August 6th, 2013
Tokyo Swallows 1
Chunichi Dragons 0
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LLWLW
(Hamamatsu Stadium, Shizuoka)
|W: Furuno (1-0; 3.14 ERA) L: Nakata (4-4; 2.78 ERA)
S: Barnette (6S; 11.12 ERA)
Six strong shut-out innings from a starter not named Ogawa (or Ishikawa): CHECK! Three shut-out innings from a four man bullpen relay: CHECK! Chances at a premium but bats come up with just enough to put a run on the board for the win: CHECK! Yes, do not adjust your browser, this was your Tokyo Swallows. Been a while since we won like this eh?: CHECK!
|Yamada (2B)||1||Ohshima (CF)|
|Ueda (CF)||2||Morino (2B)|
|Kawabata (3B)||3||Clarke (1B)|
|Balentien (RF)||4||Luna (3B)|
|Milledge (LF)||5||Wada (LF)|
|Morioka (SS)||6||Hirata (RF)|
|Takeuchi (1B)||7||Takahashi (SS)|
|Nakamura (C)||8||Matsui (C)|
|Furuno (P)||9||Nakata (P)|
Let’s take moment to go over the Swallows starting rotation. Of course we have the phenom/SON OF TATEYAMA that is Ogawa, the old hand that is Ishikawa, and then Yagi who has been toiling away all year for little in the way of results or reward. After that we have Muranaka, Akagawa, and Roman. Only we don’t, as they’re all on the farm and by the manager’s own admission, the first two of that trio cannot be relied upon from this point onwards, while the third was last seen limping off the field part way through the latest of his less than stellar 2013 starts. So when it comes to the back end of the rotation, Ogawa is going to have to get creative, and thus we had Furuno back on the mound for his second attempt at being a starting pitcher. And boy did the lad do well.
And though he let a man reach third in the 2nd inning, and then men reach the corners in the 3rd, Furuno managed to limit the Dragons to three hits and no runs over the first five frames of this one.
The Swallows meanwhile, managed just the one hit (Morioka double in the 2nd, eventually stranded at third) over the first same stretch. Another double followed in the 5th, this time from Takeuchi, but again the runner ended up marooned at third.
In the 6th, Tokyo applied their first real pressure of the night. Singles from Ueda and Kawabata put men on the corners to lead off the inning, which brought up Balentien who was 0 for 2 to that point. Coco worked the count full, including taking a nasty inside pitch for ball three that nearly took his hands off, but struck out swinging on a low outside slider for out number one. That brought up Lastings Milledge, who took another Nakata inside pitch off his left arm to load the bases with one out.
Cue Morioka who hit a fly ball to right, which was enough to bring home Ueda from third on the sacfly for 1-0 Tokyo. With men still occupying first and second, Takeuchi came to the plate to try and extend the Tokyo lead, but Takeuchi being Takeuchi, he only managed to ground out to short and the inning was done with.
In the bottom of the inning Furuno started to suffer from control issues, issuing a single and a dead ball put two on with one out for Chunichi. And after he got Luna to ground out to third, Wada walked to load the bases for Hirata. And despite taking the first two pitches for balls one and two, instead of just taking more pitches to heap more pressure on the inexperienced starter, Hirata swung at an outside fastball, the result of which was a grounder to short which got Furuno out of his biggest jam of the game.
And Furuno did take the mound to warm up in the top of the 7th, but ended up leaving the field with pitching coach Araki, only to be replaced by Yamamoto. Testuya allowed a one-out double before striking out pinch hitter Fuji for out number two. Lefty Kyuko was then summoned to face lefty pest Ohshima, and he got him out swinging for strike three and the Swallows’ precarious lead of one was intact.
After Dragons’ reliever Okada sat down the Swallows in order in the top of the 8th, Kyuko remained on the mound to take on the lefties at the top of the Chunichi order. After striking out Morino looking very sharp indeed, and with another lefty Clarke on the way to the plate, Ogawa made a surprising call to the pen, and Ishiyama appeared to take on the American. And he kept thing rolling, getting out Clarke on a called third strike. The recently returned from injury Luna, arguably the hardest out in the CL this year, singled to bring up Wada. And the ex-Seibu veteran flew out to centre to leave the Swallows just three outs from an unlikely victory.
Tony Barnette would be tasked with getting those final three outs, and it didn’t start out well as he gave up a bloop single to Hirata to start the inning. But things improved as Takahashi hit into a 4-6-3 double play to put two red lights on the board. Matsui then obliged by hitting a grounder to short and we had ourselves a 1-0 Tokyo Final.
- Furuno’s final line: 6 IP / 84 P / 4 H / 4 K / 2 BB / 1 HBP / 0 ER. It was the first win of his year and a half young pro-career, and we can count on seeing him take the mound again next week as he seeks to solidify a place for himself in the starting rotation.
- After Balentien’s weekend heroics against Hiroshima, he went 0 for 4 with two Ks. He’s only human after all.
- Morioka was the stand-out with the bat, going 2 for 3 with the RBI sacfly in the 6th. He’s currently batting .269.
- Chunichi saw their 5 game winning streak come to halt.
- Tokyo edged ahead in the season series between the teams 7-6.
- Tomorrow will see the two teams head to the more familiar surrounds of Nagoya Dome, with Yagi taking the mound for the Swallows against Nishikawa.