4/19/12 Hanshin (Away)

April 19th, 2012

Tokyo Swallows  3

Hanshin Tigers  4

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WWLWL

(Koshien Stadium)

W: Ando (2-0) L: Ishikawa (1-3) S: Fujikawa (6)

Ishikawa and the Swallows lose a back-and-forth affair at a windy Koshien.

 Swallows Tigers
1Tanaka (2B)1Hirano (2B)
2Ueda (CF)2Yamato (CF)
3Milledge (LF)3Toritani (SS)
4Hatakeyama (1B)4Arai (3B)
5Kawabata (SS)5Brazell (1B)
6Miyamoto (3B)6Murton (RF)
7Balentien (RF)7Kanemoto (LF)
8Nakamura (C)8Komiyama (C)
9Ishikawa (P)9Ando (P)

The Swallows struck first in this game in the second. After Kawabata walked to lead off the inning, Miyamoto got career hit number 1987 to put men on the corners with no outs. Balentien took the first pitch he saw and hit it deep enough into center field to cash Kawabata in on a sacrifice fly. 1-0 Swallows Unfortunately, the inning ended 2 pitches later as Nakamura grounded out into a double play.

The lead didn’t last long as the heart of the Tigers’ lineup got hot to start the bottom of the inning. Arai started the inning off with a single. Brazell followed with a double off the left field wall, to put men in scoring position with no outs. It looked like Ishikawa jammed Murton on a 1-1 pitch, but a strong wind pushed a ball that normally would have sailed comfortably into Balentien’s glove back into shallow right field for a run-scoring single. 1-1 All With no out and men on the corners, Kanemoto killed the Tigers’ momentum by grounding into a 6-5-3 double play, but not before scoring Brazell for the lead. 2-1 Tigers

The Swallows came back in the fifth. Balentien and Nakamura opened the inning with back-to-back singles, and Ishikawa bunted them both into scoring position. Tanaka hit a high fastball that Toritani just managed to snag on a dive, and throw to first. The ground outallowed both runners to advance, scoring Balentien and putting Nakamura on third. 2-2 All Ando walked Ueda on just 5 pitches to put the Swallows’ hopes on Milledge’s bat. He answered with a single to right to score Nakamura and put the Swallows back in the lead. 3-2 Swallows

Unfortunately Ishikawa wasn’t able to hold the lead in the sixth. Ishikawa started the inning off with a strike out off Yamato, but things started to go awry with a single up the middle by Toritani. Ishikawa walked Arai to put 2 men on, but did manage to induce a fly out from Brazell despite getting behind 3-1 in the count. But Ishikawa’s lack of control got to him as Murton cashed in both runners with a 1-0 double to retake the lead for the Tigers. 4-3 Tigers Kanemoto ended the inning with a fly out, but the damage was done and Ishikawa’s night ended there.

The Swallows had a chance in the eighth when Iihara, pinch hitting for Ueda, started the inning off with a double and Milledge bunted him over to third (?). Neither Hatake or Kawabata could bring him home. The Swallows also got their lead man on in the ninth against Tigers’ closer Fujikawa. But Miyamoto’s 1988th career hit was for naught, as his pinch runner, Hiyane, got picked off of first and Fujikawa struck out Balentien and Takeuchi to end the night.

The only other highlight for the Swallows in the latter third of the game came in the bottom of the eighth with Hidaka in to face the heart of the Tigers’ order. Hidaka managed to get Toritani, Arai, and Brazell all to go down swinging. Hopefully a confidence boost for the young pitcher, and a sign that the Swallows have another option out of the pen.

Ishikawa pitched 6 inning on 94 pitches, got 4 strikeout, and gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and all Tigers 4 runs. His Tigers’ counterpart, Ando, had similar numbers giving up the same number of hits and walks, and getting 1 less strikeout.

The Swallows travel back home to face the Giants and Dragons for a 6 game homestand. Muranaka is the announced started for the Swallows, while the Giants will open the series with Utsumi.

Ishikawa doesn't quite get the night he wanted.

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.

  • zunlin

    That Milledge bunt on in the eighth was the worst thing of the night. I’m expecting a Hatake bunt in a short time.

  • MooreyTokyo

    Didn’t see the game, but very surprised to read about the Milledge bunt 2nd to 3rd…  Really odd decision.

    Oh well, another 2-1 series, this time going against us.   Some positives though, still clinging on to that winning record, Hidaka looking decent, Milledge warming up nicely etc.

    Isn’t it time for our 10 game wining streak about now?

    • Milledge apparently made that decision on his own. Ogawa has stated that he never would have called for it considering how poorly Hatake has been hitting.

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