May 20th, 2014
Chiba Marines 9
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WWWWL
(QVC Marine Stadium)
|W: Masuda (4-0)|
L: Kyuko (1-1 ; 9.82 ERA)
The Swallows came within one out of extending their season’s best streak to seven games, but ultimately ended up losing in extra frames. In other words INTERLEAGUE PLAY HAS COME TO FUCK EVERYTHING UP (AGAIN).
|Yamada (2B)||1||Fukuda (CF)|
|Hiyane (CF)||2||Suzuki (2B)|
|Kawabata (3B)||3||Iguchi (1B)|
|Balentien (LF)||4||Saburo (LF)|
|Yuhei (RF)||5||Cruz (SS)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||6||Kakunaka (RF)|
|Araki (SS)||7||Imae (3B)|
|Aikawa (C)||8||Yoshida (C)|
|Furuno (P)||9||Wakui (P)|
You will note from the above lineups that there are no DHs in play tonight. This season, pitchers will hit in PL parks, while DHs will come into play in CL ballparks.
Tokyo took an early lead against Wakui and his enormous head in the 1st. Back-to-back two-out singles from Kawabata and Balentien put two men on the corners for Yuhei, and he hit a high bouncing chopper up the middle that the Marines infield couldn’t turn into the final out at second, Kawabata scoring from third for 1-0 Tokyo.
That lead was gone in the 2nd. Saburo got things started hitting one off the wall in left, which was excellently fielded by Balentien, his throw to second beating the lumbering Marine handily, only Yamada misjudged the flight of the ball off the bounce, and Chiba had the lead off runner at second. Unfortunately the inning wouldn’t get much better as Furuno allowed two walks and three singles as the Marines put up four runs in the inning, 4-1 Chiba.
Tokyo clawed one back in the 5th. A Nakamura single, Furuno sac bunt, Yamada single up the middle sequence allowed Nakamura to just squeeze home at home for 4-2. Hiyane then hit into what initially looked like a double play, but barely beat the ball to first, though in then end that mattered not as Hiyane was picked off creeping at first during Kawabata’s at bat to end the inning.
And Hiyane was involved again in the bottom of the inning, and not in a positive way, allowing Iguchi to reach second on his error after misjudging the bounce of the ball and letting it past him to the wall. Iguchi would be brought home two outs later for 5-2.
Tokyo would make their push in the 6th. Kawabata walked to start the inning, before Balentien singled to put men on first and second. That was it for Wakui as Uchi was summoned from the bullpen for Chiba. The change mattered not, as another Yuhei chopper, this one bouncing high over the infield to left, scored Kawabata from second for 5-3, with men again on first and second. Hatake was next up, who hit one straight up the middle to make it 5-4 with two men on in the same positions yet again, with no outs once more.
Araki then tried to lay down a sac bunt to move the runners into scoring positions, but it went better than he deserved, as his rather poor bunt attempt was fluffed in the field by catcher Yoshida, with the bases now loaded on the error. Nakamura was next up to play, hitting a blooper to shallow centre that landed between three rather inept looking fielders to tied things up at 5-5. Ihara then came in to bat for Furuno, and he ended up hitting a unintended grounder to first while trying to lay off a pitch, the out was made at home, but the bases were still juiced with one out. And the Swallows finally took the lead once more with a Yamada sac fly to right and it was 6-5 Tokyo. Hiyane ended the party by striking out swinging.
Iwahashi came in to pitch the 6th for the Swallows, and put up a zero despite allowing a one out double. He returned to pitch the 7th, and got hit by a comebacker (which he ultimately fielded for out number one) and had to leave the field briefly. He returned to the field, and a weak throw from Araki at short let a man on from the error. The second out followed he walked Kakunaka. Ogawa then replaced the rookie with Ishiyama to face Imae. And things initially didn’t look good, but with the count at 3-1, Saburo inexplicably crept too far from second, and he was picked off by Ishiyama to end the inning with the lead intact.
Akiyoshi then pitched the 8th and 9th frames, notching up two strikeouts in the former and three in the latter. The only problem with that was that an Iguchi solo homer to centre came just before the final of those Ks in the 9th, 6-6.
And so we were on to extra frames, which brought only heartache as Kyuko gave up a three run homer to Katoh for a 9-6 Chiba Final.
- There won’t be many of these as I’ve been leaking noxious liquid from both ends this evening and I want to polish off this report before another bout arrives. It seems Inter league doesn’t agree with me either.
- The Fox Sports channel that broadcast tonight’s game has the option of a secondary audio channel, one with no commentary. I tried this for a while but the monotonous drone of the Marine fans made me yearn for the jabber of the commentators.
- Tomorrow will see Ishikawa take the mound for the Swallows as they look to even the series.