9/29/11 – Hanshin (Home)

September 29th, 2011

Hanshin Tigers 4

Tokyo Swallows 7

Streak: Won 4  Last 5: LWWWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Not quite as exciting as the MLB American League wildcard race, but the last few days at Jingu have been mightily enjoyable. Just like the two nights before, the Swallows came from behind to comfortably beat the Hanshin Tigers.

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W: Oshimoto (2-2 1S) L: Nohmi (8-9) S: Lim (3-2 29S)

 Hanshin Tokyo
1Hirano 2B1Aoki CF
2Shibata CF2Tanaka 2B
3Toritani SS3Kawabata SS
4Arai 3B4Hatakeyama 2B
5Brazell 1B5Balentien RF
6Murton RF6Miyamoto 3B
7Kanemoto LF7Iihara LF
8Komiyama C8Aikawa C
9Nohmi P9Tateyama P

Tokyo started strongly in the first with Nohmi on the bump for Hanshin. Aoki singled and was Tak-bunted to second by Tanaka. Kawabata grounded out, and then Hatakeyama drew a walk to put last night’s savior, Balentien, at the plate with two out and two on.

Bang.

Balentien waited patiently on a Nohmi changeup that came drifting into the Coco Wheelhouse and it was homer number 30 of the season for Tokyo’s streaky big-man. 3-0 Tokyo.

Tokyo’s ace, Tateyama, who has struggled since coming back from a hand injury, looked sharp early on. He went ten batters before finally letting a runner on base–a Shibata single in the top of the fourth.

But as good as Tateyama was, Nohmi was better. After that meatball he served to Belentien, Nohmi was lights out for a long, long time. After the first inning, he didn’t allow another Tokyo runner to touch first base until Aoki drew a walk in the sixth.

The visitors, on the other hand, found a way to get to Tateyama who struggled a little bit with locating his pitches. A Kanemoto homer in the fifth brought in two, and three base hits in the sixth amounted to a complete reversal of fortunes. 4-3 Hanshin.

But just like Tuesday and Wednesday, there was little reason to worry.

Nohmi was finally bundled out of the game in the eigth, an inning in which the Swallows put together one hell of a rally and condemned the visiting Tigers to their second consecutive sweep at Jingu Stadium in a single month.

When was the last time that happened? Someone please check for me because I need to go to bed.

Keizo Kawashima, pinch hitting for Tateyama, started things off by drawing a walk off of Nohmi. Aoki followed with his second single of the game to put runners on first and second with no outs. Tanaka dutifully followed with his third sacrifice bunt of the game (the first two were Tak-bunts, but this one was a legit sac bunt because a runner moved over to third in the process). With runners on second and third, the 0-3 Kawabata took his place in the batters box.

As Kozo mentioned to us just before Kawabata left the on-deck circle, Nohmi had owned Kawabata all game long. In other words, Tokyo’s young shortstop was due. And boy did he come through!

Number 36 passed on the first pitch he saw, a fastball just outside the zone. He guessed correctly on the next pitch (something offspeed), and was lucky to get a forkball that didn’t have quite enough spin on it. The result was a line drive that just stayed fair along the right field stripe. Two runs scored. 5-4 Tokyo.

With Kawabata on second, Hatakeyama hit a single to right that put runners on the corners and again presented Balentien with an opportunity.

After working a full count, Coco punted the fourth sinker that he saw (the first two were balls, the third he fanned on) deep into center for a sac fly and his fourth RBI of the game. 6-4 Tokyo.

The scoring finally came to a close on Miyamoto’s double to left. 7-4 Final.

Lim worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 29th save on 17 pitches.

The win went to Oshimoto who finished the final third of the eighth inning for Tateyama. He threw six pitches in recording the final out.

Tokyo owns the Tigers for the second time this month.

One thing that made this game extra-enjoyable to watch was observing all of the Hanshin fans lining the sides of the tunnel after the Swallows had their big eighth inning. The stream of fans was impressive, and the abuse being hurled at the their team (and particularly their manager, Mayumi) was very clearly audible on the other side of the stadium.

No wonder the Jingu security folks have elected to escort certain members of the Hanshin cadre out of the stadium the last couple of nights. Pure comedy.

Tokyo heads just a bit south tomorrow to take on the Yokohama BayStars once again. The Chunichi Dragons just keep on winning, so the BayStars are anything but a vacation. Count on Chunichi to pose major problems for the Tigers this weekend and threaten to pull a game or two closer.

As of today, the Swallows lead the Dragons by three games. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs is the prize here folks.

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

  • Scott

    What about the National League? The collapse by Atlanta was just as remarkable!!!

  • The eighth-inning comeback finally silenced a female Hanshin fan sitting in front of me!

    Does anyone know why Tigers fans sit on our side even when there are plenty of vacancies on their side?  Are they being obnoxious on purpose? Or are even they keeping away from those scary people in the left field stand?

  • TokyoIllini

    The Boys and I were in our usual seats on the first base side when in the 2nd inning this LOW level Kansai Yak rolls in, in his Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier t-shirt and 15G diamond studded watch, with a small entourage with him and sits a couple rows right in front of us.  First hit the Tigers get the guy is beating the empty seats in front of him with hands like they were bongo drums.  His theatrics having no sign of abetting led us to pour out the verbal abuse by means of excessively cheering for the Swallows on every occasion, particularly noted when Kawabata’s batting song was played.  Oho Oho!!  End of the 8th he had had enough and decided to pack up and roll out.  The next moment was priceless.  One of our homies yells out, “Oyasuminasi !!”  The dude then turned around busts out a big old smile and laugh and then waves goodbye to all of us.