August 21st, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 6
Streak: Drawn 1 Last 5: LLWLD
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
Tokyo showed a lot of fight as they battled to a nine inning tie against that other team from across town, and while they couldn’t quite come away with a win, more of the same fight will be needed if they’re going to re-ignite their playoff push.
|Milledge (LF)||1||Chono (CF)|
|Ueda (RF)||2||Matsumoto (CF)|
|Tanaka (2B)||3||Sakamoto (SS)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Abe (1B)|
|Kawabata (3B)||5||Tani (LF)|
|Fukuchi (CF)||6||Murata (3B)|
|Morioka (SS)||7||Terauchi (2B)|
|Nakamura (C)||8||Sanematsu (C)|
|Ishikawa (P)||9||Sawamura (P)|
Ishikawa started after his skipped start, and for three/four innings of this one it looked like the rest had worked wonders as he made a strong start to this “comeback” outing. But it would ultimately end in indignity for Masanori.
And he even got a lead to play with, as Milledge hit a high slider from Sawamura over the fence to the left of the scoreboard for 1-0 Tokyo. It was Lasting’s 18th homer of the season, and good enought for second place in the CL rankings, behind Balentien.
Yomiuri struck straight back, in the top of the 4th as a single, steal and single combo tied things up at 1-1.
But again Tokyo pulled ahead in the bottom of the inning, this time Hatake with the solo shot off another poor Sawamura slider (eleventh of the year for him, and his first in thirteen games) and it was 2-1 Tokyo.
Again it wouldn’t last. Having given up just the one run off three hits in the opening four frames, things turned to shit for Ishikawa in the 5th, all via the thing that has been his achilles heel all his career: the long ball. Well, make that three longballs, as a somewhat freak solo homer from Sanematsu (2-2), a two run shot from Sakamoto (4-2), and another solo from Piggy-king-Abe (5-2) left Ishikawa and Tokyo looking dead and buried.
And in a case of the world’s shittiest timing, Ishikawa ended the inning with the strikeout of Tani, which was his fifth of the game, and 1000th of his career. Cue a despondent Ishikawa trudging off the field having given up four runs off three homers in the inning, only to presented with a bunch of flowers and fans holding up signs in recognition of his landmark. He managed a polite bow before disappearing into the bowels of Jingu to contemplate the end of his 5 IP / 88 P / 7 H / 5 K / 2 BB / 5 ER night.
The Swallows weren’t quite dead yet though. In the bottom of the 5th, the first homer of the season from Takeuchi (in for Ishikawa) made it 5-3, before a Milledge double and Ueda single made it 5-4.
Yomiuri then responded with Hirai on the mound in the 6th, three singles good enough to tack on another poisonous orange run for 6-4.
And Tokyo wrapped up the game’s scoring in the bottom of the 6th. With Sawamura and his fat arrogant face done, Fukuda come on to issue walks to Tanaka and Hatakeyama to put two men on. Fukuda got the hook and Takagi appeared in his place. The men were bunted into scoring positions by Kawabata, before Fukuchi flew out harmlessly for out number two. Next up was Morioka, and the man in the running for the “most improved of 2012 award” hit to left to bring home the men and tie things up at 6-6.
Mastui, Yamamoto and Barnette kept the Orangemongers off the board in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings respectively, while Tokyo crafted chances to win it against the Yomiuri bullpen. The best chance came in the 7th, but with men on the corners, Tanaka hit into an inning ending double play. And in the 9th, Ueda took to the plate with men on first and second with a chance to bring home the win sayonara stylee, but the ULTIMATE FUGLINESS of Nishimura distracted Ueda and he could only strikeout to end the game, 6-6 Final.
- Milledge made an outstanding diving catch in left to get the first out of the 4th. At that point it seemed things might be going Ishikawa’s way for a change.
- This was the first game that Nakamura had caught Ishikawa since early May. Since then that job had been exclusively Aikawa’s until his recent injury.
- The excellent Lastings with his two hits, and the equally excellent Ueda with three hits were the standouts with the bat. Tanaka and Fukuchi were hitless.
- 25,009 bodies, including a large proportion of dribbling orange towel waving gurning muppets, were there to witness this one.
- Ueda struck out to end the 9th at 9:36pm, thus meaning no extra innings were able to be started.
- With Hiroshima losing to Yokohama, this draw means that Tokyo are now just 1.0 game out of third with a 45-50-8 record.
- If Chunichi had lost to Hanshin (they didn’t) I believe this draw would have also been good enough to give Yomiuri their magic number to win the CL (around 32 if I remember correctly).
- Tomorrow’s game will see Shichijo get the nod for Tokyo (…….) on the mound. Intriguingly, Yomiuri will counter with the rookie Egarashi, who will be making his first pro start after pitching four times in relief during this year’s interleague festivities.