April 11th, 2015
Yomiuri Giants 2
Last 5: LWWWL Streak: Lost 1
Game two of 2015’s first Tokyo derby. Taguchi made his pro debut for the home side while veteran lefty, Ishikawa, took the mound for the all-around better team.
|W: Taguchi (1-0; 1.29 ERA)
L: Ishikawa (0-2; 2.37 ERA)
S: Sawamura (1-1 2S; 2.57 ERA)
It was a record-breaking day for the Swallows, but Taguchi kept the visitors off-balance for his entire seven innings on the mound, earning his first pro win in the process.
|Kawabata (3B)||1||Kinjoh (LF)|
|Ohbiki (SS)||2||Kataoka (2B)|
|Yamada (2B)||3||Kamei (RF)|
|Yuhei (CF)||4||Sakamoto (SS)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||5||Chono (CF)|
|Hiroyasu Tanaka (RF)||6||Ibata (1B)|
|Araki (LF)||7||Murata (3B)|
|Nakamura (C)||8||Sanematsu (C)|
|Ishikawa (P)||9||Taguchi (P)|
He wasn’t nearly as dominant as Johnson was in his NPB debut back in late March, but he was able to wiggle out of trouble more successfully than his opposite number, Ishikawa, who just so happens to be the only starting pitcher in the Central League who is shorter than Taguchi.
Taguchi worked his slow slider to great effect against righties during the first two frames. He struck out Yamada, Hatakeyama, Araki, and Nakamura with a steady diet of shin-level sliders and a few fastballs in the low 80s.
But he didn’t get Tanaka.
In the top of the second, Yuhei reached first on an infield single, and then Tanaka punched a perfectly placed and paced bouncer into the gap in right. It was just fast enough to beat Chono and Kamei to the wall, but had enough back-spin on it to avoid a helpful bounce. That gave Yuhei more than enough time to score all the way from first.
In the bottom of the second, Ishikawa loaded the bases on Ibata’s double, a Murata walk, and then a beanball for Sanematsu in his first at-bat of the season.
Taguchi, stepping into the batter’s box for the first time as a pro, waited paitently for a pitch that he liked before slapping one up the middle. It would have scored a run if this was the 2014 Swallows, but Ohbiki tracked the ball down and flipped it backhand to the charging Yamada who got the force at second.
All quiet in the Tokyo Stain Dome.
But just like last night, Yomiuri took the lead with a two-run inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Ishikawa got himself into another mess facing the bottom of the order.
Just like in the bottom of the second, Ishikawa got the first two outs before Ibata started things off with a single. Three more singles followed, including one from Taguchi, before Kinjoh finally struck out to end the inning.
Taguchi’s infield dribbler down the line towards third ended up being the game-winner as the Swallows were never able to assemble any serious threat thereafter.
Tokyo will attempt to win it’s fourth consecutive series when game three of the Tokyo derby kicks off tomorrow afternoon at 2 PM.
- Ishikawa threw 108 pitches over six innings. He took the loss while allowing five hits and two earned runs. He struck out three, walked three, beaned one, and added a wild pitch as well. His record dropped to 0-2 while his ERA grew slightly to a still very respectable 2.37. He was 0-1 at the plate with a sac bunt.
- Furuno, Nakazawa, and Tokuyama combined for two innings of scoreless relief. All three maintained their perfect ERA.
- The Swallows set a new Japanese Professional Baseball record by holding their opponents to three or fewer runs in the first 14 games of the season. The previous record was 13 set by Nishitetsu in 1956.