8/6/11 – Hanshin (Away)

August 6th, 2011

Tokyo Swallows 1

Hanshin Tigers 6

Streak: Lost 3   Last 5: WDLLL

(Kyocera Dome)

Slight tweaks in the line-up fail to lead to more offense, which leads to an ugly loss, which puts Tokyo on a bona fide losing streak, with three straight losses for the first time since May 20th to 22nd.

Tokyo:

I hope you drink, young man.

1. Aoki (CF)
2. Tanaka (2B)
3. Kawabata (SS)
4. Hatakeyama (RF)
5. Whitesell (1B)
6. Miyamoto (3B)
7. Iihara (RF)
8. Aikawa (C)
9. Yoshinori (P)

Hanshin:

1. Hirano (CF)
2. Uemoto (2B)
3. Toritani (SS)
4. Arai (3B)
5. Brazell (1B)
6. Kanemoto (LF)
7. Shibata (RF)
8. Fujii (C)
9. Messenger (P)

Yoshinori got things started for Hanshin by walking Uemoto, giving up an RBI double to Toritani, then a single to Arai, followed by an RBI single by Brazell. Early on, 2-0 Hanshin.

In the second, Yoshinori got an out again, then got back to the work of melting in the heat. Fujii walked, Messenger sac-bunted him to second, Hirano hit an RBI double, then Uemoto walked for the second time. 3-0 Hanshin.

In the third, Yoshinori changed things up by giving up a double to start things off. Then Brazell fouled one off to Miyamoto’s neighborhood for an out, which was thankfully followed by two more. A safe inning.

In the fourth, with one out, Messenger got a hit. Lucky for Tokyo, Hirano grounded into a double play.

Coming off his hit, Messenger finally saw his thus far perfect game broken up when he walked Hatakeyama. Of course, he followed this with a strike-out of Whitesell and two fly-outs.

In the fifth, Uemoto doubled to left, then was moved to third by Toritani, who grounded out. Arai then drove Uemoto in. 4-0 Hanshin.

On offense, or rather the time would offense would theoretically occur, Aikawa grounded out to first. (Why make the opposing infield move for the ball?) Then, although his bat had been no less valuable than his arm at that point, Yoshinori was pulled for the pinch-hitter Takeuchi. He got out, but his sempai Aoki was then walked – just the second Swallow to reach base. His other sempai Tanaka (all three are Waseda University alumni), a Tsubamegun favorite, followed that with an amazing achievement in this particular game: He got a hit.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Shunsuke (LF) entered the order for Hanshin and Akagawa took the mound for Tokyo and not only went 1-2-3, but notched a K! (Against Messenger.)

In the seventh, with two outs, Miyamoto showed why he’s the team’s leader and singled. he was replaced by the swifter Morioka, in the hope that a run or five could be manufactured, but it was not to be.

Bottom of the seventh: Uemoto singled and stole second and Arai was walked, but Akagawa got another K (against Toritani).

In the top of the eighth, Kawashima Keizo pinch hit for Akagawa and singled, but no one else got on.

Fernandez pitched the eighth. He walked Shunsuke, gave up a single to Fujii, then balked, putting both runners in scoring position. To make it extra exciting, he then walked Messenger to load the bases as the top of the order came up.

What could top two walks, a hit, and a balk? Pegging Hirano to give up a run. Uemoto continued his career night with an RBI sac-fly. 6-0 Hanshin.

Want a rally? Well, Kawabata singled, was moved to second when Hatake made contact, but got nabbed, and was driven in by a Morioka RBI single. 6-1 Hanshin, Final.

Yoshinori took the loss and, while he richly deserved, this really was a team effort – the suck reached a level that would make you think Takada was back. Thankfully, that’s not the case and the Birds are still in first.