May 4th 2014, vs Hanshin

May 4th, 2014

Hanshin Tigers 4

Tokyo Swallows 1

Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: LWLWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Hanshin leveled the series despite a strong outing from Tokyo starter, Chris Narveson.

 123456789RHE
Hanshin0100001024100
Tokyo010000000161
W: Tsuru (1-0; 5.79 ERA)
L: Narveson (0-2; 4.66)
S: Oh (1-0 7S; 2.08 ERA)

The Swallows offense was somehow unable to figure out the opposing starter, Tsuru, who allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in four of the six innings that he pitched. In fact, today was the first game all season that the Swallows have been held to less than two runs.

HanshinOrderTokyo
Yamato (CF)1Yamada (2B)
Shunsuke (RF)2Ueda (CF)
Toritani (SS)3Kawabata (3B)
Gomez (1B)4Balentien (LF)
Murton (LF)5Yuhei (RF)
Arai (3B)6Hatakeyama (1B)
Umeno (C)7Araki (SS)
Araki (2B)8Nakamura (C)
Tsuru (P)9Narveson (P)

Tokyo’s long run came in the bottom of the second when they were already trailing by one run (thanks partly to a fielding error in the top of the inning). Balentien and Yuhei got things started with consecutive singles before Hatakeyama and Araki lit a pair of red lamps. But Nakamura came through with a double and Balentien scored from second to tie the game. Narveson struck out to end the threat.

1-1

And that was pretty much the end of the Swallows night on offense. They didn’t get a runner past second base for the rest of the game, and they started striking out en masse from the seventh through the ninth (two in each inning).

Narveson went seven strong innings today in his best outing so far for the Swallows.

Narveson went seven strong innings today in his best outing so far for the Swallows.

Meanwhile, Hanshin got its first earned run of the game in the seventh. With two outs and Umeno standing on second base, Sekimoto was brought in to pinch hit for Tsuru, and he knocked the first pitch he saw, a changeup, into center field for a double.

1-2 Hanshin

Carpenter (0-1 3S; 6.43 ERA) allowed two runners in the eighth, but he got out of the jam on a 4-6-2 double play. Abe got the first out of the ninth and then gave up a hit before being yanked in favor of Kyuko to face the left-handed Imanari who was brought in to pinch hit for the eighth inning reliever, Fukuhara. The lefty-lefty matchup did not work in Tokyo’s favor, however, as Imanari pulled the first pitch he saw over the fence in right.

1-4 Final

Narveson was unfortunate to get the loss today because it was arguably his best start of the season thus far. He allowed just two runs (one earned) over 114 pitches and seven full innings of work. He gave up six hits and had one balk while striking out five and walking two. This was the first time this season that Narveson was able to pitch the seventh inning, and Tokyo fans everywhere are hoping to see a lot more of that from him in the future.

On offense, Nakamura was the only Tokyo player with a multi-hit game (RBI 2B, F1, 1B, K). Yamada, Balentien, and Araki each chipped in with a single and a walk.

And because no Tokyo weekend would be complete without more injury news, Balentien was removed from the game during the eighth inning because of tightness in his right leg (adductor muscle).

Game three of this series is scheduled for tomorrow at 6 PM. Yagi is slated to pitch for Tokyo while Hanshin will counter with Messenger.

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

  • Dan

    Frustrating game. Never a good sign when your mascot resigns and announces it’s his final game after the fifth inning. Narveson did a good job getting ahead of batters with first pitch strikes, but Sekimoto jumped on that with a first-pitch double to bring home the winning run in the seventh. Balentien is a liability in the field and on the basepaths, but I didn’t understand the decision to pull him with the double switch down late in a one-run game.

    • Kozo

      Apparently Balentien felt pain and tightness in his hips.