8/19/12 – Hanshin (Home)

August 19th, 2012

Hanshin Tigers 7

Tokyo Swallows  1

Streak: Lost 1    Last 5: LLLWL

(Jingu Stadium)

A hard-fought pitchers duel turned into a Swallows’ nightmare in the ninth inning.

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W: Fukuhara (1-3); L: Barnette (1-2)

 Tigers Swallows
1Hiroki Uemoto (2B)1Lastings Milledge (LF)
2Yamato (Maeda) (CF)2Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)
3Takashi Toritani (SS)3Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)
4Ryota Arai (LF)4Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)
5Kentaro Sekimoto (3B)5Yasushi Iihara (RF)
6Takahiro Arai (1B)6Ryosuke Morioka (3B)
7Keiichi Hirano (RF)7Ryohei Kawamoto (C)
8Akihito Fujii (C)8Tetsuto Yamada (SS)
9Atsushi Nomi (P)9Kyohei Muranaka (P)

With two outs in the top of the ninth inning with the game tied at 1-1, I was still mentally preparing to write a game report on the pitching duel that occurred in the 8 previous innings. The fact that there was a man on third was of less concern, as I had faith that Tony Barnette would deliver the final out, and give our offense a chance at the sayonara win. (INSERT ADAGE ABOUT COUNTING CHICKENS HERE.)

The set of events that followed absolutely deflated the Jingu crowd. With Hiyama up to bat, Tony was up 2-2 and threw a fastball low and inside. The ball was so low and inside that is bounced ricocheted hard off Kawamoto’s block attempt. Allowing the third base runner to score with ease. 2-1 Tigers

One pitch later, it seemed that Tony got Hiyama to ground out on a slow lazy chopper to the pitcher. But the slow chopper probably forced Tony to rush his slightly and the throw was slightly off the mark. Unfortunately, Hatakeyama didn’t react well and let the still-catchable ball get by him and Hiyama found himself on second base. With 2 outs, the Tigers would be running on contact so the deluge of hits that followed led to an RBI in almost every case. The sequence went Uemoto single (3-1 Tigers), Yamato double (4-1 Tigers), Barnette got lifted for Hidaka, Toritani single (5-1 Tigers), Ryota Arai double (no runs), and was finally capped by a Sekimoto double. 7-1 Tigers

None of the runs on Barnette were earned, but I’m sure that was of little consolation.

Prior to the ninth, the two teams locked in a pitchers duel in which the Tigers were trying to protect a 1-0 lead they got in the second. The Swallows were able to get runners on against Nomi, but couldn’t get the extra hit to score them. Despite giving up the run in the second, and getting into a no out bases loaded situation in the sixth, Muranaka also looked in control getting a little help from the defense. Muranaka was getting first strikes most of the night and was making Tigers’ bats miss on his way to amassing 7 strikeouts in 7 innings of work. The Swallows finally got the tying run after the Tigers brought in Fukuhara in the eighth. But alas, the story of the night became about the top of the ninth…

Happy times, gave way to…

Sad times.

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.

  • Dr. No

    I was at the game last night. A fun game turned into a nightmare with 1 wild pitch. I really thought the momentum was going to turn the birds way after Muranaka got out of the no-out-bases-loaded jam.

    The fantastic defensive night for Morioka at third should also be mentioned.