April 2nd, 2013
Hiroshima Carp 3
Streak: Won 3 Last 5: LWWW
(Mazda Zooooom Zooooom Stadium)
|W: Muranaka (1-0; 0.00 ERA) L: Ohtake (0-1; 1.29 ERA)
S: Barnette (3S; 0.00 ERA)
Tokyo made it three wins on the bounce in what turned out to be (in the end) a rather wild game in Hiroshima.
|Tanaka (2B)||1||Kikuchi (2B)|
|Ueda (CF)||2||Maru (CF)|
|Milledge (LF)||3||Hirose (RF)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Eldred (1B)|
|Yuhei (RF)||5||Lewis (LF)|
|Miyamoto (3B)||6||Soyogi (SS)|
|Nakamura (C)||7||Dobayashi (3B)|
|Kawashima (SS)||8||Ishihara (C)|
|Muranaka (P)||9||Ohtake (P)|
And they followed the blueprint for their prior two wins by taking a lead in the 1st. Tanaka got things started by poking one through the infield to right, and he was moved along by Ueda sac-bu……hell I don’t even have to write it, you know how it goes. Milledge then hit a line drive to left which brought home Beavis from second to make it 1-0 Tokyo.
After that, Murunaka (who also allowed a double in the top of the 1st) let two men on in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th innings, and one more in each of the 6th and 7th innings, but his night of bend but not break pitching kept the Carp runners at bay and stranded on base, as the light-hitting Hiroshima batters wasted chance after chance to draw level.
And this all came to a head as things got wild from the bottom of the 8th inning. Muranaka bent once more as back-to-back one-out singles from Eldred and Lewis put two on for the Carp. Hiroshima manager Nomura then called for a double steal, which was perfectly executed, heaping more pressure on Muranaka’s oh-so-fragile and slender shoulders, as the go-ahead run was now at second. And the cracks finally began to show as he walked Soyogi on seven pitches to juice the bases.
Out came Kyohei, in came Tetsuya (Yamamoto) to try and stop the bleeding as he faced the 56 year old pinch hitter, Tomonori Maeda. And the veteran caught a break as he popped up the first pitch he saw, only for Nakamura to lose the flight of the ball in the wind in front of the back stop and fluff the catch. Luckily for Nakamura, after taking pitch number two for ball one, Maeda popped one up once more, this time to shallow centre, and two outs were now on the board as the runners held. Next up was another pinch hitter in Matsuyama, and he hit a sharp grounder to second, which was ably dealt with by the “DIAMOND MASTER” Hiroyasu Tanaka who threw the ball into the pudgy little hand of Hatakeyama for out number three. Truly impressive stuff from Yamamoto, as his stock continues to rise as a go-to guy in the Swallows ‘pen.
And Tokyo would punish Hiroshima’s profligacy in the top of the 9th. After putting their own stream of men on base against Hiroshima starter Ohtake in the first seven innings and failing to extend their lead, Tokyo went to town in reliever Fukui’s second of inning of work. A Nakamura single, a Keizo you-know-what, a walk for Iwamura (in for Yamamoto) and a Tanaka single put the Swallows in the same position as the Carp were the inning prior, bases full with one red light on the board. And Ueda delivered where Hiroshima pinch hitters had failed, by hitting to the wall in right for a bases clearing triple which made it 4-0 Tokyo. And just to add insult to injury, Lastings Milledge singled to bring home Ueda for 5-0.
But just as it seemed this would be a laugher, Kenichi Matsuoka materialised from the bullpen, and he was in no laughing mood. A single, a walk and a three run Hirose home run followed and justlikethat, it was 5-3. The tranquillizer dart was then fired into Matsuoka’s neck, and his crumpled body was then replaced by the altogether more reliable Tony Barnette on the mound. He allowed a single to a pinch-hitting Abe, but he then got Lewis looking before getting Soyogi to fly-out to left to end the game with a 5-3 Tokyo Final.
- Muranaka’s final line: 7.1 IP / 123 P / 10 H / 7 K / 2 BB / 0 ER. So not the greatest outing, and he owes a mahoosive chunk of grattitude to Yamaoto’s heroics. However, though he bent during the course of his outing, he did not break, and for a guy that’s been know to crumble under pressure in the past, he should be commended for this. So well done Kyohei! But OMG YAMAMOTO YOU DA MAN INNIT!!
- Matsuoka’s ERA after his second appearance of the season is 54.00. A trip to the farm may be imminent once he’s recovered from the after effects of that tranquillizer dart.
- Iwamura is now 0 for 0 with 2 walks in his two pinch hit appearances so far this season. He is 0 for 4 with 3 Ks in his only start of the season. I see more pinch hitting in his future. (Shout out to Kozo for the live stat update on twitter. Follow him, he’s @kojaxs.)
- The only non-Muranaka member of the lineup not to register a hit was Hatakeyama who went 0 for 5 including a 9th inning ending double play. Oh, and the new blue road jerseys make him look FUCKING ENORMOUS.
- The 1-3 spots in the lineup all had two-hit nights, and brought home all the Tokyo runs.
- Tomorrow will see rookie Yasuhiro Ogawa make his pro-debut start on the mound for Tokyo. He will be facing last year’s break-out rookie star, Yusuke Nomura (9W-11L ; 1.98ERA).