Sep 14th 2013, vs Hanshin

September 14th, 2013

Hanshin Tigers 0

Tokyo Swallows 2

Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LLLLW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Brace yourself. The Swallows won.

 
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W: Kiya (3-3; 4.14 ERA)
L: Fujinami (10-6; 2.55)
S: Ishiyama (3-2 4S; 2.92)

But nobody hit a home run tonight.

Hanshin
Order
Tokyo
Nishioka (2B)1Ueda (CF)
Shibata (CF)2Miwa (RF)
Arai Sr. (1B)3Kawabata (3B)
Toritani (SS)4Balentien (LF)
Murton (LF)5Yuichi (1B)
Fukudome (RF)6Aikawa (C)
Arai Jr. (3B)7Morioka (SS)
Shimizu (C)8Yamada (2B)
Fujinami (P)9Kiya (P)

The Swallows were held hitless through nearly the first four full frames, but Balentien broke up Fujinami’s no-hitter with two outs, and Yuichi followed with a rip up the middle that nearly took Fujinami’s head off. But that’s as far as the good times would go because Aikawa’s grounder was perfectly placed for a force out at second.

Aikawa and Murton get into it at home plate after the final out of the inning.

Aikawa and Murton get into it at home plate after the final out of the inning.

The next time  that things got interesting was when Murton rounded third on a single up the middle with two outs. Ueda’s throw home was right on the money and well ahead of Murton’s arrival. And there was a collision. A big one. Every Swallows in attendance had flashbacks from the collision in this game. Both began their return to an offensive posture quickly, and in the process Murton appeared to remove Aikawa’s right leg from his general vicinity with a bit of force. For whatever reason, Murton decided to head back toward the plate after standing up, and that was all the extra aggression Aikawa could stand, and a brief shoving match ensued.

Murton, for his part, only got half a push in before throwing his arms up in the air and spinning out of the fray, but both benches emptied before order could be restored. After a brief umpire’s meeting, it was decided that both Aikawa and Murton should be ejected. Murton probably would have been spared the indignity if he had checked to see whether Aikawa had dropped the ball before heading back towards the plate.
One thing here is for certain. Shiroishi’s aura near third base sometimes causes opposing coaches to wave players home when they shouldn’t. Bless him.
Your Swallows then responded by scoring the first run of the game, something that they haven’t been in the habit of doing recently. Miwa got things going with a one out single in the bottom of the sixth, and he eventually made his way all the way to third with Kawabata standing in the batter’s box for all of it (steal, wild pitch). But unlike last night, Kawabata delivered with an infield bouncer that was slow enough to allow Miwa to sneak home from third.
1-0 Tokyo.
Oh, and by the way, Kiya was quietly putting together one of the best starts we’ve seen from a player wearing a Swallows uniform in a long while. He pitched seven full innings without surrendering a run despite six hits and a walk. He also notched nine strikeouts while over his 100 pitches of work.
Fujinami had a number of pitches hit directly at him tonight.

Tokyo’s bats nearly took Fujinami’s head off at least three times during the game. Miyamoto ended up drilling him in the leg.

The birds benefited from a little more sloppy Hanshin play in the bottom of the seventh on their way to building a two run lead. Yuichi’s single started things off, but things soon appeared to go off the rails when Nishida (now catching thanks to Aikawa’s ejection) Tak-bunted into a force out at second. But Fujinami helped resurrect the Tokyo attack by missing the mark with a sharp pickoff move to first that allowed Nishida to take two bases. Nishida would soon score on a phenomenal diving squeeze bunt by Morioka.

2-0 Final.
Yamamoto pitched a scoreless eighth despite dealing with a couple of runners, and Ishiyama closed things out in the ninth with a nice 1-2-3 inning for the save.

Game three of this series is scheduled for tomorrow, but it looks like we might be looking at some typhoon-related nastiness that could very easily mess with things.

If tomorrow’s game gets cancelled, then the Swallows will head to Yokohama Stadium for a three game set starting on Tuesday. All three games are scheduled for 6PM starts.

GAME NOTES:

Balentien was 1-3 with a single and a walk. He struck out swinging (four pitches), cracked a single to right, popped out to third when it seemed like Hanshin might have been trying to pitch around him, and got a free pass in his last at bat when Hanshin was definitely trying to walk him. He didn’t see a pitch within a foot and a half of home plate during that last at bat.

Even some of the Hanshin fans were booing when Watanabe was brought in to walk Balentien with two outs in the top of the eighth.

Tonight was the first time that the Swallows have recorded a shutout win since the team’s 1-0 win over Chunichi in Matsuyama on August 6th.

Yuichi was the only Tokyo player with more than one hit today. He was 2-4 with a pair of singles to center.

Ishiyama needed only eight pitches to get through the ninth inning and record the save.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini

  • Kozo

    Remember that Murton was also the guy who injured Masahiro Tanaka on a home plate collision. Tanaka just rejoined the team.

    Here’s the squeeze play. I guess if you attempt it enough time you’ll eventually get it.

    • http://leftytgirl.wordpress.com/ Savannah

      The diving bunt from Morioka was just spectacular.

    • Hokkaido chocolate

      Why couldn’t Balentien do that for a home run :p

      But at least I finally got to see a proper squeeze play live. We need more of them!

  • Kozo

    Also, Yuichi has 10 multi-hit games in his last 12 games. He currently has a streak of 6 straight multi-hit games.

  • Yakyuu Saru

    Dammit, I have tickets for tonight’s game. I was hoping to see Ogawa pitch for the first time in person as well as Balentien #56. How do you usually find out when the team announces a rain out?

    • Kozo

      Follow us on Twitter! (@tokyoswallows) I post rain cancellation info as soon as I get it from the team’s email. Sometimes I’ve beaten the Swallows own Twitter account.

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