Jun 20th 2015, @ Hanshin

June 20th, 2015

Tokyo Swallows 1Clean Hanshin Tigers Logo

Hanshin Tigers 4

Streak: Lost 4   Last 5: WLLLL

(Koshien Stadium)

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W: Messenger (5-5); L: Ishikawa (4-7); S: Oh (19)

The Tigers’ Randy Messenger was effectively wild, getting through seven innings of one-run ball as the Swallows lost their sixth straight to the Tigers and extended their overall losing streak to four.

 Swallows Tigers
1Tetsuto Yamada (2B)1Takeshi Toritani (SS)
2Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)2Hiroki Uemoto (2B)
3Shingo Kawabata (3B)3Kosuke Fukudome (RF)
4Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)4Mauro Gomez (1B)
5Yuhei (Takai) (RF)5Matt Murton (LF)
6Mitch Dening (LF)6Ryota Imanari (3B)
7Takahiro Imanami (SS)7Taiga Egoshi (CF)
8Yuhei Nakamura (C)8Akihito Fujii (C)
9Masanori Ishikawa (P)9Randy Messenger (P)

Tigers got an early lead in the second inning courtesy of a Matt Murton solo home run off Swallows starter Ishikawa. Murton’s first home run of the season and unfortunately a continuation of Ishikawa’s struggles over his last four starts. 1-0 Tigers

Swallows tied it in the fourth inning. Kawabata hit a ball off the wall for a double and came around to score straight afterward on a Lord Hatakeyama double to left. In what seemed to be makings of a big inning, Yuhei then walked and Denning reached on an infield single to load the bases with nobody out. Unfortunately, the bottom of the order was unable to take advantage. Imanami hit a shallow flyball to center and Nakamura lined out to right before Ishikawa struck out swinging to end the inning. 1-1 tie

In the fifth inning, the Tigers responded with two more runs. Just like all other big innings given up by the Swallows, it all started with giving up a lead off single to light-hitting catcher Fujii, who advanced to second on a Messenger sacrifice bunt. After Toritani flew out to left, Uemoto singled to left to drive in Fujii. Fukudome then singled to center before Ishikawa was inexplicably pulled by Manaka and Takatsu for Akiyoshi. Gomez then stepped up to single to center for another run. 3-1 Tigers

Ishiyama came in to pitch for the Swallows in the bottom half of the seventh. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Uemoto singled again and stole second. He advanced to third on a Fukudome single and scored on another Gomez timely single. 4-1 Tigers

The Swallows never mounted a serious challenge after the bases loaded, no out debacle in the fourth inning and the Tigers won the game comfortably.

Game Notes

  • This was the third straight start for Ishikawa in which he was unable make it out of the fifth inning. After the game, Manaka announced that Ishikawa’s next turn in the rotation will be skipped. The assumption is that Yamanaka will take Ishikawa’s turn in the rotation.
  • Despite the team’s struggles, Lord Hatake continues to produce and lead the central league in home runs and RBIs.
  • Tomorrow’s starters: Fujinami for the Tigers, Arakaki for the Swallows.
  • Koshien Stadium may be old as shit but is the closest thing I’ve seen to a big league stadium so far. (Except when they drive a car on the beautiful grass during pitching changes and leave tire marks in left field.)