7/3/11 – Hiroshima (Away)

July 3, 2011

Hiroshima Carp 3

Tokyo Swallows 7

Streak: Won 1      Last 5: DDWLW

(Mazda Stadium)

 

Tokyo pounced on some iffy pitching early to build a lead that would eventually give the wobbly Masubuchi the win even though he surrendered three runs off of eights hits over five innings of 98-pitch baseball. As a result, the Swallows are the first Central League team to reach 30 wins this season.

Tokyo:

  1. Aoki (CF)

    Masubuchi got his career-best fourth win today.

  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Whitesell (1B)
  4. Hatakeyama (LF)
  5. Balentien (RF)
  6. Miyamoto (3B)
  7. Kawabata (SS)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Masubuchi (P)

Hiroshima

  1. Higashide (2B)
  2. Kimura (SS)
  3. Maru (CF)
  4. Kurihara (1B)
  5. Matsuyama (RF)
  6. Kokubo (3B)
  7. Amaya (LF)
  8. Kura (C)
  9. Nakamura (P)

In the first, Aoki got things going in the right direction with a triple to gap between center and right. He was then brought home on Tanaka’s grounder to short. 1-0 Tokyo.

But Masubuchi quickly allowed the home side to create a lead of its own. Three hits, two earned runs. 2-1 Hiroshima.

That inning would soon become a distant memory as things got very messy for Nakamura and the Hiroshima Carp.

Miyamoto started the inning by drawing a walk. Kawabata then singled to center, and Aikawa to left, to leave the bases juiced with no outs and starting pitcher, Masubuchi, at the plate.

Rather than grounding into a double play, Masubuchi drew a four-pitch walk to bring home the tying run. Next man up, Aoki, plated another run on his infield single to second, but injured himself when he foolishly slid feet-first into the bag.

Tokyo’s star center-fielder looked to be in considerable pain but eventually walked off the field under his own power. The pitching change that occurred after Aoki’s RBI single allowed the birds enough time to assess the extent of Aoki’s self-inflicted pain, and Aoki retook to the field as Soriano replaced Nakamura on the mound.

But things continued to go Tokyo’s way as Soriano allowed Tanaka to reach first on a walk which simultaneously brought Aikawa home from third for Tokyo’s third run of the inning. The fourth came two batters later on Hatakeyama’s grounder to third. 5-2 Tokyo.

Tokyo then went pretty silent at the plate for the next four innings save for a walk by Miyamoto and immediate Tak-bunt by Kawabata that didn’t help bring any extra runners around in the sixth.

The Carp, on the other hand, managed to grab one more run back in the fourth when they strung together three hits. 5-3 Tokyo.

With Watanabe (1.80 ERA), Kyuko (2.87) and Barnette (1.13) having pitched a scoreless inning each in relief, the Swallows created two insurance runs in the top of the ninth that would end up being the final scoreline. Tanaka and Whitesell hit back-to-back singles and came around to score thanks to a Noguchi grounder to short and then a Balentien sacrifice fly to right. 7-3 Final.

Lim (16 saves, 1.91 ERA) very nearly created another disaster for himself but managed to get the final out with the bases loaded (one hit and two walks).

Masubuchi got the win which evened his record at four wins and four losses. His earned run average is still alarmingly high at 5.25, but it’s good that he’s still hanging around the top team and trying to find his way back into the rotation. If he can stretch his starts to six innings or more, then people might stop groaning when his name is announced at the beginning of every game he starts. However, hats off to him for notching his fourth win of the season. That’s a personal best for him, and this was also his first win since June 5th.

The Carp’s Nakamura, on the other hand, had the shortest start of his career–10 batters faced through one and zero-third’s innings (five hits and two walks). Oops.

On offense, Tanaka was possibly the MVP at the plate today even though he went only 1-3. But his at-bats were valuable for the most part: RBI 6-3 groundout in the first; RBI walk in the second; 4-3 groundout in the fourth; leadoff walk in the seventh; single to right in the ninth (later scored).

Aoki was the only guy on the team who hat two hits in the game, and he was removed from the game after his fourth at-bat as a precautionary measure.

The birds are still in first place atop the Central League with a 3.5 game lead over the Chunichi Dragons. Tokyo will travel to Shizuoka for a home-away-from-home game against Yomiuri on Tuesday.

The Swallows will then return to Jingu to finish up the three-game series with 6PM games on both Wednesday and Thursday.

 

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