July 25th, 2013
Tokyo Swallows 11
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LLLLW
Winning feels good. I highly recommend it. The Swallows break their five game losing streak and win in convincing fashion against rookie phenom Fujinami and the Hashin Tigers. In a 180 degree reversal from laast night’s game the Swallows got strong starting pitching and offensive fireworks to match.
|W: Ishikawa (3-7); L: Fujinami (6-4)|
|1||Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2B)||1||Tetsuto Yamada (2B)|
|2||Shunsuke (Fujikawa) (CF)||2||Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)|
|3||Takeshi Toritani (SS)||3||Lastings Milledge (LF)|
|4||Matt Murton (LF)||4||Wladimir Balentien (RF)|
|5||Takahiro Arai (1B)||5||Shingo Kawabata (3B)|
|6||Ryota Imanari (RF)||6||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|7||Ryota Arai (3B)||7||Ryosuke Morioka (SS)|
|8||Akihito Fujii (C)||8||Ryoji Aikawa (C)|
|9||Shintaro Fujinami (P)||9||Masanori Ishikawa (P)|
Erstwhile ace Ishikawa was looking for his first win since April 26. Unfortunately things did not start well as Ishikawa allowed a leadoff double to Nishioka to start the game. Nishioka advanced to third on a sac bunt, and Toritani cashed him in with a double of his own. 1-0 Tigers Needless to say, this being the 2013 Swallows and 2013 Ishikawa the faithful braced themselves for another long night. But despite walking a batter to make things hairy, Ishikawa defied expectation by holding the Tigers to that single run.
The offense was next to defy expectation, as Kawabata managed to get a two-out RBI single (Ueda single and Balentien walk) to tie the game. 1-1 All
Ishikawa and Fujinami engaged in a min-pitchers duel for a few innings before the scoring restarted in the bottom of the fourth. After Hatakeyama went down on a harmless infield fly, Morioka drew a five-pitch walk to set the tables for Aikawa. Aikawa took Fujinami’s fastball down the middle and put it into the Tigers’ cheering section for the lead. 3-1 Swallows Fujinami got out of the inning, but the Tigers pulled their 19-year-old starter after the inning.
Ishikawa continued chugging along and the Swallows got their new chance in the sixth. Aikawa started the inning off with a single. Ishikawa botched a bunt attempt, but the Swallows loaded the bases on a Yamada single and a Ueda walk. With the bases juiced Milledge grounded into what looked like double play to short, but Nishoka wasn’t able to turn the ball to first and the Swallows got a run-scoring fielder’s choice. 4-1 Swallows With men on the corners the Tiger’s Clint Boyer had to pitch to Balentien. Coco calmly waited for a fastball in the zone and lined it to the opposite field to the Swallows faithful for his 33rd homerun of the season. 7-1 Swallows The homerun broke a four game homerun-less streak by Balentien.
The Swallows added a run in the next inning after Hatakeyama earned a 10 pitch walk to start the inning. Fludge was replaced on the basepaths by Kawashima, and he and Morioka executed a textbook run-and-hit to put men on the corners. Keizo came around to score on a Aikawa outfield fly that Shunsuke wasn’t able to catch,for RBI #3 for the catcher. 8-1 Swallows
Meanwhile, Ishikawa held the Tigers to just four hits and two walks through seven innings. On the other side the Swallows weren’t done. After Ueda lead off the eighth with a strikeout, Milledge joined in on the action by hitting a solo shot to left. 9-1 Swallows Balentien showed he wasn’t all about homers by flaring a single to left to follow. Kawabata grounded into the Swallows’ second out, but Kawashima showed that he could be a adequate replacement for Hatake by lining a homerun into the left field stands. 11-1 Swallows
Ishikawa never faltered down the stretch, and the Swallows got a much needed victory against the Tigers. The Swallows will now travel down to Hiroshima to try to keep the good times rolling.