May 1st, 2013
Yokohama BayStars 5
Streak: Lost 2 Last 5: WWWLL
|W: Yamaguchi (4-1-5); L: Yamamoto (0-1-4)|
In a world where Yomiuri is running away with the season despite a slight slackening in pace and Hanshin is the only other CL team over .500, Tokyo continued their quest to bring justice back to the realm by helping the slower-than-usual descent of the BayStars.
|1||Tanaka H. (2B)||1||Ishikawa (SS)|
|2||Kawashima (SS)||2||Uchimura (2B)|
|3||Milledge (LF)||3||Ide (LF)|
|4||Balentien (RF)||4||Blanco (1B)|
|5||Hatakeyama (1B)||5||Nakamura (3B)|
|6||Miyamoto (3B)||6||Kinjoh (RF)|
|7||Takeuchi (CF)||7||Matsumoto (CF)|
|8||Tanaka M. (C)||8||Tsuruoka (C)|
|9||Akagawa (P)||9||Kosugi (P)|
|RP||Roman, Oshimoto, Ishiyama, Yamamoto||RP||Kobayashi, Kaga, Fujie, Sosa, Yamaguchi|
The Swallows built an early lead, scoring three runs in the first two innings. Hiroyasu Tanaka started off with a single and made it to third on consecutive Kawashima and Milledge ground-outs. After a Balentien walk, Hatakeyama singled Tanaka home. 1-0 Tokyo.
One out into the second, Masahiko doubled to right. A double by Hiroyasu drove him home and a Kawashima single to center drove Hiroyasu in before Milledge struck out to end a battle of attrition with Kosugi over the low outside corner as he ended the inning. 3-0 Tokyo.
Yokohama struck back in the third and fourth. One out into the third, Akagawa walked Tsuruoka, Shimozono, and Ishikawa back-to-back to load the bases, setting up an Uchimura RBI sac-fly to center. Ide singled to reload the bases before Blanco grounded out to mercifully avoid catastrophe. 3-1 Tokyo.
Kobayashi took over from Kosugi on the mound for the BayStars in the fourth.
Nakamura started the fourth by launching a slowish Akagawa fastball right down the middle into the left-field bleachers. 3-2 Tokyo.
In the fifth, after four innings in which he threw 73 pitches and gave up three hits and three walks vs. two Ks for two runs, Akagawa’s start was over. Roman took over, gave up a kind of ugly little grounder back toward the mound by Ishikawa, but got through the rest of the inning safely.
In the top of the sixth, after giving up a single to Masahiko Tanaka, a sac-bunt to Roman, a walk to Hiroyasu Tanaka, Kobayashi struck out Kawashima, but was replaced by Kaga when Milledge came up – the only batter Kaga would face. Fujie took over in the seventh. Oshimoto also relieved Roman in the seventh.
Two outs into the seventh, things went South for the Swallows. Ide singled to deep center and Blanco took the first pitch Oshimoto threw – a low fork over the middle – and got it a couple of rows into the left field bleachers. 4-3 Yokohama.
Sosa came in to pitch the eighth. Ishiyama pitched the eighth for Tokyo.
Top of the ninth, Yamaguchi closing for Yokohama, Morioka, pinch-hitting for Kawashima, singled to right and was replaced by the fleet-footed Miwa. Milledge then singled to short, but Miwa was nabbed. Balentien grounded out, but moved Milledge to second, before Hatake drove Milledge home on an RBI single, tying the game. 4-4.
Yamamoto came in to close for Tokyo. Fine in the ninth, not so fine in the tenth.
One out into the tenth, Kinjoh homered a high outside fastball. Walk-off. 5-4 Yokohama, Final.
While the Birds are struggling to move back into the A-class in a convincing way, the little stupidities borne of desperation are popping all over. We’ve complained of the early-inning sac-bunt on this site quite a bit before, but perhaps the always-idiotic head-sliding into first base is the most pernicious. Not only does it risk injury, it causes runners to reach the base more slowly. (I’m looking at you, Hiroyasu. I’ve been a big fan up to this point because I chose to believe you were unjustly ordered to sac-bunt when it made no sense. Your penchant for trying to slide into first makes me question that. Ever notice it never f*@king works?)
In the when-the-Tsubamegun-owns-the-team world, this would get a player benched and get any coach who failed to rub out such stupidity fired.