July 28th, 2015
Tokyo Swallows 2
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WWWWL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
|W: Kuroda (7-4 / 2.58 ERA)
L: Arakaki (3-9 / 4.54)
The law of averages was on display in fully effect as Tokyo’s seven game winning streak came to an end at the hands of Hiroshima at a packed Jingu.
|Maru (CF)||1||Hiyane (CF)|
|Kikuchi (2B)||2||Kawabata (3B)|
|Schierholtz (RF)||3||Yamada (2B)|
|Arai (1B)||4||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|Matsuyama (LF)||5||Yuhei (RF)|
|Soyogi (3B)||6||Ohbiki (SS)|
|Tanaka (SS)||7||Dening (LF)|
|Ishihara (C)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|Kuroda (P)||9||Arakaki (P)|
Tonight’s pitching match-up, Arakaki vs Kuroda, on paper looked quite the mismatch. But to be fair to the wild-one, Arakai put up quite the fight over the first half of this one, before falling foul in the 6th.
Arakaki gave up his first run of the evening in the 2nd via a Soyogi solo shot to left centre for 1-0 Hiroshima.
He was then a touch unlucky as the Hiroshima doubled their lead in the 3rd. Hatake let a grounder from Kikuchi to pass under his glove which put a man on first with no outs for Schierholtz on the error. Arakaki again failed to get the rub of the green, as with the count at 3 and 1, Kikuchi attempted to steal second as Schierholtz laid off one that looked to be right in the zone. Nakamura threw to second, the ball beating Kikuchi to the bag, but for some reason the home plate ump called ball four instead of strike two, meaning that instead of one out and a full count, the Carp now had two men on with no outs much to the bewilderment of Arakaki. And the umps inexplicable error would prove costly as Kikuchi was brought home from third via a sac fly one out later to make it 2-0.
After managing a hit in both the 2nd and 3rd, the Swallows finally got to Kuroda in the bottom of the 4th. Yamada got on with an infield single, stole second, then was later brought home by Ohbiki, 2-1.
Things then proceeded to go south in a major way in the top of the 6th. The inning started well, Arakaki putting up two quick outs, meaning we were one out away from the Roman-Ondrusek-Barnette train to competitiveness and possible victory. A walk for Tanaka and single for Ishihara then put two on, with next man up being the pitcher Kuroda. The Kuroda at-bat would prove critical in the worst way, as Arakaki was either a) showing the veteran starter far too much respect for some unknown reason or b) starting to lose control of his pitches, missing badly with all four of the cutters he threw to walk Hiroki on an inexcusable five pitches.
And costly it would prove, as next man up Maru doubled to make it 4-1. That was it for Arakaki, his fleeting dance toe-to-toe with Kuroda now over, and in came Yamamoto, wherupon things went from bad to worse as he gave up a single to Kikuchi off the first pitch he threw to bring home two more Carp runs and it was now 6-1. Yamamoto’s pain had just begun as he then took a comebacker from Schierholtz off either the right of his forehead or his glove (or a combination of both) which unsurprisingly knocked Tetsuya to the floor while another run scored on another double which made it 7-1. That was unsurprisingly all for Yamamoto, who encouragingly left the field under his own steam to be replaced by Tokuyama. And the third Swallows pitcher of the inning managed to get the final out after walking Arai, to stem the bleeding with the deficit at five runs.
That was pretty much that. Back-to-back-to-back singles from Yamada, Hatake, and Yuhei added the Swallows second run in the bottom of the 8th, though any thoughts of a comeback were snuffed out by an inning ending double play ball from Ohbiki. 7-2.
All that was left was to throw 26 year old 4th year Brazilian lefty Kanabushi, a man who has seen 2/3 of an inning of action (4 BB / 1 ER) back in 2012 as the sum total of his top team experience, to the wolves as he gave up four runs off four hits in the top of the 9th to cap this one off as a 11-2 Hiroshima Final beating.
So the streak is over. Tomorrow your Tokyo birds will look to get another started, as Ogawa takes the mound against Hiroshima’s Imai. Just like tonight’s game, which saw a big summer vacation crowd of 30,868 folks turn out, tomorrow is looking to be another near sell out.