Apr 5th 2014, vs Hanshin

April 5th, 2014

Hanshin Tigers 11

Tokyo Swallows 12

Streak: Won 2  Last 5: LLLWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

And your Tokyo Swallows are back at .500 after a back-and-forth game at Jingu.

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W: Ishiyama (1-0; 3.86 ERA)
L: Fukuhara (1-1; 6.75)
S: Carpenter (2S; 4.50)

Matt Murton must be pissed.

HanshinOrderTokyo
Uemoto (2B)1Yamada (2B)
Yamato (CF)2Yuhei (CF)
Toritani (SS)3Milledge (LF)
Gomez (1B)4Balentien (RF)
Murton (LF)5Kawabata (3B)
R. Arai (3B)6Hatakeyama (1B)
Shunsuke (RF)7Aikawa (C)
Fujii (C)8Morioka (SS)
Akiyama (P)9Ishikawa (P)

The reason why he must be upset is he racked up seven RBI, but his teammates couldn’t help him earn the win and a well-deserved hero’s interview.

Instead, it was Tokyo’s red-hot shortstop, Morioka, that found his way onto the platform for the second night in a row.

Morioka came through when it counted once again.

Morioka came through when it counted once again.

Let’s take a highly-summarized look at how it all went down.

Top 1
Uemoto drove the fourth pitch of the contest, an Ishikawa cutter, into center field and was then Tak-bunted over to second. Gomez then brought him home with a single to center, and Murton followed with a two run blast to left on a 2-2 changeup.

0-3 Hanshin

Bottom 1
Fifth year Hanshin starter, Akiyama, returned the favor and allowed a leadoff single to Yamada, and fortunately Ogawa didn’t call for the Tak-bunt because Yuhei drove the 1-0 pitch the other way into the Hanshin bleachers for his first homer of the year. A Milledge strikeout and Balentien walk later, Kawabata doubled to put runners on second and third for Hatakeyama who grounded out to second but Balentien was able to score in the process. Aikawa then brought Kawabata home from third on a single to right.

4-3 Tokyo

Bottom 2
Ishikawa sat the Tigers in order on 10 pitches in the top of the frame, and he then helped his own cause with a hard-fought single to short after working a full count. Two outs and a Yuhei walk later, Balentien’s single to right was met with a Shunsuke error that allowed both Ishikawa and Yuhei to score.

6-3 Tokyo

Top 3
But then things got ugly in a hurry. Uemoto led off with a base hit for the second time in as many at-bats, and Yamato’s double-play grounder got the better of Morioka and both runners were safe (E6). Toritani drew a walk to load the bases before Ishikawa finally got an out on a called third strike against Gomez. But Murton cleared the bases with a double to left.

6-6

Yamada had another good game offensively (3-4, 2 RBI, HBP).

Yamada had another good game offensively (3-4, 2 RBI, HBP).

Bottom 4
The Swallows again took the lead thanks to a trio of singles. Yamada singled to center and Yuhei to left. With runners on the corners, Milledge punched a nasty ball right back at the pitcher which left all three players safe (including Yamada at home).

7-6 Tokyo

Top 5
But it would get decidedly grim before it got better. With one out, Gomez singled to center and Murton brought him home with his second long-ball of the game. One out later, Ishikawa walked Shunsuke on four pitches to get to Fujii, but the forgotten catcher hit a first-pitch single to left to signal the end of Ishikawa’s afternoon on the mound.

With Oshimoto now on the mound and runners on first and second, Yamada’s error on a grounder to second allowed both runners to reach home plate.

7-10 Hanshin

Bottom 5
But the birds didn’t cave. Hatakeyama and Morioka singled to center, and Yuichi singled to third to load the bags for Yamada with one. Tokyo’s second baseman continued his excellent afternoon at the plate with a sac fly to right which allowed Hatakeyama to score from third. Yuhei followed with a single of his own, and amid some craziness on the base paths another run scored before Hanshin could secure the third out.

9-10 Hanshin

Bottom 6
Milledge led off with an infield single, and Balentien drew another walk. Kawabata then tried to bunt both runners over (not technically a Tak-bunt because there was a runner on second), but he kind of botched it and Milledge got gunned down at third. But Balentien scored from second on Aikawa’s single to center.

10-10

Bottom 8
Hatakeyama led the inning off with a double to the wall in left on a 2-0 heater from reliever Fukuhara. One out later, Morioka knocked a double of his own to push the Swallows back into the lead (pinch-runner, Miwa, scored from third after touching up on Aikawa’s fly ball to right one batter prior), and Yamada drove in the all-important insurance run with a single to right.

12-10 Tokyo

Carpenter has closed out both of Tokyo's wins so far this week.

Carpenter has closed out both of Tokyo’s wins so far this week.

Top 9
Toritani worked another walk to lead off the top of the ninth with Carpenter trying to close things out for the second game in a row. Out number one came via a foul fly on the first base side, but Murton drew a walk to reach base for the fourth time today. Carpenter then struck pinch-hitter Takahiro Arai (the third baseman’s older brother) on a foul-tip for out number two, but pinch-hitter Sekimoto bundled the low 2-2 pitch into center field to score Toritani from second. But Carpenter got Fujii to look at two straight heaters on the outside of the plate before getting him to go golfing for a tough slider and the last strike of the game.

12-11 Final

GAME NOTES:

Ishikawa ended up giving up 10 runs (eight earned) during his four and two-thirds innings on the mound. He threw 100 piches, allowed nine hits (two homers) and a pair of walks while striking out two. His ERA now stands at 10.24 after his second start.

Ishiyama got the win for the Swallows after pitching a scoreless top of the eighth (K, BB).

Yamada was 3-4 with two RBI and one HBP.

Yuhei was 3-4 with a home run and three RBI. He also added two walks.

Milledge was 3-6 at the plate with one RBI.

Balentien was 1-2 with an RBI and three walks (one intentional).

Hatakeyama and Morioka went 2-5 with an RBI.

Aikawa was also 2-5 with two RBI.

The Swallows offense banged out 19 hits in their most productive day at the plate in a long, long while.

This game marks the first series win for the Swallows in 2014.

The birds go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon at Jingu with the first pitch scheduled for 1:30 PM (weather permitting).

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