August 25th, 2013
Hiroshima Carp 4
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WWLLW
(Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium Hiroshima)
The Swallows managed to salvage the series by avoiding a sweep thanks in part to yet another Coco homer. The team managed to prevail in a back and forth game that saw some ugly plays by both sides.
|W: Kyuko (2-1); L: Imamura (2-4); S: Ishiyama (2)|
|1||Wataru Hiyane (RF)||1||Yoshihiro Maru (CF)|
|2||Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)||2||Ryosuke Kikuchi (2B)|
|3||Shingo Kawabata (3B)||3||Ryuhei Matsuyama (RF)|
|4||Wladimir Balentien (LF)||4||Kila (Ka'aihue) (1B)|
|5||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)||5||Eishin Soyogi (SS)|
|6||Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)||6||Jun Hirose (LF)|
|7||Yuhei Nakamura (C)||7||Shogo Kimura (3B)|
|8||Keizo Kawashima (C)||8||Yoshikazu Kura (C)|
|9||Kenichi Matsuoka (P)||9||Takaya Toda (P)|
Both teams trotted out starting pitchers they probably would have rather not started. The youngster Toda for the Carp did allow the first two batters on but managed to get out of the first unscathed. The veteran Matsuoka gave up the first run of the game on a textbook single-bunt-single combo. 1-0 Carp
The Swallows would put two men on again in the second, but couldn’t get the killing blow again. Matsuoka got through the next inning 1-2-3. Things finally went right after Kawabata drew a one out walk for Balentien. Coco took a high outside pitch and arced it it straight into the stands in left center. 2-1 Swallows Hatake and Hiroyasu followed with back-to-back hits but ultimately the chance ended with a double play.
Matsuoka pitched another perfect inning before the wheels came off for him in the fourth. Things started well in the fourth as Matsuoka got Kila to strikeout looking. However, Soyogi singled to left, and managed to steal second as Matsuoka and Hirose battled to a ten pitch walk. Matsuoka proceeded to walk Kimura and Kura to bring home the tying run. 2-2 All Matsuoka’s night ended after he gave up a pinch-hit single that plated another run. 3-2 Carp Shichijo came in and cleaned up the bases loaded mess by getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
The bullpen combo of Shichijo, Oshimoto, Kyuko, and Yamamoto kept the Carp hitless through the fifth and eighth inning although they gave up some walks that lead to some hairy situations. The Swallows got runners of their own but couldn’t get the crucial hits to bring them home. Things finally came together in the eighth. Captain Hiroyasu got his third hit of the night to lead off the eighth. Nakamura bunted Tanaka over to second and Morioka got on base as Imamura hit him. With the pitcher’s spot up, the Swallows sent out Miyamoto to the plate. Miyamoto announced his intention to retire after the season earlier in the day, and was making his first in-game appearance since the news broke. Miyamoto hit a grounder to second, but Kikuchi was a bit too eager to turn the DP and fumbled the ball, allowing a hard-running Miyamoto to reach first and load the bases. Hiyane managed to get his recently hot bat to poke a single to right to tie the game. 3-3 All Ueda followed with a fly ball to center that was deep enough to get a run to score from third. 4-3 Swallows
The Swallows managed to get an important insurance run in the ninth. Balentien lead off the inning with a walk and was replaced on the bases by Miwa. Hatake and Hiroyasu were unable to advance Miwa and gave up two runs. Miwa stole second and ran hard as Nakamura hit a grounder to third. Abe fielded the ball but missed his throw high and slightly off the bag which gave Nakamura just enough time to be safe. While Kila was looking pissed at the ump, Miwa managed to slide home safe without a throw. 5-3 Swallows
The extra run would come in handy as rookie closer Ishiyama did not have the smoothest ninth inning. Ishiyama gave up a lead off fly ball that required a spectacular diving catch by Ueda to get an out. Maru followed with a hit, and Kikuchi drew a walk to put two men on with just one out. Matsuyama followed by poking a weak hit to right that was slow enough that it didn’t give Miwa’s weak arm at right a shot at getting the man at home. 5-4 Swallows Ishiyama managed to get out of the inning as he got Kila to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. 5-4 Swallows FINAL
- Miyamoto will hold a formal press conference tomorrow in Tokyo where he will explain his feelings about retirement. The Miyamoto retirement tour now begins, and reaching the playoffs for Miyamoto will no doubt become a rallying cry for the stretch run.
- Balentien’s 2-run homer puts his season total at 48. Coco also added 3 walks (1 intentional) tonight, something that will probably become more routine in the coming weeks.
- The Swallows are 1.5 games behind fifth place and 6 games off of the the final playoff spot.
- The Swallows will kick off a 6 game home stand against the Dragons and BayStars starting on Tuesday.