9/14/11 – Hiroshima (Away)

September 14th, 2011

Tokyo Swallows  7

Hiroshima Carp 6

Streak: Won 8  Last 5: WWWWW

(Mazda Zoom Zoom Zoom! Zoom zooomzoomzoomzoom Stadium Hiroshima)

[table “82” not found /]

 Tokyo Hiroshima
1Aoki (CF)1Higashide (2B)
2Tanaka (2B)2Akamatsu (CF)
3Kawabata (SS)3Barden (3B)
4Hatakeyama (1B)4Kurihara (1B)
5Iihara (LF)5Maru (LF)
6Miyamoto (3B)6Hirose (RF)
7Balentien (RF)7Kura (C)
8Aikawa (C)8Kimura (SS)
9Muranaka (P)9Shinoda (P)

'Nuff said.

Aoki started this game with a strike out, but he at least drew seven pitches. Tanaka drew a walk and Kawabata got a hit, both to be commended. Hatakeyama popped out and, more pertinently, Iihara popped out to center on the first pitch. Iihara has been getting more playing time lately, but he and a few other Swallows need to internalize one basic sabermetric lesson: Don’t swing at the first pitch.

The Carp scored first when Muranaka got off to a bad start: walk, sac-bunt, walk, pop up moving a man to third, then the RBI single. 1-0 Hiroshima.

Never fear, though. In the top of the second, Miyamoto led off with a safe bunt, which was followed by a Balentien double. Aikawa then grounded out, but drove in the tying run. 1-1.

In the top of the third, Kawabata singled, then was brought home in grand fashion by a Hatake two-run homer. 3-1 Tokyo.

Alas, the Carp turned right around and did the same thing: Barden single followed by Kurihara two-run homer. 3-3.

In the bottom of the fifth, Muranaka faced the top of the delta’s order again, when, with one out, he melted down a bit, giving up three hits in a row to Akamatsu, Barden, and Kurihara to make the score 4-3 Hiroshima.

In the sixth, Yamamoto took the mound for Tokyo and, in the top of the seventh, .143-hitting back-up catcher Masakazu Fukukawa was, oddly, called in to pinch-hit and was, even more oddly, walked and replaced by Keizo Kawashima on the basepaths. That was the offensive highlight of the inning.

Takahiro Aoki took the mound for Hiroshima in the seventh. Ryo Hidaka, with all of 1 1/3 innings under his belt this season, did the same for the Birds and started off with a K. Then a hit on the first pitch, and a sac-bunt on the first pitch. Then he was yanked in favor of Matsui, who gave up an RBI to Barden. 5-3 Hiroshima.

Not so fast, though, once and future thugs.* Tokyo defeats inferior teams this year. It’s a novelty thing they’re trying out. Imamura on the mound for the Reds. Kawbata hits, then Hatake and Takeuchi (pinch-hitting for Iihara) pop out. After that, though, Miyamoto homers.

Balentien and Aikawa then walked and Imamura got yanked in favor of Toyoda, who gave up a base-loading hit to the pinch-hitting Whitesell, bringing up Aoki, who hit to right, made the third out, and drove two runs in in the process. 7-5 Tokyo.

Oshimoto took the mound in the eighth and gave up a hit to Maru to start. Then to Hirose, who apparently can hit them low and away, where Oshimoto kept throwing until he got drilled. Kura then sac-bunted the bases full and Kyuko took over for the Swallows and gave up an RBI to Yamamoto, who grounded out. 7-6 Tokyo.

In the ninth, Dennis Sarfate hurled for Hiroshima. He gave up a single to Tanaka, sac-bunt to Kawabata, walk to Hatake (replaced by Miwa on base), hit to Takeuchi, struck out Miyamoto, then faced Balentien with two outs and the base loaded.

He struck out on five pitches. M”#$%&’&%$%r!

A sexy-again Lim took the mound in the ninth. He did well. 7-6 Tokyo, Final. Eight straight wins.

This is the longest winning streak of the season so far. Last season, the Swallows won ten straight between August 3rd and 13th (when they swept Chunichi at home, Yokohama away, and Yomiuri at home, then won the first game of a 1-2 series at Hanshin). 2008 and ’09 are best left forgotten.

Matsui (2-0, 5.79) threw four pitches, gave up one hit, and was lucky enough to have pitched right before a four-run inning, thus taking the win. Imamura took the loss for Hiroshima with a similar amount of luck involved.

* Back in the 1950s, the early days of NPB, Carp fans used to routinely pelt visiting teams and fans, particularly the Giants, with rocks. In other words, they were Hanshin fans with the benefit of being in a far less settled time in a city going through the pangs of rebuilding.