9/21/09 – Hiroshima (Away)

September 21st, 2009

Hiroshima Carp logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 6

Streak: Lost 4      Last : WLLLL

(Mazda Stadium)

There are nights when I seriously have to question whether or not watching and writing about baseball is actually fun, or in fact a colossal waste of time, emotion and energy. Tonight (as well as far too many of late) was one of those nights.

In typical recent Swallows fashion they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. They fought hard in a tightly contested game with the Carp, and came within an out of getting the win. And that out should have come as Hiroshima outfielder Akamatsu hit a foul fly that catcher Aikawa should have caught, but despite seeming to take the ball in his glove it ended up dropping to the floor over the dugout fence. Of course, as we’ve seen so many times this last month, they would be punished for not sealing the deal. Severely.

Akamatsu ended up infield singling home the tying run as Yakult’s infield panicked, and then next man up Phillips poked one through the infield to right and it was sayonara time as my television was lucky not to get a chair thrown through it’s screen.

Tonight’s “randomly drawn from a hat lineup” was:

  1. Fukuchi (LF)
  2. Morioka (3B)
  3. Miyamoto (SS)
  4. Aoki (CF)
  5. Takeuchi (RF)
  6. Hatakeyama (1B)
  7. Tanaka (2B)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Ishikawa (P)

The Swallows took the lead in the top of the 1st, with Fukuchi hitting a lead-off single before making it to third on a wayward throw from Carp catcher Kura after a steal attempt. He was brought home on a groundout from Miyamoto for 1-0 Tokyo. Aoki then made it to second after an infield single and a wild pitch from starter Ohtake, but a Takeuchi flyout would strand him there.

The lead would be gone in the bottom of the inning. After a Higashide single, a Phillips two-run homer off Ishikawa made it 2-1 Hiroshima.

In the bottom of the 3rd the same combination would make it 3-1 Hiroshima, Phillips bringing home Higashide from 1st with a double.

Tokyo stranded three runners in the 4th, as Aikawa grounded out after consecutive two-out singles from Takeuchi and Hatakeyama followed by a Tanaka walk had loaded the bases.

But the game would change in Tokyo’s favour in the top of the 6th. Miyamoto got on base thanks to an error from the Carp shortstop before the Swallows combined for five hits which brought home four runs to make it 5-3 Tokyo. Hatakeyama singled home the first with men on first and second with one out, and then Tanaka did the same to tie the scores. A pinch-hitting D’Antona singled with the bases loaded to bring home the last two runs of the inning. After that Hiroshima turned to the bullpen with Shinoda and Yokoyama getting an out each to end it there.

Oshimoto (2.73) came in for the bottom of the 6th and gave up a two-out single to Amaya and then a RBI triple for Takuro Ishii which made it 5-4. He also worked a scoreless 7th before Igarashi (2.66) did the same in the 8th.

Aoki got to second again in the top of the 9th, but an excellent Higashide dive and throw to first ended up getting the out of Takeuchi to strand yet another man.

And so the the 9th, with Lim taking the mound to illustrate just how fine the line between success and failure is. Lim walked the first man up Ishii who was then moved along with a bunt for out number one. Kida Go then singled to put men on the corners for the red-hot Higashide who was 4 for 4 in the game to that point. Lim struck him out after which Aikawa threw to first and came within a whisker of picking off the runner at first to end the game. Then Akamatsu came to the plate and, well, you know the rest. 6-5 Hiroshima Final.

You’ve got to wonder how many more of these kind of losses the team can psychologically take. Up until the 9th it had been a battling performance from the Swallows, and had they pulled off the win they’d have been good value for it. But as it was they had to trudge off the field after somehow conspiring to lose yet another game.

Ishikawa wasn’t involved in the decision as he gave up three runs off eight hits in his five innings. His ERA edged up to 3.80.

Lim took the loss as his record moved to 5W-4L-25S/1.88.

With the bat Tokyo were out-hit 15-11 with Hatakeyama (.242) and Aoki (.290) both having two-hit games. Guiel also made a pinch-hitting appearance in the 8th and singled to move his average to .260. D’Antona’s 2RBI single in the 6th moved his to .287.

The loss edges the season-series in Hiroshima’s favour at 11 games to 10. They’ve won the last six games between the teams.

They will meet again tomorrow at 14:00.

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • Oh, and we now have sole ownership of that coveted 5th place spot now.

  • zunlin

    ..and the first half of the season Lim won’t have lose this game. we are missing the closing guy..

  • Daigo

    I’m always looking forward to this blog. So please don’t throw a chair to your TV. Keep it up!

  • Jingu Bleacher Bum

    Sorry guys, I think I’m done for the season. The Swallows have obviously chosen to collapse, and with football (American) under way, I think it’s time to switch over to a team that wants to win, like my Washington Huskies!!! There’s always next year though.

  • Rob

    I’ll keep watching to see how this plays out – whether we reach the Climax or get a new manager, it will be interesting. And I appreciate all the time Tsubamegun puts into this. It’s bigger than just what the team does this particular year. Thanks, y’all!

    I think I had had us picked fifth to start with, so all this time above that has been gravy. And it’s so close I still could be horribly wrong and we could end up in the postseason!

    Jingu Bleacher Bum – Thanks to your Huskies! My LSU took some heat for “only” beating you by 8pts, but you’ve made us look very good by beating USC!