June 19th, 2016
Tokyo Swallows 5
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: LLWWL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
Coming off a big win, then a narrow one, the Swallows stood in the rare position of having a shot at a sweep. The persistent drizzle made control tough for pitchers on both teams and the game turned into an offensive contest, amid which Saitama’s Kuriyama got his 1,500th hit and our own Nishida continued to make a case for himself as a regular.
|W: Tawata (1-2-0); L: Muranaka (3-2-0); S: Masuda (3-3-12)|
|1||Akiyama (CF)||1||Ohbiki (SS)|
|2||Kuriyama (LF)||2||Sakaguchi (CF)|
|3||Mori (RF)||3||Kawabata (3B)|
|4||Mejia (1B)||4||Yamada (2B)|
|5||Asamura (2B)||5||Yuhei (RF)|
|6||Onizaki (SS)||6||Matsui (LF)|
|7||Sumitani (C)||7||Nishida (1B)|
|8||Tawata (RHP)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|9||Kaneko (3B)||9||Sugiura (RHP)|
|RP||Nogami (R), Takekuma (L), Vasquez (R), Masuda (R)||RP||Naruse (L), Muranaka (L), Hirai (R), Lueke (R), Akiyoshi (R), Matsuoka (R)|
Top of the first, one out. Kuriyama walked, Mori hit a high double to right, and Mejia drove in a run on a hard grounder past short. 1-0 Saitama.
Bottom of the first, one out. Tawata had some trouble with his slider. He hit Sakaguchi in the foot with one, then, following a Kawabata line-out, threw one high to Yamada, who connected for a two-run tour of the Jingu bases. 2-1 Tokyo.
Top of the second. Sugiura struck out Tawata, then a bloodbath ensued. Kaneko singled to center, then Akiyama pulled off a successful hit-and-run, putting men on the corners. This was followed by a Kuriyama walk to load the bases. Mori hit a fly ball out to the wall. Matsui ran back to the wall. He turned and leapt. He crashed awkwardly into the wall, his glove outstretched. Did he make the catch?
Alas, no. He wasn’t really close to the ball for which he leapt. Two runs scored. Runners on second and third. Mejia hit a sac-fly to add another run. 4-2 Saitama.
Bottom of the third. Tanaka doubled, then made it to third on an Ohbiki grounder, and scored on a high-bouncing shot by Sakaguchi. 4-3 Saitama.
Top of the fourth. Naruse took the mound for Tokyo and got beat up. Kaneko grounded out, then Akiyama and Kuriyama hit back-to-back doubles for a run. 5-3 Saitama.
Bottom of the fifth. A pinch-hitting Fujii led off with a single. Ohbiki came up to bat, hit a weird unintentional foul off the knob of his bat, then blasted a slider right out the right field fence, narrowly missing a home run, but driving Fujii in on a triple. Sakaguchi struck out, Kawabata walked, and Yamada drove Ohbiki in on a sac-fly to right. 5-5.
Top of the sixth. Muranaka took over the hurling for Tokyo and kept up the hemorrhagic pace. He walked Yamakawa on four straight pitches, then gave up singles to Kaneko and Akiyama to load the bases. Saito came in to run for Yamakawa. Kuriyama then hit a sac-fly to center that brought Saito in. Mori then hit an RBI single that spelled the end of Muranaka’s afternoon. Hirai took over and got Mejia to GIDP to end the pain. 7-5 Saitama.
Bottom of the sixth. Nogami took over pitching duties for the visitors. He walked Matsui and gave up a single to Nishida. Nakamura then bunted. Matsui got nabbed at third and, in a terrible call, Nakamura was called out at first, despite beating the throw by a step. Iihara grounded out. No runs.
Bottom of the seventh. Takekuma pitching. Two outs. Kawabata walked. Yamada hit a single to deep left, allowing Kawabata to reach third. Yuhei popped out to deep right. Damnit, Yuhei.
7-5 Saitama, Final.
That’s the end of Interleague. The Swallows are off until Friday, when the Dragons come to town. Now is your chance to go on a midseason romantic getaway with your favorite Bird.