May 23rd, 2015
Hiroshima Carp 8
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WLWLW
(Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium Hiroshima)
Your Birds finally got the better of Kris Johnson. Finally.
|W: Ishikawa (3-5; 2.98 ERA)
L: Johnson (4-2; 1.99 ERA)
The visitors scored in batches. That eight run sixth inning is one of the bigger explosions you’ll see this year. Certainly the biggest the Swallows have had in a while.
|Yamada (2B)||1||Tanaka (SS)|
|Araki (RF)||2||Kikuchi (2B)|
|Kawabata (3B)||3||Maru (CF)|
|Hatakayama (1B)||4||Arai (1B)|
|Milledge (LF)||5||Eldred (LF)|
|Yuhei (RF)||6||Schierholtz (RF)|
|Nakamura (C)||7||Soyogi (3B)|
|Nishiura (SS)||8||Ishihara (C)|
|Ishikawa (P)||9||Johnson (P)|
I was at a home game several years ago where the Swallows put up nine against the Carp in a single frame. This afternoon’s sixth inning might be the team’s best effort since then.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
The Carp struck first in the bottom of the first. Hatkeyama fluffed Tanaka’s grounder on the second pitch of the inning. Tanaka ended up on second, and he ended up on third two pitches later when Kikuchi sac-bunted. Another pair of pitches later, Maru send one deep enough into center to allow Tanaka to scoot home.
But the Swallows’s two singles in the first inning were evidently a sign of things to come. They quickly picked up where they had left off. Milledge worked a full count and then punched a single to right. Yuhei followed with a four-pitch walk, and both runners scored on Nakamura’s double to left.
Nishiura kept things going with a single that left runners on the corners, and Ishikawa bunted Nishiura over to second with Nakamura staying at third.
Yamada then singled on a 2-1 curve which brought Nakamura home. And after grounding into a double play in the first, Araki made up for it with a single to left which plated Nishiura.
Five hits, four runs. Not too shabby.
But Hiroshima would continue to chip away. After ending the top of the third with three left on base, the Swallows went quietly in the fourth and fifth. That gave the Carp plenty of time to retake the lead.
Back-to-back doubles from Soyogi and Ishihara resulted in two runs in the bottom of the second.
And then a bad collision in left-center between Milledge and Yuhei allowed both base runners to score in the bottom of the fourth. Milledge left the field on a stretcher, but Yuhei was able to return to the game.
But then came the sixth inning. Ishikawa grounded out to get things started, but things then got very, very bad for Hiroshima starter, Johnson. Yamada worked the count full and then roped a double to left. Araki then drew a four-pitch walk, and Kawabata hit an infield single to short that left all runners safe. With the bases juiced, Hatakeyama drove the 1-0 offering into right field which scored two.
And that was it for Johnson. In came last night’s winning pitcher, Imamura.
Hiyane, hitting for the injured Milledge, quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole, but he protected well and punched an Imamura slider into right field which reloaded the bases. Yuhei followed by drawing his third walk of the afternoon, this one pushing Kawabata home from third.
Nakamura then gave an encore performance of his at-bat in the second. Another double to left, another two runs scored.
With runners on second and third, Nishimura popped a 2-2 heater toward third base, but Soyogi didn’t get his glove on it (E5). Bases loaded once again.
Ishikawa flew out to shallow center for the second out. It’s worth pointing out here that Ishikawa was responsible for both of the team’s first two outs in this inning.
Yamada then one-upped Nakamura’s encore performance by mirroring his own hit from earlier in the same inning. Another double, this time to right. Three runs scored.
Araki grounded out to short to stop the bleeding.
And that was mostly it. Ishikawa had one of his better starts in recent memory. He started the ninth before things went completely oblong and he wound up getting tagged with three more runs. Akiyoshi got the final two outs in his stead, and Ishikawa got a long-sought third win with some phenomenal run support.
Ishikawa threw 117 pitches over eight and one-third innings. He struck out three and allowed 10 hits but no walks. Eight runs were scored against him, but only five were earned.
Game three is scheduled for 1:30 PM tomorrow in Hiroshima. Tokyo will send Ishiyama to the mound while Fukui will pitch for Hiroshima.
- Yamada was 4-6 at the plate with four RBI today. I don’t want to jinx it, but it seems like he’s beginning to refind his 2014 form.
- Nakamura also had four RBI thanks to a 2-4 effort at the dish.
- Kawabata, Hiyane, and Nishiura all chipped in with a pair of hits.
- Yuhei was 1-2 (double) with three walks, and an RBI.