fukuchi led off with his second hit of the game, an infield single that bounced favorably off the glove of Ichioka on the mound. Ueda bunted him over to second, and then Milledge came through with a helmetless double that scored Fukuchi.
A fly ball to center by Hatakeyama wasn’t deep enough to move Milledge over to third, but Kawabata made good on the scoring opportunity with his fourth hit of the game, a hard single up the middle that allowed Milledge to squeak home. Kawabata reached second on the throw home.
Barnette closed things out with a 22-pitch effort, and the birds broke Yomiuri’s seven-game winning streak.
Muranaka was only in trouble once in this game, and looked very solid during the first six innings. He threw 96 pitches through six and one-third innings while allowing only four hits and one earned run. He struck out three and walked two. His record improved to 6-5, and his ERA eased slightly to 4.62.
Yamamoto did well to get out of the seventh after allowing Abe to score on Tani’s single to left. He struck out one and threw 11 pitches in his 28th appearance of the season.
Oshimoto put together a perfect inning in the bottom of the eighth. He threw just 10 pitches and his ERA dropped slightly to 3.13.
Barnette saw his first action since the All-Star break in July.
Kawabata was the clear standout with a 4-5 afternoon at the plate, and two RBI singles. He hit one single to left, two singles to right, and then a single to center. He’s hitting the ball hard, and his batting average jumped from .273 to .283 after today’s game.
Fukuchi, Ueda, and Morioka also had multi-hit games. Fukuchi also added a walk and a stolen base, while Ueda came through with an RBI in the third.
Milledge also reached base three times (walk, HBP, RBI double). Additionally, he somehow managed to get hit in the left hand during his at-bat in the sixth, and in the right hand during his Tak-bunt attempt in the seventh. Both instances looked very painful, but he stayed in the game and crossed home plate twice.
The only starters to not reach base twice were Hatakeyama and Tanaka. Hatake had a single in the seventh, and Tanaka came through with a very difficult squeeze bunt in the sixth.
Your Tokyo Swallows have Monday off and will travel to Hiroshima to prepare for a three game set against the third place Carp. All three games (Tues-Thurs) will start at 6PM.
The Tokyo Swallows are currently in fourth place. If they can sweep the Carp in their next series then they’ll reclaim third place in the Central.
Injured players are starting to find their way back to the top team. Barnette is the most notable of the returnees, but Ueda’s reintroduction to the outfield is a definite insurance bonus.
Milledge continues to impress. He covers acres of real estate in left, legs out extra bases, works the count, gets himself on base, and consistently finds ways to annoy the piss out of the opposition’s battery.
Hanshin beat the Carp 8-1 tonite which helped us gain a game on them.
The Swallows have scored 342 runs so far this season, and allowed 364. That’s good enough for second and fifth in the Central League, respectively. The only team to score more runs so far is Yomiuri (356). And the only team to get dicked on more is Yokohama (381). Unsurprisingly, Tokyo has the second worst team ERA in the Central at 3.67. Yomiuri leads with a 2.08 team ERA.