Jun 14th 2014, @ Hokkaido

June 14th, 2014

Tokyo Swallows 6Nippon Ham

Hokkaido Fighters 7

Streak: Lost 2  Last 5: WLWLL

(Sapporo Dome)

Some old faces were in the lineup to help boost the team because the injuries just keep on coming. Even though they were rock solid at the plate, the team surrendered it’s customary half-dozen-plus runs to put the game out of reach.

W: Tanimoto (3-1; 1.11 ERA)
L: Yagi (3-3; 4.16)
S: Masui (3-4 12S; 2.93)

Balentien was taken off the active roster with a sore Achilles tendon, and the team is being cautious with his projected return. Orlando Roman is in the US right now and is planning to have surgery on the elbow of his throwing arm. He is slated to be back in Japan on the 25th and the team is cautiously optimistic that he could contribute again late in the season.

Yamada (2B)1Nishikawa (CF)
Hiyane (CF)2Kondo (3B)
Kawabata (3B)3Ohbiki (SS)
Iihara (LF)4Nakata (LF)
Yuhei (RF)5Miranda (1B)
Morioka (SS)6Ishikawa (RF)
Iwamura (1B)7Ohno (C)
Nakamura (C)8Nakajima (2B)
Yagi (P)9Tanimoto (P)

Tokyo actually struck first in this contest, believe it or not. And it was largely thanks to two fresh insertions into the lineup, Iihara in left and Iwamura at first. Both doubled in the second inning and would finish the game with four hits each with the latter’s performance eventually equally an NPB record (more on that later). Iwamura’s double brought two runs around to score.

2-0 Tokyo

Yagi had a rough evening. After notching a pair of strikeouts in the first, he allowed three hits and two runs in each of the next two frames. He also added a walk in the second, a hit batter in the third, and half of those six hits were doubles while one was a triple.

The third inning was his last.

2-4 Hokkaido

Despite having two hot bats in the lineup, they would not again record hits in the same inning for the rest of the contest. In fact, from the fourth until the ninth inning, either Iihara or Iwamura hit safely, but never once was it both players hitting in the same frame.

Morioka scored one in the fourth after reaching on an error. He made it to third on Iwamura’s second double of the night and then crossed home plate when Nakamura grounded out to short.

3-4 Hokkaido

In the fifth, Ohbiki took reliever Ishiyama yard with a solo shot to right.

3-5 Hokkaido

In the sixth, Iwamura added a third double and then trotted home easily on Nakamura’s triple to the gap in right-center.

4-5 Hokkaido

The Fighters added a runs on a RBI double from Ishikawa in the seventh and a RBI single from Nakata in the eighth.

4-7 Hokkaido

The Swallows kept it close until the end, however. The team scored a fifth run in the top of the eighth when a Kawashima walk and Iwamura’s fourth double of the night were followed by a Nakamura sac fly to center.

5-7 Hokkaido

And the visitors kept things as dramatic as possible in the top of the ninth. Back-to-back-to-back singles by Kawabata, Iihara, and Yuhei resulted in a sixth run with no outs. Unfortunately, Kawashima could only ground out, and Iwamura was no longer in the lineup because he had been replaced with a pinch runner (Noguchi) who of course struck out with runners in scoring position. And although he had recorded an RBI in each of his three previous trips to the pate, Nakamura couldn’t come through with the game on the line (G4).

6-7 Final

Iwamura’s four doubles equaled the NPB record which he now shares with 10 other players.

Yagi (4.16 ERA) took the loss and is now 3-3. He threw 73 pitches over his three innings of work while surrendering six hits and four earned runs.

Ishiyama (7.71) gave up one run over two innings, and the recently re-added Carpenter (5.60) pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

Yamamoto (3.52) and Akiyoshi (3.31) also pitched one inning each. Both allowed a run, but only Akiyoshi’s was earned.

The next game of this series is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at 2 PM.

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