6/4/11 – Hokkaido (Home)

June 4rd, 2011

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 1

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LWWLW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

 

Yesterday was brutal. Hokkaido scored nearly at will, and recorded their fifth consecutive shutout while thoroughly infuriating everyone in the right-field stands.

And with the Swallows three outs from being on the wrong end of a new NPB record, the bats finally came to the rescue.

Hokkaido:

1. Tanaka (2B)
2. Iiyama (3B)
3. Itoi (CF)
4. Nakata (LF)
5. Inaba (1B)
6. You (RF)
7. Kaneko (SS)
8. Tsuruoka (C)
9. Yoshikawa (P)

 

Tokyo:

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

The record that the Swallows were nearly a party to was 53 consecutive innings without surrendering a run. That was equal to the NPB record set back in 1942 by Hanshin. And all the Fighters needed was one more scoreless inning.

The visitors already had a lead to work with. It came in the second when the Fighters strung together three one-out singles. 1-0 Hokkaido.

But with the bottom of the third representing a little bit of infamy for the home side, Tokyo finally put a few hits together a scoreless streak that damn near rivals my adolescence.

Tanaka got things started with a single to center after a hard-fought nine-pitch at-bat that involved four straight fouls on a 2-2 count. He was moved over on a Miyade walk. Tokyo’s second baseman would later score on Hatakeyama’s single to center with no outs. 1-1 and Tokyo with the momentum.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Balentien pounced on the first pitch he saw from Yoshikawa and nearly bore a hole in the left-field wall in the process. Miyade hustled home for the go-ahead run, and Hatakeyama ended up at third. 2-1 Tokyo.

Miyamoto kept things going with a single of his own before Fujimoto recorded the second out and Hokkaido walked Aikawa, which loaded the bases, in order to get to Ishikawa.

But Yoshikawa walked Ishikawa as well to force Balentien home from third for a two-run lead. 3-1 Tokyo.

Hatakeyama then added a homer, his seventh of the year, in the fourth inning to put a little extra breathing room between the two teams. 4-1 Tokyo.

And the final run of the game arrived care of Whitesell’s bat with one out in the bottom of the eighth. It was his fifth on the season. 5-1 Final.

Ishikawa grabbed the win, his fourth of the season (against two losses), on 116 pitches, six hits, six K’s, three walks and one earned run. His seven innings of work helped pull his ERA down to a head-turning 2.11.

Barnette (1.93 ERA), Kyuko (2.35), Oshimoto (3.00) and Lim (1.04) made relief appearances for the Swallows.

Offensively, Hatakeyama lit it up. He was a double short of hitting for the cycle. Yes, that means he somehow worked a triple. That’s a whole lot of waddling. Crazy.

Miyamoto also had a pair of hits while mystically Aoki was the only starter not to reach base. Even Ishikawa had a hit.

Tokyo continues it’s hopeful march toward the end of this whole playing against Pacific League teams nonsense with the return-leg of the Tokyo-Tohoku series. The first half wasn’t pretty, so hopefully Tokyo can maintain its run of modest form (hey, three out of the last four is nothing to sniff at) in dealing with the Pacific League’s last place team.

Tomorrow’s game kicks off at 3PM.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini