4/30/11 – Hanshin (Away)

April 29th, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Hanshin Tigers 6

Streak: Lost 2  Last 5: WWWLL

(Koshien Stadium)


One bad inning and the bend-but-don’t-break pitching of the Tigers cost the Swallows the game. The Swallows debuted their much speculated Whitesell/Hatakeyama lineup, with Hatakeyama getting the start in left and Whitesell making his return to the starting lineup at first.

 Swallows Tigers
1CF Aoki1RF Murton
22B Tanaka22B Hirano
31B Whitesell3SS Toritani
4LF Hatakeyama43B Arai
5C Aikawa51B Brazell
6RF Balentien6LF Kanemoto
73B Miyamoto7C Johjima
8SS Kawabata8CF Shunsuke
9P Masubuchi9P Messenger

Whitesell opens the scoring with an RBI single.

Things started smoothly enough when Aoki lead off the game with a double. A Hiroyasu bunt sent Aoki to third base, and Whitesell brought him home with a single to right. 1-0 Swallows Aoki’s double would account for the only extra base hit for the Swallows.

Masubuchi started off nicely with a strike out of Matt Murton but it went downhill from there very quickly. A Hirano single was followed quickly by a Toritani double to put men on second and third with one out. Masubuchi loaded the bases by walking Arai to load the bases for Brazell. Brazell couldn’t get a pitch to hit and only managed to ground out weakly to second, but it was good enough to score Hirano from third. Tied 1-1 With two outs, Masubuchi continued to throw balls as he walked Kanemoto on 4 pitches. Johjima made him pay by sending a bases clearing double into left field. 4-1 Tigers The ball got caught in the wind and Hatakeyama completely misjudged the landing point of the ball and allowed the pitch to go over his head. These kind of occasional misplays should be expected with Hatakeyama at left. Masubuchi finally got out of the inning by inducing a groundout from Shunsuke, but the damage was done.

Masubuchi gives up a solo homer to Arai

The Swallows were sent down 1-2-3 in the top of the second and the third. Masubuchi got out of the bottom of the second fairly efficiently, despite giving up a single to Murton. Masubuchi only allowed one hit in the bottom of the third, unfortunately it was a homerun to Arai to open the inning. 5-1 Tigers It would be the last hit Masubuchi gave up until a double to Kanemoto in the sixth inning, his last inning of the night.

The Swallows were not without their chances to have big innings and catch up. The Swallows opened the fourth with a Whitesell single, a dead ball to Hatakeyama, and an Aikawa single wto load the bases with no out. But a Shallow fly out by Balentien and a 1-2-3 double play by Miyamoto ended the threat. In the sixth, the Swallows opened the inning with back-to-back singles by Whitesell and Hatakeyama. A double play by grounder by Aikawa advanced Whitesell to third at the cost of two outs. Balentien drew a four pitch walk, and quickly made Messenger pay by stealing second. Miyamoto battled back from an 0-2 count from three straight foul balls to a full count, and finally knocked Messenger out of the game with an RBI single to second. 5-2 Tigers Rookie pitcher Enokida was brought in to get the last out, and he succeeded by getting Kawabata to fly out to right.

The Birds had another chance in the seventh when Iihara, pinch hitting for Masubuchi lead off the inning with a single. Iihara’s first hit of the year was followed by a walk to Aoki to put two men on the base paths without an out. Enokida managed to get the next two batters out, Tanaka on a strikeout and Whitesell on a liner to first. Hatakeyama drew a walk to load the bases, but all Aikawa could do was fly out to right to end the threat.

Kyuko was brought in to pitch the seventh and he started off well by striking out Sekimoto. But a walk to Murton and a single by Hirano put men on the corners. Kyuko allowed both men to advance on a bad pick off attempt that was called a balk. 6-2 Tigers Kyuko was pulled in favor of Hashimoto after he allowed a single to Toritani. Hashimoto got out of the inning by getting Arai to hit into a double play.

The rest was fairly uneventful Tigers’ relievers walked a Swallow in the eighth and ninth but the Swallows were not able to cash in. In total, the Swallows left 10 men on base. After the first inning, Masubuchi was able to settle down and pitched solidly but could not get any help from the offense.


  • With today’s win the Tigers reached .500 with a record of 7-7-1.
  • The Carp also lost today, keeping the two teams tied at the top of the Central League with a records of 9-5-2.
  • Muranaka is eligible to return to the active roster tomorrow. Masubuchi’s start was probably moved up to today to allow Muranaka to start tomorrow.
  • The Swallows will most likely face the creaky veteran Shimoyanai who is looking for his first win despite allowing only 2 ERs in 14.0 IP in 2 starts.
  • Whitesell, making his first start since April 15, went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. He was the only Swallow with multiple hits in the game.
  • The Swallows will try again tomorrow at 14:00.
About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.

  • Anonymous

    Great to see Josh returning to fitness and finding some form. A huge positive despite the loss today.