October 27th, 2015
Tokyo Swallows 8
Series: Tokyo 1-2 Softbank
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
Testuto Yamada put on a show of historical proportions as he went deep not once, not twice, but three times consecutively, almost single-handedly hauling Tokyo back into the 2015 Japan Series at a rapturous Jingu.
|1||Fukuda (RF)||2||Ueda (CF)|
|2||Akashi (2B)||3||Kawabata (3B)|
|3||Yanagita (CF)||4||Yamada (2B)|
|4||DH Lee (1B)||5||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|5||Matsuda (3B)||7||Yuhei (RF)|
|6||Nakamura (LF)||8||Balentien (RF)|
|7||Imamiya (SS)||9||Imanami (SS)|
|8||Takaya (C)||P||Nakamura (C)|
|9||Nakata (P)||Sugiura (P)|
The Swallows offence was in all kinds of a slump coming out of Games 1 and 2 in Fukuoka, hitting just .117 as a team, with just 7 hits and 2 runs to their name.
But before the bats had their chance at redemption, Sugiura survived what now seems like the traditional Softbank men on second and third in the top of the 1st after allowing a walk and a double, by striking out both Lee and the uber-clown Matsuda.
Tokyo were facing an old foe in ex-Chunichi starter Kenichi Nakata, who was 12-7 in over 30 games vs the Swallows over his Dragons career. And after Ueda walked to start of the top of the 1st, Yamada punished Nakata by dispatching a high and outside slider into the stands left of the scoreboard for 2-0 Tokyo, the Swallows first lead of the series.
Sugiura couldn’t hold onto that lead though, allowing two singles before the first Hawks run scored on a wild pitch, with the tying run coming on a Fukuda single thorugh the infield to right making it 2-2 after the top of the 2nd.
He did put up a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 3rd however, before it was Yamada-time once more in the bottom of the frame. After the quick outs of Ueda and Kawabata, Tetsuto dispatched another pitch from Nakata, this time a fastball, into the crowd of yellow shirted Softbank employees in left of centre for 3-2 Tokyo.
Alas Sugiura did not seem to like the gifts coming his way from Yamada once again, giving up the lead via a solo homer from Imamiya to lead off the 4th, 3-3.
Then in the 5th, Sugiura gave up his second homer of the game, this time off Akashi, which game the Hawks their first lead of the game, 4-3 Softbank. He would get one more out in the inning before hitting Lee, with Roman coming in to get the two outs needed to keep the deficit at one.
And so to the bottom of the 5th, which saw Kawabata working a two-out walk to bring up the clearly in flames Yamada. Softbank manager Kudoh, who rather condescendingly remarked post-game 2 that the reason he had brought in Sarfate to pitch in the 9th was as that was the only way his bullpen would see any practice, then spared Nakata from further torment at the hands of Tetsuto, bringing in Senga from his fabled bullpen. Thankfully, Karma would then bite Kudoh in the ass, as the Tokyo bats would then get to the Hawk’s pen over the remainder of this one.
That karma all started with Yamada of course, who punished Senga for leaving a fastball up and inside, the ball once again finding it’s way into the yellow-mong-party in left as the rest of Jingu collctively lost it’s mind. 5-4 Tokyo. This marked the first time anyone had hit three home runs in a Japan Series game, and by extension the first to hit three home runs in consecutive at bats in a single game.
After Roman had cleaned up the mess in the top of the 5th, Tokyo’s own bullpen corps took over to shut out the Hawks bats on just two hits over the remainder of the game. Ishiyama (1.2 innings), Kyuko (1.0), Ondrusek (0.2), and Barnette (1) shut the door on Softbank.
Meanwhile Tokyo’s bats gave Kudoh’s bullpen more of the practice he so craved, and in particular, ex-Swallow Ryota Igarashi in the bottom of the 8th. The pitcher formerly known as “Rocket Boy” did manage to halt Yamada’s home run streak at three with a strike out, but Hatake had Yamada’s back, hitting a no-doubter of his own over the fence in left extending the lead to 6-4. But there was more insurance to come as Yuhei got hit first hit of the series, a double up the right field foul line, and the soon to be retired Yuichi worked a pinch-hit walk, which set the table for Nakamura. The catcher hit a fly ball to left, which was misjudged by the rightfielder Hasegawa allowing the ball to reach the outfield wall, giving Nakamura a double, and the Swallows their last two runs of the night. 8-4 Tokyo Final. Ladies and Gentleman, we have ourselves a series.
- This was the 8th straight Japan Series game won by the Swallows at Jingu, a streak dating back to 1995.
- Balentien remains the only member of the regular starting lineup without a hit this series, going 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts this evening. He was replaced on defense by Hiyane over the last third of this one.
- Kawabata is not far behind Coco in the “needs to sort it out” stakes, though he did walk and score a run this evening.
- In addition to Igarashi, who actually contributed over a sustained period during his Tokyo-career, another ex-Swallow was on display at Jingu this evening, infielder Keizo Kawashima. He was pretty enthusiastically cheered by the Swallows contingent when entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the 6th. And some even cheered his subsequent single off Ishiyama (not as hard as I cheered him being picked off attempting to steal second to end the inning though). Behave Swallows fans, you should know better. Much better.
- Tony Barnette broke two Hawks bats during his 1-2-3 9th inning display. Now if someone could only break the Hawks’ uber-clown Matsuda’s face at some point this series too that would be great. I jest of course, kind of.
- Tokyo will look to even the series and ensure that their will be a game 6 in Fukuoka on Wednesday evening. Tateyama looks like he will get the nod to face Softbank’s Settsu. See you there!