March 27th, 2015
Hiroshima Carp 2
Streak: Won 1
(Mazda Zooooom Zoooooom Stadium)
It took a while, but a late late 11th inning Lastings Milledge two-run triple brought home the first win of the Manaka era on the first attempt. And thus as one era begins, so another ends: SAYONARA SIXTH PLACE BASEBALL.
|Yamada (2B)||1||Suzuki (RF)|
|Kawabata (3B)||2||Kikuchi (2B)|
|Millidge (LF)||3||Maru (CF)|
|Yuhei (CF)||4||Guzman (1B)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||5||Matsuyama (LF)|
|Yuichi (RF)||6||Soyogi (3B)|
|Ohbiki (SS)||7||Aizawa (C)|
|Nakamura (C)||8||Tanaka (SS)|
|Ogawa (P)||9||Maeda (P)|
Yasuhiro Ogawa made his second consecutive opening day start for the Swallows, and was solid over his seven innings of work (103 P/ 7 H / 4 K / 0 BB / 0 ER), while Yamada was the catalyst for the two runs that gave Tokyo’s ace the lead.
In the top of the 1st, Yamada singled to centre to get Hiroshima ace Kenta Maeda off on the wrong foot. Manaka then heaped more unease on Maeda’s none-too-handsome shoulders, as he called for Yamada to immediately steal second, which he did, after which he was brought home by a Yuhei single to right two outs later. 1-0 Tokyo.
Tokyo put a steady trickle on men on base over Ogawa’s shift, but couldn’t extend the lead until the 7th. Yamada got on via a two-out walk, again stole second, and again made it home, this time on a Kawabata single, 2-0 Tokyo.
And that looked like it would be good enough to bring home the bacon for Ogawa, especially after Akiyoshi got two quick outs in relief in the 8th. Alas, this is the Swallows we’re talking about here, so two two-out walks followed, as did a sickening Matsuyama bloop fly ball to shallow left, which a sprinting Ohbiki couldn’t quite corral, and the two tying runs scored for 2-2.
Akiyoshi walked his third man of the inning after that, which saw new man/vending machine Logan Ondrusek take the mound for his Tokyo debut. And one pitch later the inning was over after a fly out to first.
Ondrusek came back out for the 9th, and despite giving up three singles and surviving a (fairly comfortable) play at the plate, he kept his head as he got out of the inning in front of a rocking packed house with the tie intact.
After putting two men on in each of the 9th and 10th frames to no avail, the Swallows finally got the job done in the 11th, thanks to that man, the returning Lastings “it’s like a new signing” Milledge.
With Carp reliever Nakazaki on for his second inning of work, Nakamura got the ball rolling with a single to left. A Miwa sac bunt, and free pass to first for Kawabata put men on first and second with one out for Lastings. And he was clearly homing in on Nakazaki’s stuff, as he fouled off four pitches before spanking a high fast ball left up and over the plate to the wall in right centre for the decisive triple, 4-2 Tokyo.
And all that was left was for Tony Barnette to shut things down in the bottom of the 11th and we had ourselves a very well deserved 4-2 Tokyo Final.
- T-Barn took home the first win of 2015 for his two perfect innings of work in the 10th and 11th. Two innings which took him a mere 13 pitches to polish off.
- 31,332 folks mostly went home disappointed after this 4 hour 26 minute battle. This was the first time Hiroshima has hosted a home season opener in 13 years.
- The other Tokyo new-boy Keiji Ohbiki went 0 for 5, all ground outs. But then again, he wasn’t really signed for his bat. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
- Manaka won the opening battle between the CL’s two new managers, and after the game placed new Carp manager Ogata’s severed head on a stick in home plate, to send a message to the people of Hiroshima that both he and the 2015 Swallows are for real. Or maybe that didn’t happen.
- Tomorrow will see the Swallows try to go 2-0, as Masanori Ishikawa takes the mound against new Carp import Kris Johnson. First pitch is at 14:00.