Aug 15th 2013, vs Chunichi

August 15th, 2013

Chunichi LogoChunichi Dragons 6

Tokyo Swallows 5

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WLWWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

The Swallows lost a winnable see-saw game, as Ishikawa and the bullpen weren’t quite able to hold a lead against the Dragons.

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W: Okada (6-5); L: Kyuko (1-1); S: Iwase (27)

 Dragons Swallows
1Atsushi Fujii (CF)1Wataru Hiyane (LF)
2Kyohei Iwasaki (SS)2Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)
3Ryosuke Hirata (RF)3Shingo Kawabata (3B)
4Kazuhiro Wada (LF)4Wladimir Balentien (RF)
5Masahiko Morino (2B)5Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)
6Matt Clark (1B)6Testuto Yamada (2B)
7Shuhei Takahashi (3B)7Ryoji AIkawa (C)
8Kohei Oda (C)8Keizo Kawashima (SS)
9Masa Yamamoto (P)9Masanori Ishikawa (P)

Things didn’t start well for the Swallows. Fujii started the game with a single and got bunted over the second. Ishikawa got Hirata to strike out, but the wheels came off in the next at bat. Wada skyed a bloop single to center that scored Fujii from second. It looked like Ueda fielded the ball on the bounce, but unlike his heroics on Tuesday night Ueda seemingly spike the ball in such a way that it managed to roll into foul territory past first base. The unexpected throw gave Wada time to circle the bases for an unofficial inside-the-park homerun. 2-0 Dragons It was a bizarre play that set the stage for the night.

The oldest active player in baseball, Masa Yamamoto, kept the Swallows off the board through the first three innings. Although he did not look untouchable. But the Dragons were able to extend their lead before the Swallows got their first run, as Clark was able to hit a classic Ishikawa solo shot in the fourth. 3-0 Dragons

The Swallows finally got to Yamamoto in the bottom of the inning as Fludge lead off the inning with a solo shot. 3-1 Dragons Yamada, Aikawa, and Kawashima got an extra run with back-to-back-to-back singles. 3-2 Dragons Yamamoto got his first out via an Ishikawa sac bunt, and was pulled for Okada soon after. With men on second and third, Hiyane managed a high hopping grounder to score the tying run at the expense of an out. 3-3 All

The Dragons retook the lead in the next inning as Fujii got his second home run in as many nights to put the Dragons up by one. 4-3 Dragons

The tide turned in the Swallows’ favor in the bottom of the inning. Kawabata lead off the inning with a single before Balentien and Hatake went down on strikeouts. Yamada managed to draw a walk and Aikawa singled off Okada to score Kawabata to tie the game. 4-4 All Okada walked Kawashima to sert the stage for a dramatic pinch-hit appearance by Miyamoto. Miyamoto delivered by blooping a hit down the right field line to score Yamada and take the lead for the Swallows. 5-4 Swallows

Unfortunately the dramatic pinch hit appearance meant that the Swallows were going to dip into their bullpen in the sixth inning. In a blink of an eye the bullpen disappointed once again as Fujita gave up a lead off solo shot to Wada to tie the game. 5-5 All Fujita gave way to Kyuko, who got two outs before surrendering a hit to Takahashi. What should have been a simple single, lead to Takahashi standing on third as Balentien over-pursued the ball and got in front of Ueda who had a more natural path the the ball. With both outfielders converging on the same point, the ball got behind both of them as neither made the play. The Dragons elected to send in Tanishige to pinch hit, and the Swallows elected to send Yamamoto to pitch to him. As alluded to earlier, Yamamoto allowed a hit to Tanishige that scored Takahashi from third to give the Dragons the lead. 6-5 Dragons

The Swallows did get a chance in the eighth inning by loading the bases with one out against Asao, but neither Kawabata nor Balentien were able to make a play to give the Swallows the sweep.

The Swallows will go on to face the Tigers in a three game series at the Kyocera Dome.

Aikawa chases an awkward relay throw from center (!?).

Aikawa chases an awkward relay throw from center (!?).

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.

  • My friend caught one of the Dragons’ home run balls, I’m pretty sure it was the second one but I’m not 100% certain now. That was I guess the top of the fifth, the Fujii homer… do you remember if that one was hit into the center-right stands? We were in the J3 section.

    It was bittersweet catching the homer from the Dragons… part of me wanted to throw it back!!

    • Kozo

      According to the boxscore, the Fujii homer did go into center-right.

    • The security guards at Jingu disagree, but I’m a firm supporter of throwing them back.

      • At the least, we did make it a point to have someone take a picture of her and I flipping the ball off.

        Also, the ball is now happily out of our hands.