September 10th, 2013
Tokyo Swallows 3
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: DWLWL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
|W: Maeda (13-5 / 2.02 ERA)
L: Matsuoka (1-3 / 6.52 ERA)
The Swallows were soundly thumped, but COCO TOOK A STEP CLOSER TO IMMORTALITY WITH HOME RUN NUMBER 54 AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS BECAUSE, WELL, THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS. So, erm, there.
|Maru (CF)||1||Yamada (2B)|
|Kikuchi (2B)||2||Ueda (CF)|
|Ka'aihue (1B)||3||Kawabata (3B)|
|Eldred (LF)||4||Balentien (LF)|
|Matsuyama (RF)||5||Yuichi (1B)|
|Soyogi (SS)||6||Ihara (RF)|
|Kimura (3B)||7||Morioka (SS)|
|Ishihara (C)||8||Nakaura (C)|
|Maeda (P)||9||Matsuoka (P)|
A Matsuoka vs Maeda piching battle seemed on paper to be the stuff of nightmares for Swallows fans, and though it ultimately proved to be, early on things went Tokyo’s way against arguably the CL’s finest.
After Yamada doubled to start things off, and was bunted around to third, Kawabata hit a grounder to first, but Yamada couldn’t make it home due to good plate blockage by Carp catcher Ishihara and was thus called out. Maeda then decided to challenge Balentien, throwing fastballs up and over the plate until, with the count at one ball and two strikes, Maeda tried to throw another fastball, this time high over the plate but out of the zone, and Coco lapped it up like the hungry beast he is, the ball travelling over the outfield wall in left for 2-0 Tokyo, but more importantly COCO 54. That home run drew him level with Randy Bass at no.2 in the all-time single season home run list, now just the solitary dinger behind Messrs Oh, Rhodes, and Cabrera.
But the Carp would pull level against Matsuoka in the 2nd. A single, dead ball, sac bunt to move the runners, then a two run single from Ishihara making it 2-2.
And the real damage was done in the 3rd, but this time it wasn’t wholly Matsuoka’s fault. With two outs and no-one on, Matsuyama struck out swinging, only Nakamura fluffed his throw to first (dropped third strike) with the ball sailing way over the head of Yuichi, and Matsuyama found himself at second not quite believing his luck. Another two singles followed, 3-2 Hiroshima, but the real kicker was an Ishihara three-run homer which made it 6-2.
In the bottom of the 3rd, a Ueda double followed by a single from Kawabata set the table for Balentien, but he could only strike out swinging on an outside slider from Maeda.
After Matsuoka’s unfortunate 3rd, Emura came in and allowed a run in the 4th for 7-2. Balentien next came to bat in the 5th and, with a man on second with two outs, he was walked on four straight outside pitches. Yuichi then grounded out to end the inning.
Miyamoto made a cameo in the 6th, a one-pitch one-swing one-RBI appearance that brought home Morioka from second for 7-3.
After Abe had pitched two perfect innings in relief, Shichijo gave up a solo shot to Kila in the top of the 7th which made it 8-3, while another solo shot from Eldred, this time of Fujita made it 9-3.
Balentien had struck out swinging by Nagakawa in the bottom of the 7th, and he completed his evening in the bottom of the 9th, coming to the plate with two outs and men on first and second. But he only managed to ground into a game ending double play for a 9-3 Hiroshima Final.
Game (& other) Notage
- Matsuoka didn’t go long enough into this one for me to justify typing out his final line. Just know that he was only responsible for the first two of the six runs he game up.
- 17,883 folks were here for this one.
- Atsushi Fujimoto recently announced his intention to retire at the end of this season. No real biggy there, given that he his more closely associated with Hanshin. But for what it’s worth, I’ve warmed to him during his time in Tokyo, pretty much since “that” umpire pushing incident a few years back, where he earned his Swallows stripes. Those who were there know what I’m talking about.
- Balentien has another 5 games this week at Jingu if he wants to try and equal and beat the record at home (there are plenty more chances if he doesn’t mind you).
- Given the nature of the team at this moment in time, I wish I had the ability to fast forward time and just watch Coco’s at-bats from now until the end of the season. And a mute button to shut up STADIUM DJ PATRIKUUUUUUUUUUUUUU’s god-awful verbal diarrhoea/self-parody act should he break the record at Jingu.
- Tomorrow will see Ishikawa take on Ohtake on the mound.