6/16/12 – Hokkaido (Away)

June 16th, 2012

  Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 3

Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: LLWWL

(Sapporo Dome)

The last time I wrote about these two teams playing, the Swallows had finally ended their 10-game losing streak. The Birds were heading into this game on a two-game win streak and winning five of their last seven. The Fighters won their last game against the OTHER Tokyo team but have struggled in the three previous games. Tonight saw Wolfe on the mound for Hokkaido and Nakamura for the Swallows.

W: Takeda (3-2) ; L: Hirai (2-1)

If you were late getting to the game, you missed most of the action. The Birds were aggressive from the onset, but the Fighters struck first.

 Hokkaido Tokyo
1Itoi (RF)1Milledge (CF)
2Koyano (3B)2Fukuchi (LF)
3Tanaka (2B)3Kawabata (SS)
4Nakata (LF)4Hatakeyama (1B)
5Inaba (1B)5Balentien (DH)
6Yo (CF)6Miyamoto (3B)
7Nioka (DH)7Matsui (RF)
8Kaneko (SS)8Nakamura (C)
9Tsuruoka (C)9Tanaka (2B)

In the top of the first, the Birds would get two runners on, to threaten early. However, the inning would amount to zero runs on the scoreboard as the big bad Wolfe settled down to strike out Coco to end the early threat.

While the Swallows struggled, the Fighters were much more fortunate in the home half of the inning. Itoi started things off by hitting a soft liner off of Muranaka’s glove. After a failed bunt attempt by Koyano, Tanaka hit a single to put runners on first and second. Nakata followed that by hitting a run-scoring double to left-center. 1 – 0 Hokkaido

Things then got a little interesting. The Fighters had runners on 2nd and 3rd and only one out, when the former Swallow Inaba strolled to the plate. He hit a hard grounder to Morioka at 2nd. Morioka immediately went home and was able to get Tanaka out. Well played, but there was still one more out to get. Unfortunately, Muranaka couldn’t get it before another run crossed the plate. The next batter, Yoh, hit a single to left to score Tanaka from third. 2 – 0 Hokkaido

Nioka would be the final out of the inning.

Fear not oh faithful reader as the youngins would answer right back. After Miyamoto was a quick out to start the inning, Matsui smacked a single to center. Nakamura then hit a slow grounder to short and was thrown out at first. Matsui moved to second on the play. Morioka then hit a lovely double to score Matsui and cut the lead in half. 2 – 1 Hokkaido

Two for two!

After starting the game with a single, Milledge would answer the call again in the 2nd. He hit yet another single to left to score Morioka.  2 – 2 

However, the inning would end when Milledge decided to stretch that single into a double and be thrown out at second.

After that, both starting pitchers settled in for the next few innings. Neither team really made much of a threat until the Swallows made some noise in the 6th. But like the 1st inning, nothing came of it.

Wolfe’s evening was over after 6 innings, though, while Muranaka lasted 7.

After a few slow innings, we finally reached the 9th. Takeda was on the hill for the Fighters. Matsui, swinging the stick like the more infamous Hideki, smacked another hit. He was replaced on the bases by Hiyane (MISTAKE). Hiyane  steals second on a blown hit and run by Nakamura. If the shortstop would have caught the ball, Hiyane would have been out by about 2 strides. However, the shortstop didn’t hang on and he was safe. Hiyane would then move to 3rd when Nakamura finally made contact with the ball, and grounded out to second.

Please indulge me for a moment. How Shiroishi is still employed as a 3rd base coach is beyond me. It seems every week I watch him make an absolute moronic decision to either wave a runner around third or to send a runner from third on a potential sac fly. I don’t think I am exaggerating, either. EVERY WEEEEKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And he still waddles out to third base box every night. When the five authors of this site get enough money to purchase the Swallows, he will be the first person that I let go. However, it will not be until after he is hung from his toe nails and set down the zip line that hangs the screen behind home plate at Jingu. He will then be routinely caned until his arms are no longer arms and his jaw is broken in so many places, it is beyond repair. Maybe then he will realize he is a f*#*ing moron.

So, what does Shiroishi do with the game tied and a runner on 3rd and only one out in the top of the ninth? He sends the runner home on a sac fly that most shortstops would have caught. Here is what happened: Morika hit a flyball to Nakata in shallow left. He then throws a “laser-beam” throw to home and easily throws out Hiyane at home for the 3rd out. This was not Hiyane’s fault, just absolutely pathetic coaching. Which turned out to cost the Birds the game.

So we move to the bottom of the ninth. Nioka hits a single to right and is replaced by Nishikawa at first. Kaneko attempts to bunt but is out when Nakamura makes an amazing diving catch for the first out of the inning. Then the pitching carousel started and the Fighters started getting on base one at a time. Hirai was replaced by Hitaka. He promptly allowed Tsuruoka to hit a single to left. Then another “infield” single to Itoi to load the bases. Barnette was called in to protect the tie. The fighters countered with Hoffpauir. Unfortunately, Hoffpauir won this battle as he hit a sac fly to deep center, that easily scored Nishikawa from third. 3 – 2 Hokkaido


  • 32392 people were in attendance
  • tonight’s game lasted 3 hours and 31 minutes
  • Shiroishi is an imbecile
  • The swallows now have a record of 8 wins and 14 losses in interleague play. Only the Hawks have a worse record
  • The Birds will finish up interleague play with a second game tomorrow and a rain make-up game against Lotte on Tuesday.
  • Tomorrow’s scheduled starters are Takeda for the Hokkaido pork products and Ishikawa for the Tokyo beverage company
  • First pitch is scheduled for 2 pm


About Scott

Scott is an avid fan of the underdog. He spent his childhood cheering for the Chicago White Sox and hating all teams from New York. Once he moved to Tokyo, he quickly directed this same hatred toward the tenants of the Tokyo Dome. Thus began his support of the Swallows (and anyone playing against the indoor Tokyo team).
In his mind, there is not a better place to be than at Jingu stadium watching the Swallows from the bleachers, drinking a nice cold drink, and cheering along with the extremely knowledgeable Swallows fans.