September 22nd, 2013
Tokyo Swallows 7
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WWLTW
For a while there this felt very much like yesterday afternoon’s game.
|W: Ogawa (15-4; 2.96 ERA)
L: Kubota (0-1; 4.74)
S: Ishiyama (3-2 7S; 2.70)
But fortunately for Tokyo fans, time ran out on the Hanshin comeback.
|Yamada (2B)||1||Nishioka (2B)|
|Ueda (CF)||2||Saka (3B)|
|Kawabata (3B)||3||Murton (LF)|
|Balentien (LF)||4||Toritani (SS)|
|Yuichi (1B)||5||Fukudome (RF)|
|Iihara (RF)||6||Arai, Jr. (1B)|
|Morioka (SS)||7||Shibata (CF)|
|Nakamura (C)||8||Shimizu (C)|
|Ogawa (P)||9||Akiyama (P)|
Your Swallows never trailed in this one, but the Tigers kept it close throughout. Tokyo scored two in the top of the first thanks to Iihara’s single to left with two outs. Both Ueda and Kawabata scored.
2-0 Good guys.
But then Hanshin came right back in the bottom of the frame by loading the bases with one out. Fukudome’s grounder to second was enough to score Saka from third.
Ogawa would settle down and keep the home side off the board for the next four innings. That was enough time for the birds to score one more run, yet another RBI single for Iihara, this time to right.
Hanshin would level the game in the bottom of the sixth on a bases-clearing double by Fukudome with no outs. Fukudome was fortunately not able to find his way home thanks to a strikeout and a nice diving defensive play by Yamada at second in which Hanshin’s overpaid right fielder got doubled up.
The birds would seal the deal with a big inning in the top of the seventh. Yamada stretched a double on a single up the middle and was allowed home on the next pitch when Kubota muffed his throw on Ueda’s sac bunt. Both runners took two bases on the play.
Two batters later, Balentien secured his second walk of the game (six pitches), and Yuichi responded with a three run shot to right on a 2-1 heater over the plate.
Ogawa would again get knocked around a bit in the bottom of the inning, a frame that he would not finish. Back-to-back doubles from pinch hitters Hidaka and Sekimoto set the stage for a Saka sacrifice fly and a Murton RBI single to left.
After juicing the bases with one out in the top of the eighth, Tokyo would ultimately strand all three runners after Balentien struck out swinging and Yuichi grounded out to first.
Hanshin made the game even tighter in the bottom of the eighth with Yamamoto now on relief duty for the birds. Pinch hitter, Shunsuke, started with a single to left that involved some funny business on defense which allowed the runner to take second. He scored from third two batters later on Sekimoto’s single to center.
Do you see what I mean about this thing feeling like Saturday’s game?
But the Swallows would prevail in the end as Ishiyama had a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the ninth to preserve Tokyo’s mini late-season streak of 5-1-1 since Saturday the 14th.
Ogawa got the win, the 15th of his rookie year, after pitching six and two-thirds innings of eight hit, three walk, seven K, five run baseball.
Kyuko (3.00 ERA) finished up the seventh for Ogawa, Yamamoto (one unearned run; 2.91 ERA) pitched the eighth, and Ishiyama got another save after throwing 14 pitches in the ninth (2.70 ERA).
On offense, several players had multi-hit games:
- Ueda was 2-3 with a walk and three runs scored.
- Kawabata was 2-4 with a walk.
- Iihara was 2-5 with three RBI.
Yuichi’s homer in the seventh was his fourth of the year. He added a walk to his three RBI.
The final game of this series, and the last that the Swallows will play at Koshien this season, is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at 2PM.
Muranaka will take the mound for the Swallows while the Tigers will counter with Messenger. In other words, Tokyo’s in trouble.
- Ogawa is the first rookie to win at least 15 games since 1999. Incidentally, two rookies had at least 15 wins in ’99. Can you guess their names (click the ‘since 1999’ link for the answer)? Interestingly, both pitchers won ROY honors in their respective leagues that season.
- Balentien was 0-3 with two walks and two strikeouts swinging. He complained that he doesn’t feel that he sees the ball well during day games at Koshien. He has not hit a home run since number 58 left the park during Wednesday’s win at Yokohama.