May 7th, 2014
Tokyo Swallows 6
Streak: Won 3 Last 5: WLWWW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
|W: Ishikawa (1-3 / 5.01 ERA)
L: Fukui (0-1 /10.80 ERA)
This was an evening of firsts: Masanori Ishikawa tossed his first complete game shutout since May 2012, earning him his first win of the season, Tokyo’s first pitching shutout of the season, first complete game from a starter of the season, and Tokyo’s first three game winning streak of the season. And I don’t know about you dear Swallower, but I’m feeling pretty damn good about all of that wholesome goodness right about now.
|Dobayashi (3B)||1||Yamada (2B)|
|Kikuchi (2B)||2||Hiyane (CF)|
|Maru (RF)||3||Kawabata (3B)|
|Eldred (1B)||4||Balentien (LF)|
|Hirose (LF)||5||Yuhei (CF)|
|Akamatsu (CF)||6||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|Soyogi (SS)||7||Araki (SS)|
|Ishihara (C)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|Fukui (P)||9||Ishikawa (P)|
Ishikawa got the foundation he needed tonight, early and often, starting in the 1st. Yamada got the first of the inning’s five hits, a single to centre, before Hiyane hit a blooper to third for out number one. Kawabata singled to put two on, with the runners advancing into scoring positions on a wild pitch from Fukui during Balentien’s at-bat. Coco then celebrated his return to the starting lineup with a broken-bat blooper which fell just in front of Akamatsu in centre, and the Swallows had themselves a lead, 1-0 Tokyo.
With runners now on the corners, Yuhei crafted a beautiful stroke to left scoring another for 2-0. After Hatake hit a fly ball to centre for out number two, with Balentien advancing to third, Araki hit one up the middle to make it 3-0. Nakamura then walked to load the bases for Ishikawa, but Masanori couldn’t manage to give himself an even larger cushion as he struck out swinging to end the inning.
Another run followed in the 2nd. A one-out Hiyane single to centre and steal was enough to make it 4-0 after Kawabata brought him home with a single to left.
And almost the exact same series of events extended the lead in the 4th, the only difference being Hiyane getting on after being plunked on the side of his rib cage, and the Kawabata single was to centre, 5-0.
The support for Ishikawa continued in the 5th, Yuhei again being the deliverer of run supportage with a solo homer to left (no.5 on the year) and it was 6-0.
Ishikawa came under his first real threat from the Carp in the 6th. Ishihara got on to lead off the inning courtesy of a dead ball, and two outs followed for Masanori. Kikuchi then blasted one off the top of the fence in right, the ball then bouncing off the left cheekbone of a jumping Yuhei and over the fence. The Carp runners both rounded the bases, only for the umpiring crew to take a look at the video replay before correctly judging it a ground-rule double, which left Hiroshima scoreless and their runners at second and third. The double was the first hit given up by Masanori since a lead-off single in the top of the 1st inning. Ishikawa then fully dodged the bullet as Maru grounded out to short to end the inning.
He gave up a hit in both of the 7th and 8th frames, but didn’t allow any more baserunners on in each case, and so Ishikawa took the mound in the top of the 9th, looking to finish off the job. He allowed a single and a walk to put two on with one out before getting a fly out to centre to get him within a solitary out. The man that stood between him and his complete game was Soyogi, and Masanori got him to hit a flyball to shallow right, just inside of the foul line. And for a sickening moment it appeared that a charging Yuhei might not be able to make it in time, but an excellent forward lunge and dive from the former pitcher snagged the ball, and the glory for Ishikawa. 6-0 Tokyo Final.
- Ishikawa’s final line: 9 IP / 114 P / 5 H / 4 K / 2 BB / 1 HBP / 0 ER. Just as we discussed in this month’s Tokyo Swallows Podcast , Ishikawa has games like these in him, and we wondered if he still did after not seeing one for quite some time. Well take this evening as cast iron proof he listens to our podcast and gave us a definitive response. We still love you Masanori.
- Everyone (not named Ishikawa) bar Hatake and Nakamura from the starting nine managed a hit tonight. Yamada (.299 AVG), Yuhei (.257), and Araki (.375) managed two, while Kawabata (.313) had three.
- Balentien went 1 for 4 with 2 Ks and the 1 RBI on his return to the starting lineup after two games on the bench with tightness in the hip region.
- It was a good night. A very very good night.
- After almost 30,000 folks watched the last game of the Golden Week national holidays yesterday, a more Jingu-esque 15,558 were in the building to witness this one.
- Tomorrow will see Tokuyama make his first start of the season as Tokyo try to find the arms to get through the 8th of their 9 game stretch. Osera will get the start for Hiroshima.