April 4th, 2015
Yokohama BayStars 2
Streak: Won 3 Last 5: WLWWW
Ishikawa got roughed up early, but he dug deep and kept Yokohama off the board until the bats started harassing the home team’s relief corps.
|W: Akiyoshi (1-0)
L: Herrera (0-1)
S: Barnette (1-0 2S)
Brace yourself. Your Tokyo Swallows are now tied for first place.
|1||Takahiro Araki (LF)||1||Masayuki Kuwahara (CF)|
|2||Shingo Kawabata (3B)||2||Takahiro Ishikawa (2B)|
|3||Tetsuto Yamada (2B)||3||Takayuki Kajitani (RF)|
|4||Yuhei (Takai) (CF)||4||Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (LF)|
|5||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)||5||José López (1B)|
|6||Hiroyasu Tanaka (RF)||6||Aarom Balderis (3B)|
|7||Yuhei Nakamura (C)||7||Toshihiko Kuramoto (SS)|
|8||Keiji Ohbiki (SS)||8||Toshiki Kurobane (C)|
|9||Masanori Ishikawa (P)||9||Shun Yamaguchi (P)|
Ishikawa recorded the first two outs in the bottom of the first on a pair of ground balls, but then Kajitani pulled a slow slider into right field for a double. Tsutsugoh followed with a homer to right on Ishikawa’s 1-0 offering.
Things nearly got even uglier when Lopez kept the momentum going with a double to center, and Baldiris drew a five-pitch walk. But Ishikawa was able to escape the inning on Kuramoto’s fly ball to center.
Ishikawa hit the reset button after that, and the results were much better. He was perfect in the second, and despite allowing a pair of base runners in the third and fourth, nobody came around to score.
He capped off his afternoon with a perfect fifth and sixth, but the Swallows offense hadn’t yet gotten into full swing so he didn’t end up factoring in the final decision.
Tokyo got a run back in the top of the fourth. Yamada drew a one-out walk in his second at-bat and then stole second on the first pitch that Yamaguchi threw to Yuhei. Yuhei popped up to second for out number two, but Yamada made it home on Hatakeyama’s bouncer up the middle on a 1-2 forkball. The party ended shortly thereafter when Yamaguchi’s first pitch to Tanaka connected with the base of his skull. Both Tanaka (dizziness) and Yamaguchi (ejection) immediately left the game. (Scroll down to the bottom of this post to watch a video of the plunking.)
Tokyo finally drew level in the top of the seventh with Kuniyoshi now on the mound for Yokohama. He secured the first two outs on a pair of grounders, but then Tokyo started one of the two-out rallies that the team has shown such a fondness for early this season. Morioka, pinch-hitting for Ishikawa, doubled to right. Araki got his name on the scorecard when he singled to right on a 1-1 heater. Morioka scored from second.
Akiyoshi would end up getting the win when his perfect seventh (11 pitches, two Ks) was followed by two Tokyo runs in the top of the eighth. With Herrera pitching for Yokohama, Yamada hit a 2-2 curve up the middle for a single. Yuhei grounded out to second, but Yamada advanced safely. He then made it to third on Hatake’s grounder back to the pitcher, and he scored on Ueda’s triple to right on a 2-2 fork. Ueda followed him in on Nakamura’s single to right on a 2-2 fastball.
Nakazawa and Barnette combined for a scoreless 8th, and then Barnette went straight into the batter’s box to start top of the 9th. With Kobayashi now pitching for Yokohama, Araki drew a full count walk with one out. Kawabata then singled to right, and Yamada drew another walk to load the bases. Yuhei got his first hit of the game in his final at-bat, a single to left that scored Araki and Kawabata.
Barnette secured the win for the Swallows with a scoreless ninth, and he picked up the save in the process.
The Birds will put their three-game win streak on the line tomorrow when they try to complete the sweep in Yokohama. Sugiura will take the mound for Tokyo. Yokohama plans to counter with Mishima. First pitch is scheduled for 1 PM.
Tokyo’s Ishikawa beaned Yokohama’s Ishikawa to start the bottom of the third. They have different given names though, so nobody was removed from the game.
Tanaka was checked out at a hospital and appears to be OK. He’ll be kept under observation for the next 24 hours to make sure that nothing is amiss.
Barnette got the save because he entered the game when the Birds were only ahead by two. If he had entered the game in the bottom of the ninth, then he wouldn’t have gotten the save.
Barnette had his first at-bat in just about forever when he led off the top of the ninth. He ended up pitching one and a third innings, and his trip to the plate ended in an out after watching three consecutive called strikes.
Kawabata and Yamada both had multi-hit games (two singles each). However, Yamada also added a pair of walks, so he ended the day 2-3 while Kawabata was 2-5.
The Swallows have allowed only 14 runs through their first eight games of the season. Defensive improvements have certainly helped, but Tsubamegun is overjoyed with the performance of the pitching staff thus far. Chunichi are in second place with 24 runs allowed.
Tokyo is tied with Hanshin and Chunichi for first place in the Central League. All three teams have a 5-3 record.