July 11th, 2015
Tokyo Swallows 5
Last 5: LLLWW Streak: Won 2
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
Your birds secured the home series against Yokohama with an open-and-closed victory behind Tateyama’s six innings of solid work.
|W: Tateyama (1-0; 4.50 ERA)
L: Yamaguchi (3-3; 4.75 ERA)
And the BayStars are now 1-7 at Jingu Stadium so far this season.
|1||Taiki Sekine (CF)||1||Hiroyasu Tanaka (1B)|
|2||Toshihiko Kuramoto (SS)||2||Ryota Fujii (CF)|
|3||Takayuki Kajitani (RF)||3||Shingo Kawabata (3B)|
|4||Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (LF)||4||Tetsuto Yamada (2B)|
|5||José López (1B)||5||Yuhei (Takai) (RF)|
|6||Aarom Baldiris (3B)||6||Mitch Dening (LF)|
|7||Toshiro Miyazaki (2B)||7||Keiji Ohbiki (SS)|
|8||Toshiki Kurobane (C)||8||Yuhei Nakamura (C)|
|9||Shun Yamaguchi (P)||9||Shohei Tateyama (P)|
In only his second top team start since returning from surgery, Tateyama took precisely one inning to get settled.
In the top of the first he walked Kajitani with two outs, and after Kajitani stole second on the first pitch of Tsutsugo’s at-bat, and then the former scored when the latter steered a 2-2 forkball into right.
But that would be the end of the fun for the visitors.
Tateyama’s opposite number, Shun Yamaguchi, also labored through the first inning. He got three straight outs, but he averaged more than six pitches per batter and sat after having thrown 19.
Tokyo’s starter, on the other hand, only improved as the game progressed. Save for a pair of walks in the fourth, the ground outs kept coming, and Tateyama mixed in the occasional K for good measure.
Yamaguchi’s evening would end abruptly after a disastrous fourth inning. Fujii and Kawabata started with first pitch singles before Yamada worked a five-pitch walk. With the bases loaded, and now-rattled Yamaguchi on the bump, Yuhei did the sensible thing and parked his bat on his left shoulder. Four pitches later, he was standing on first, and Fujii had walked home.
Yamaguchi recalibrated his understanding on the strike zone during the umbrella dance, and Dening found it necessary to come out swinging. After fouling off a pair of outside pitches, he pulled a slider into right for a double. Kawabata and Yamada scored. Umbrella dance.
After nearly being beaned by the first pitch, Ohbiki lined the 1-1 offering into right for another umbrella dance.
Yamaguchi got three quick outs after that, but that was it for his evening on the bump. He threw 74 pitches in those four innings and was tagged with four earned runs.
In contrast, after that first inning, Tateyama didn’t allow another hit through six. He threw 80 pitches, struck out four and walked three. Three relievers would provide an inning each of hitless ball to preserve the one-hitter through the full nine.
Akiyoshi (38th appearance; 2.63 ERA) pitched a perfect seventh, Matsuoka (12th; 3.00) a perfect eighth, and Ondrusek (41st; 2.16) a perfect ninth.
All-Star closer Barnette (38 appearances; 1-0 20 saves; 0.51 ERA) was effectively given the night off when Tokyo scored an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth.
Yokohama sent Motoharu Kikuchi, a 25-year-old rookie from Okinawa Prefecture, to the mound for the fifth, and he started out by striking out Fujii on three pitches. However, Kawabata retaliated by feasting on a 2-0 heater that was left up in the zone. Double. Yamada then worked another high fastball into center. Umbrella dance.
All told, Tateyama’s final two innings on the mound plus the three innings from Akiyoshi, Matsuoka, and Ondrusek mean that the Swallows’ pitching staff combined for five innings of perfect baseball to ensure an easy victory for Tokyo.
Now the team just needs the starters to make it to the seventh and eighth innings to take some of the pressure off of the overworked bullpen.
Tokyo fans will be looking for a sweep at tomorrow’s game which pits Nagisa Arakaki (2-7; 4.50) against Yokohama veteran Daisuke Miura (3-2; 3.40). First pitch is scheduled for 5 PM (one hour earlier than normal).
- Kawabata and Yamada batted third and fourth for the second game in a row. They both had a pair of hits, and they combined for Tokyo’s fifth run after Yamaguchi had hit the showers. When Kawabata touched home plate after some crafty running, everything felt oddly right in this strange baseball world.
- Yamada had a very nice OBP day. He was 2-2 with one RBI and two walks.
- Ohbiki reached base three times today. He was 2-3 with a pair of outfield singles and a walk. I’m not going to say anything because I don’t want to jinx it.
- Tateyama got his first win in more than 1,000 days after six innings of one hit baseball. It was his second start of 2015.
- 31,027 fans packed Jingu for this contest.
- The game lasted just two hours and 43 minutes.