September 25th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 3
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WLWLW
|W: Tateyama (12-8 / 2.26 ERA); L: Kubo (4-7 / 2.33); S: Barnette (30 S / 1.90)|
Eight innings of three-hit shutout Tateyama baseball, some timely hitting, and a wee bit of help from an inept Hanshin outfit opened the playoff door yet wider for the in-form Swallows.
|1||Uemoto (2B)||1||Yuhei (CF)|
|2||Yamato (CF)||2||Fukuchi (LF)|
|3||Toritani (SS)||3||Tanaka (2B)|
|4||R Arai (3B)||4||Balentien (FR)|
|5||Kanemoto (LF)||5||Kawabata (SS)|
|6||Morita (1B)||6||Miyamoto (3B)|
|7||Itoh (RF)||7||Takeuchi (1B)|
|8||Imanari (C)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|9||Kubo (P)||9||Tateyama (P)|
Tateyama was coming into the game having won each of his previous five starts and he pretty much continued where he left off this evening. Allowing just three hits in his eight inning shift, he induced a lot of ground outs from Hanshin (two of which were converted into double plays), especially early on, and didn’t allow a man past first until his final inning of work.
The offence meanwhile chipped away at Tigers starter Kubo early, putting two men on in each of the first two frames via a single and walk both times, but were not able to cash in the runners.
Another two men got aboard in the 3rd after two two-out singles from Coco and Kawabata. And this time Miyamoto jimmied open the register with a double over the head of Itoh in right to exchange a runner for a lovely “1” on the scoreboard, 1-0 Tokyo.
And another run followed in the 4th, this time through less conventional means. Nakamura got things underway with a single up the middle before Tateyama was called out for obstruction after trying to lay down a bunt along the first base line. Yuhei then hit a fierce grounder right back at Kubo, which hit the pitchers foot/ankle and then deflected safely into the outfield in left, allowing Nakamura to make it all the way to third. With men now on the corners with one out, Fukuchi hit a ground ball to second, Yuhei then halted his run to second, danced around a bit to try and avoid the incoming tag from second baseman Uemoto. The infielder was seemingly baffled by Yuhei’s fly moves, thus delaying his tag and allowing the fleet-of-foot Fukuchi to beat the tardy throw to first and avoid what should have been a cast-iron double play. This of course made it 2-0 Tokyo as Nakamura made it home from third.
Tokyo’s final run came in the 8th, with Hanshin’s generosity continuing as their bullpen issued two walks (Nakamura, Yuhei) and a dead ball (Fukuchi) to load the bases with two outs for Tanaka. Tsuru then issued yet another Tigers walk which scored another run for 3-0. Balentien then came to the plate with the bases still juiced, but Tsuru regained his composure to strike him out.
After Tateyama had departed the scene in the 8th (Miyade coming in to pinch hit for him) it was time for a somewhat rested Tony Barnette (who last pitched on the 19th vs Hiroshima) to take the mound to try to close out the game in the top of the 9th. And Tony decided to make it a little more interesting as he allowed two singles followed by a walk to load the bases with no outs on the board. But miraculously, he escaped as he struck out Arai the younger before getting Tsubamegun’s favourite Jesus Toting Ginger Matt Murton to hit a grounder to Miyamoto at third for a 5-3 double play. 3-0 Tokyo Final.
- Tateyama’s final line: 8 IP / 94 P / 3 H / 3 K / 2 BB / 0 ER. It was his sixth straight win and he has now surpassed his win total from 2011 (11) and equaled his total from 2010 (12). Shohei’s career high for wins is 16 which came back in 2009. I LOVE ME SOME TATEYAMA YEAH I DO.
- Every member of the team is currently contributing positively to the cause, and with some of the injured parties possibly due back soon (Aikawa, Hatakeyama, Matsuoka), things are looking more positive than they have at any point in the season (bar the first few weeks or so), which is a good place to be at the business-end of the season.
- On the subject of Aikawa and Hatake I’d be inclined to use both off the bench after their return given how well the team has done in their absence of late. Especially Hatake. Make the lardster re-earn that No.4 spot.
- Hiroshima lost again tonight at the hands of those orange eejits. There was a guy at Jingu holding up a “CS M3” sign after the game, so I’m going to trust him in the fact that the Swallows magic number to clinch 3rd place is now down to 3.
- Tomorrow’s game two of the four game series will see Akagawa take on Standridge on the mound.