April 16th, 2013
Tokyo Swallows 8
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WLWWL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
It was an emotionally draining night as the Swallows showed a lot of fight but ultimately couldn’t come away with the win. The Birds managed to come back from deficits on three separate occasions in the game but the bullpen couldn’t hold their final lead.
|W: Mathieson (2-2)
L: Akiyoshi (0-3)
S: Kasahara (1)
|1||Hayato Sakamoto (SS)||1||Tetsuto Yamada (2B)|
|2||Yusuke Kataoka (2B)||2||Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)|
|3||Leslie Anderson (LF)||3||Shingo Kawabata (3B)|
|4||Shuichi Murata (3B)||4||Wladimir Balentien (LF)|
|5||Shinnosuke Abe (C)||5||Yuhei (Takai) (RF)|
|6||José López (1B)||6||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|7||Hisayoshi Ch*no (RF)||7||Ryoji Aikawa (C)|
|8||Itaru Hashimoto (CF)||8||Takahiro Imanami (SS)|
|9||Tomoyuki Sugano (P)||9||Ryosuke Yagi (P)|
Things started off well for the Swallows as Yamada lead off the Swallows attack with a leadoff homer the other way off of the red-hot Sugano in the first. 1-0 Swallows
Unfortunately Yagi gave it right back in the second as he gave up back-to-back walks to start the second. Yagi managed to get Hashimoto to fly out to face Sugano. Unfortunately it seems Sugano is wielding a hot bat this season as he poked a perfect bunt for a single to score a run. 1-1 All After a Sakamoto strikeout, Kataoka got a bloop single into right to score another run. 2-1 Giants
The Swallows struck right back after Aikawa and Imanami hit two screamers back at Sugano for infield singles with two out. Aikawa’s hit struck Sugano on his right wrist and the sophomore pitcher left the field for a few minutes to recover. With two outs and a chance to help his own cause, Yagi delivered a towering shot to left field that Anderson apparently lost in the lights for a bases clearing double. 3-2 Swallows
Unfortunately Yagi lost his control in the fifth. After two quick outs, Yagi gave up a homer to Abe to tie the game. 3-3 All If that wasn’t bad enough Yagi quickly walked Lopez, which set up a Ch*no homer for the Giant’s to take the lead. 5-3 Giants
The Swallows handed the ball off to Roman for two innings after the fifth, and Sanada pitched the eighth inning and both pitchers pitched clean if not somewhat hairy innings. Sugano kept the Swallows off the board until he handed the ball off to the bullpen after the seventh inning.
After last night’s eighth inning meltdown, the Giants elected to send Yamaguchi to pitch to the heart of the Swallows order. Iihara started things off with a clean pinch hit single, and Kawabata followed with a walk. Balentien came up with expectations high and while he didn’t blast one he laced a clean single to left to score a run. 5-4 Giants Yamaguchi managed to get Yuhei to fly out harmlessly before handing the ball off to Nishimura. Hatake managed to send one back up the middle for a game-tying single. 5-5 All Aikawa loaded the bases with a single of his own to set the stage for Imanami. Imanami gave the Swallows the lead with a single and kept the pressure on Nishimura. 6-5 Swallows Yuichi extended the lead with a sac fly to center before Nishimura managed to get Yamada to foul out. 7-5 Swallows
Chris Carpenter came out to close out the game for the Swallows and the tall fireballer did not look good. After giving up a back-to-back singles to Lopez and Ch*no on just three pitches, Carpenter missed four fastballs high to Hashimoto load the bases. The Swallows yanked Carpenter for southpaw Kyuko to face Yoshinobu Takahashi. Kyuko showed more control than Carpenter but ultimately couldn’t get Takahashi to bite on his inside pitches and issued a full count walk for a run. 7-6 Swallows Kyuko came out and Yamamoto went into face the top of the Giant’s order. Yamamoto gave up a sac fly deep into right for the tie. 7-7 All Kataoka added insult to injury with a single to give the Giants back the lead. 8-7 Giants Yamamoto managed to dispatch Matsumoto and Murata but the damage was done.
With the Giants up a run they sent out last night’s hero Scott Mathieson to close out the game. Iihara and Kawabata weren’t able to recapture the magic of the eighth inning and went down despite getting good contact on Mathieson’s fastball. With two outs it was up to Balentien to save the day. Matheison fell behind early with high fastballs trying to bait Coco, but the slugger laid off. After floating a slider in for a strike, Matheison hung a fast ball high in the zone for Coco to blast into the left field seats. 8-8 All
Coco was pumped and emphatically gestured to his teammates as he started running the bases. Mathieson was not doubt hating his life as a Giant and his recent role as human piñata, said and did some Un-Canadian things to Balentien as he trotted the bases. By the time Balentien rounded third the two were jawing at each other, and after Coco stepped on home he started a slow walk towards Mathieson. The benches promptly cleared to keep the two apart and the game stopped for a few minutes. Play continued and Yuhei managed to get on base via a throwing error but Mathieson ended the inning by inducing a lazy Hatake fly.
With the game going into extra innings the Swallows dug into their bullpen and fished out Akiyoshi. Akiyoshi managed to hold the Giants to just one hit. Unfortunately that hit was a leadoff home run to Abe. 9-8 Giants
In the bottom of the inning the Giants dug into their bullpen and fished out Kasahara. After getting two quick out Kasahara gave up a towering double to Miwa to bring up Yamada. With everyone anticipating a second Yamada homer to win the game, Kasahara threw and lost control of the ball hitting Yamada in the knuckles. What remained of the Swallows crowd got fired up but Iihara was not able to respond and he grounded out to end the game. 9-8 Giants FINAL
- After the game the Giants’ Abe blamed the bench clearing kerfuffle squarely on his pitcher saying “it was sour grapes and it’s all Mathieson’s fault.”
- Video of the Balentien homer and subsequent incident can be found on the Central League’s YouTube channel.
- While both teams got 14 hits over 10 innings, the Swallows gave up a whopping 9 walks to the Giants 2.
- The grudge match will be played tonight with my man Furuno starting against the rarely used Imamura.