7/26/11 – Hiroshima (Home)

July 26th, 2011

Hiroshima Toyo Carp  6

Tokyo Yakult Swallows  3

Streak: Lost 1       Last 5: LLDWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

As the second half of the season got under way, first-placed Tokyo were given a stark reminder that the CL race is far from over as they were well beaten by Hiroshima.

Us:

  1. Aoki (CF)
  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Whitesell (1B)
  4. Hatakeyama (LF)
  5. Balentien (RF)
  6. Miyamoto (3B)
  7. Kawabata (SS)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Ishikawa (P)
Them:
  1. Higashide (2B)
  2. Kimura (SS)
  3. Maru (LF)
  4. Kurihara (1B)
  5. Ioh (RF)
  6. Kokubo (3B)
  7. Akamatsu (CF)
  8. Ishihara (C)
  9. Alvarado (P)

Ishikawa started and wasn’t at his sharpest, but he wasn’t helped one iota early on by some pretty terrible fielding behind him. The 2nd would see the Carp take the lead after Ishikawa appeared to have done enough to post his second zero of the game. With two outs on the board, Kokubo hit what should have been a routine flyball to leftfield, but Kawabata backed up way too far trying to take the ball, which got in the way of Hatakeyama,  the end result being the ball was missed by both and Kokubo was sitting pretty on second. And as is the way these things always tend to go, next man up Akamatsu hit the first of his four hits for the evening, a single to right for 1-0 Hiroshima.

And it was a similar tale in the 3rd, this time with one out on the board. Kimura hit a flyball to shallow right, and substitute Tanaka and Balentien for Kawabata/Hatake, throw in a bit of Aoki and the result was the same – a Hiroshima runner at second. Then substitute Maru for Akamatsu with the bat and you have a score of 2-0 to the bad.

And so to the 4th, as two hits put two men on with two outs for Higashide. He hit a chopper to first, which should have been fielded fairly easily by Whitesell and thrown to the covering Ishikawa at first to escape the inning, only Josh slipped and couldn’t come up with the ball. 3-0 Hiroshima.

At this point Ishikawa probably had an inkling that it was just one of those nights and he probably wasn’t going to be picking up win number six of the season.

This picture pretty much sums up the whole game

After getting men on in each of the first four innings to no avail, the Swallows finally managed to pull the trigger in the 5th. Singles from Aoki and Tanaka, and a flyout to centre from Whitesell left two men in scoring positions with one out on the board. Hatake hit a grounder to third, which was good enough to score Aoki for 3-1 and leave Tanaka at third with two outs. Balentien could then only flyout to right to end the inning.

But Hiroshima pretty much put the game out of sight in the top of the 6th. Ishikawa gave up three hits to make it 4-1 with men on the corners with two outs. Ogawa had seen enough from Ishikawa, and in came Satoh in relief. But he gave up a base clearing triple to the first man he faced, Kimura, and Ishikawa had himself another two earned runs and the score was  now 6-1.

Tokyo did pull two back in the 8th off Kishimoto, as a Hatake double, a Miyamoto single and a pinch-hit Takeuchi single made it 6-2. An Aikawa sacfly then put the score at 6-3 but that would bring the evening’s scoring to an end for a 6-3 Hiroshima Final.

Ishikawa took the loss (5.2IP/10H/4K/1BB/6ER) and his record fell to 5-5/2.95.

The Swallows were outhit 15-11. After Satoh, Akagawa (3.18) pitched two shutout innings in relief, the most impressive of which was the 7th, with him escaping a one-out bases loaded jam after more suspect fielding (Keizo Kawashima and Hatake again) had put him in trouble. Matsuoka (3.42) worked a scoreless 9th.

Tokyo will hopefully be getting out their marker pens and attempting to draw a line under tonight’s game before game two of the series tomorrow evening.

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