9/1/11 – Hiroshima (Home)

Sepember 1st, 2011

Hiroshima Carp  2

Tokyo Swallows  4

Streak: Won 1       Last 5: LLLLW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

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W: Matsuoka (1-1) L: Shinoda (5-6) S: Lim (22)

Today marked the beginning of a new month, and hopefully the start of the Swallows’ stretch run to the championships. While the result was a win, it remains to be see how the team will respond to the fall race.

 Carp Swallows
12B Higashide1CF Aoki
2RF Iyo2SS K. Kawashima
3CF Akamatsu32B Tanaka
41B Kurihara41B Hatakeyama
5LF Maru5RF Balentien
63B Barden63B Miyamoto
7C Kura7LF Iihara
8SS Kimura8C Kawamoto
9P Shinoda9P Akagawa

Things did not start well for the young Akagawa as he gave up a single to Higashide to start the game. The Carp cashed in on the subsequent bunt with a Akamatsu single to take the lead. 1-0 Carp

Hatakeyama homers in 3 runs!

But the Swallows responded in the bottom of the first inning with runs of their own. After Aoki grounded out weakly to the pitcher for out number one, Keizo surprised the Carp infield with a bunt. The sudden bunt forced Shinoda to make a bad throw, allowing Keizo to get on via an error. Tanaka worked Shinoda and drew a walk to put men on first and second for Hatakeyama. Shinoda worked Hatakeyama inside, but Hatake made him pay by launching a homerun into the left field stands. 3-1 Swallows Incidentally, it started raining a bit hard after the homerun, leaving the Jingu faithful wondering if the game would actually become official. Luckily Mother Nature decided to take pity on the Swallows and the rain subsided after 5 minutes, and the game never even got delayed.

Things started well again in bottom of the second inning as Iihara blooped a single into center field. Kawamoto followed with a grounder to third that Barden couldn’t field cleanly to put men on first and second with no out. Akagawa did his job by bunting the men into scoring position for Aoki. Those who watched yesterday’s game may remember that Aoki lined into a double play in an identical situation in the third last night. Luckily, September Aoki had the decency to at least ground out on a high chopper to short to allow both men to advance, and score an extra run. 4-1 Swallows

Akagawa held things in check until the fourth inning when he allowed a single up the middle to the lead batter, Kurihara. Akagawa followed with a walk to Maru. With Barden up to bat, the Carp elected not bunt and Akagawa was able to induce a double play ground ball from the American. With 2 outs and a man on third, Akagawa wasn’t able to quite shut the door on the Carp as he allowed a hit to Kura to score the man from third. 4-2 Swallows

The Carp would threaten again in the fifth. Akagawa got 2 hard-earned outs to start the inning, but gave up a walk to Iyo and a hit to Akamatsu to put a man in scoring position for Kurihara, the Carp’s hottest hitter. With Akagawa’s pitch count already at 98, and our record as it was, Ogawa elected not to mess around and called Oshimoto in from the bullpen. Oshimoto came in and easily induced a pop up to second to preserve the lead.

Shinoda completely shut down the Swallows after the second inning, as he pitched perfectly until he left the mound for a pinch hitter after the sixth inning. The Swallows got their final scoring opportunity in the seventh after Miyamoto lead off the inning with a single. Iihara bunted Miyamoto over to second, and the old man showed his craft as he took third one pitch later on a steal. With one out and a man on third, the Carp pitched out to Kawamoto on the next pitch fearing a squeeze play. Kawamoto did attempt a squeeze bunt on a slider way outside two pitches later, but managed to keep Miyamoto alive by getting a foul. Unfortunately, Kawamoto popped up weakly to the infield wasting a golden opportunity. Whitesell would end up stranding Miyamoto as he couldn’t quite get the barrel of the bat on a hanging breaking ball, which lead to a pop up to center.

Kawamoto makes a diving attempt at a squeeze.

The Swallows kept the Carp off the board with 2 perfect innings from Matsuoka, followed by a perfect 3K inning from Barnette. Lim made the crowd sweat by walking the leadoff better on 4 pitches but the settled down enough to get the next 3 batters out to seal the win.That’s right, A WIN!

Notes

  • The Swallows managed to get 4 runs despite only getting 3 hits and drawing 1 walk.
  • Weather permitting, the Swallows will host the Giants for 3 games at Jingu starting tomorrow.
  • The Giants did not play tonight, and Hanshin and Chunichi tied. Which means the Swallows gained a half game against those teams, and a full game over the Carp.

Hopefully this becomes a familiar sight again.

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.