August 13th, 2013
Tokyo Swallows 2
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WWWLW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
|W: Barnette; 1-6, 7S / 9.74 ERA L: Asao; 1-1 / 0.93 ERA.|
Starter Furuno bent but didn’t break, while some of the luck that has evaded the Swallows for so much of this season helped out on the offensive end as they snuck past the Dragons.
|1||Ohshima (CF)||1||Ueda (CF)|
|2||Ibata (SS)||2||Kawabata (3B)|
|3||Morino (2B)||3||Morioka (SS)|
|4||Luna (3B)||4||Balentein (RF)|
|5||Wada (LF)||5||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|6||Clark (1B)||6||Takeuchi (LF)|
|7||Hirata (RF)||7||Yamada (2B)|
|8||Tanishige (C)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|9||Nakata (P)||9||Furuno (P)|
After notching up his first career win this time last week , Furuno took the mound again for Tokyo. And he conceeded what would be his and the Swallows’ only runs of the game in the top of the 1st. Ohshima got on board with four straight balls to start proceedings, and then singles from Morino and Luna were enough to make it 1-0 Chunichi. With men on first and second, Wada then hit into a 6-4-3 double play to let Furuno off the hook with the deficit at just the one run.
And Furuno continued to chance his luck a touch over first half of this one, letting at least two men on in each of the first four innings. But he was aided by some stellar plays in the field, as laser-like throws from Ueda in centre threw out men attempting to reach home in each of the 2nd and 4th frames, while Yamada made a spectacular play to turn an inning ending double play in the 2nd.
Meanwhile Nakata was ably handling Tokyo’s bats, keeping them hitless over the first five innings, but that couldn’t prevent the Swallows from tying this one up in the bottom of the 5th. Balentien was pitched around to occupy first on the walk to get the inning up and running, and then Hatake hit to third, with Luna fluffing his attempt at the take, the ball bouncing off his glove and Tokyo had two men on via the error. The inevitable Tak-bunt then came from Takeuchi before Yamada hit a sacfly to centre and Tokyo had tied things up at 1-1 without registering a hit.
After giving up a two-out double to Ibata in the top of the 7th off his 110th pitch, Furuno was done, with the improving Kyuko coming in to strike out Morino to end the inning.
The Swallows’ much maligned bullpen then took over in masterful style, with a perfect inning each from Ishiyama and Barnette, the two pitchers splitting four strikeouts in the process.
And so on to the bottom of the 9th, with the Junior High School reliever Asao taking the mound in relief of Nakata. Takeuchi struck out swinging and we were two outs from bonus baseball, but then Yamada worked a walk off eight pitches. Next man up was Nakamura, and he showed bunt with (I think) Hiroyasu Tanaka waiting on deck ready to come in to bat for the pitcher. But that bunt would not be necessary, as Asao fluffed a pick off attempt to first, the ball getting away from Clark with Yamada now at second on the E1. And Nakamura would punish that error as he hit one to the wall in centre with a walk-off sayonara double for a 2-1 Tokyo Final.
- Furuno’s final line: 6.2 IP / 110 P / 9 H / 2 K / 4 BB / 1ER. He wasn’t featured in the final decision, and his record remains at 1-0 with his ERA falling to 2.57. With the dearth of other options, his decent two starts look to have solidified his position as the no.4 starter, at least for the time being.
- After Coco gounded out to lead off the 2nd, Nakata pitched around Balentien for the remainder of the game, with him getting on base in his last three plate appearances via a walk, dead ball, and intentional walk.
- It was mentioned above, but Ueda’s inning ending carbon-copy throws home in the 2nd and 4th were simply magnificent. Nakamura didn’t have to move an inch at home plate to apply the tag to the runners.
- It was Nakamura’s first career top team walk-off hit.
- The Swallows are pretty much owning the Dragons at this point, this being their 6th straight win against the Nagoyans. They also lead the season series 10-6. Hopefully this will continue as they are playing the Dragons ahelluvalot in the month of August.
- Three games separate the 6th placed Swallows from the 3rd placed Carp.
- 18,474 obon holiday folks made it out to witness this one, which was done and dusted in just shy of three and a quarter hours.
- Tomorrow the two teams will be at it again, with Yagi facing off against Nishikawa in a rematch of last week’s reverse fixture.