September 28th, 2016
Tokyo Swallows 6
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WLLLW
|W: Ishikawa (8-8 ; 4.47 ERA)
6 IP | 85 NP | 7 H | 1 K | 1 BB | 4 ER
L: Imanaga (8-9 ; 2.93 ERA)
S: Akiyoshi (19 S ; 2.23 ERA)
The Swallows played out their final home game of the season with a win against the playoff-bound BayStars, and also bid farewell to the one and only Ryosuke Morioka.
|1||Kuwahara (CF)||1||Sakaguchi (CF)|
|2||Kajitani (RF)||2||Kawabata (3B)|
|3||Lopez (1B)||3||Yamada (2B)|
|4||Tsutsugoh (LF)||4||Balentien (LF)|
|5||Miyazaki (3B)||5||Ugumori (1B)|
|6||Elian (2B)||6||Yuhei (RF)|
|7||Kuramoto (SS)||7||Nishiura (SS)|
|8||Tobashia (C)||8||Nakamura (C)|
|9||Imanaga (P)||9||Ishikawa (P)|
1 IP | 1 R (0 ER)
0.1 IP | 0 ER
0.1 IP | 0 ER
1.1 IP | 0 ER
Ishikawa took the mound for Tokyo with a chance to even-up his record for the season, but did not get off to the most auspicious of starts, giving up back-to-back home runs in the top of the 1st, Tsutsugoh and Miyazaki with the two and one run blasts respectively. 3-0 Yokohama.
As has been typical of most of the Swallows-BayStars games in 2016, this one was far from over. In the bottom of the 3rd, a Yuhei single and two walks loaded the bases for Kawabata, who after fouling off a couple of outside pitches attempting to chip the ball over the infield to left, finally managed it on his third attempt, the ball falling into shallow left to bring home two runs for 3-2.
The game was then tied-up in the 4th after Nakamura, who was using a selection of Morioka’s walk-up music all evening, channeled the inspiration that only comes from Japanese hip-hop as he hit a solo shot to right. 3-3.
Ishikawa gave up another run off two hits in the top of the 5th and the Swallows found themselves behind once more, 4-3 Yokohama.
The Tokyo bats had Masanori’s back however, as they stormed back in the bottom of the frame. Consecutive two-out doubles from Ugumori and Yuhei tied the game up at 4-4, before Nishiura sent the sellout crowd wild with a two-run shot into the left field stands to give the Swallows their first lead of the evening, 6-4 Tokyo.
The game’s final run of the game came in the top of the 7th. With Hirai on the mound for the birds, he gave up a walk and a single which left men on the corners with one out. After striking out Kajitani looking for out number two, a wild throw to second to try and get the stealing Kuwahara from Nakamura meant that instead of a strike ’em out-throw ’em out conclusion to the inning, an unearned run scored from third on the error, 6-5.
The Tokyo bullpen then put up zeroes the rest of the way, for a “Erm, see you next March then?” 6-5 Tokyo Final.
The retiring Morioka made his cameo appearance pinch hitting for Ishikawa in the 6th, but alas he hacked the first pitch he saw to ground-out to second. He was then overcome by emotion as he was greeted by his children on the field.
Following the game we had the usual end of season speeches, first from Shingo Kawabata:
and then manager Manaka, as well as a farewell speech from Morioka:
And then we were done, and the gaping hole in our lives that exists for five months of the year is back again. The Swallows have two more games to play on the road, tonight in Yokohama for Daisuke Miura’s retirement game, and Saturday in Hiroshima, then all that remains is a Swallowsless post-season.