April 4th, 2014
Tokyo Swallows 5
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WLLLW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
After a cracking first inning on Opening Day, the Swallows went downhill. A merciful rain-out in Hiroshima yesterday brought the team back home to host Hanshin and make sure the calendar said “2014”.
|W: Ogawa (2-0); L: Messenger (0-1); S: Carpenter (0-0-1)|
This was set to be a match-up of the aces: 2013 ROTY Ryan Ogawa, one of Tokyo’s few bright spots recently, vs. the rather scary Randy Messenger. He could be scary because he seems to chuckle after most at-bats, or he could be scary because he led the CL with 183 Ks and five of his 12 wins came against Tokyo.
|1||Uemoto (2B)||1||Yamada (2B)|
|2||Yamato (CF)||2||Yuhei (CF)|
|3||Toritani (SS)||3||Milledge (LF)|
|4||Gomez (1B)||4||Balentien (RF)|
|5||Murton (LF)||5||Kawabata (3B)|
|6||Fukudome (RF)||6||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|7||Imanari (3B)||7||Morioka (SS)|
|8||Fujii (C)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|9||Messenger (P)||9||Ogawa (P)|
The bottom of the second started in one of surest ways to get yours truly to swear at people who can’t hear him: After Balentien was walked, Kawabata sac-bunted, resulting in a man on first (Kawabata) and one out. Hatakeyama then singled, followed by a Morioka RBI double. Messenger walked Nakamura to load the bases, but got out of the inning. 1-0 Tokyo.
Two outs into the bottom of the fifth, Yuhei walked. Milledge followed that up with his first home run of the season. 3-0 Tokyo.
The Tigers got on the board two into the sixth. With Uemoto and Gomez on the corners, Murton singled on a fly ball to right, driving Uemoto in. 3-1 Tokyo.
The Birds did a good job of making Messenger work, pushing up to 117 pitches by the end of the sixth. Tsutsui took the mound for Hanshin, making his second appearance of the season.
Ogawa began to fade in the eighth. Yamato hit a liner to left, then, after building a 2-0 count, against Toritani, Ogawa tossed four straight balls to face Gomez with men on the corners. Gomez singled to right, driving in Yamato. 3-2 Tokyo.
Nobody wants the smelly old Tigers that close to them, though. Morioka cracked a lovely double to left – just out of the reach of Murton. Nakamura followed that by reaching a full count on six away pitches before knocking the seventh, an inside slider, into the stands for his first round-tripper of the season. 5-2 Tokyo, Final.
More Hanshin tomorrow.