6/30/12 – Hanshin (Home)

June 30th, 2012

Hanshin Tigers 6

Tokyo Swallows  4

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: DWWWL

(Jingu Stadium)

W: Akiyama (1-0); L: Roman (4-6); S: Enokida (19)

After a thrilling win the previous night, the Swallows were unable to carry the positive momentum into the next day.

 Tigers Swallows
1Matt Murton (RF)1Lastings Milledge (LF)
2Keiichi Hirano (2B)2Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)
3Takashi Toritani (SS)3Shingo Kawabata (SS)
4Takahiro Arai (3B)4Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)
5Tomoaki Kanemoto (LF)5Wladimir Balentien (RF)
6Craig Brazell (1B)6Shinya Miyamoto (3B)
7Kohei Shibata (CF)7Jun Matsui (CF)
8Akihito Fujii (C)8Ryoji Aikawa (C)
9Takumi Akiyama (P)9Orlando Roman (P)

Orlando Roman made his first start since being recalled to the top team after Lim’s injury and demotion. The Tigers’ were starting Takumi Akiyama making his 2012 debut. Akiyama got beat up by the Swallows in his only 2 ichi-gun starts last year, and was looking for a measure of revenge.

The scoring started quickly, as Toritani hit a homerun just inside of the right field foul pole after Roman magaed 2 quick outs in the first. 1-0 Tigers

But the Swallows struck back quickly in the bottom of the inning. Milledge lead off the inning with an infield single. The Milledge tested Fujii’s arm and stole second barely beating a high and wide throw. Tanaka got 2 strikes attempting to bunt, but managed to advance Milledge to third on a grounder setting the tables for Kawabata. The young lefty delivered with a single to center to tie the game. 1-1 All

The Tigers got the lead again in the second off another solo homerun, this time by Brazell. 2-1 Tigers

The lead got extended one inning later, when Akiyama helped his own cause by leading off the inning with a single. He came around to score one out later, when Hirano tripled to the right field corner. 3-1 Tigers From the right field stands, it looked like Balentien took his sweet time to field the ball and gave Hirano plenty of time to get to third virtually uncontested. The extra base hurt the Swallows, as Toritani followed with a single to left to score Hirano. 4-1 Tigers

With yesterday’s heroics still fresh in everyone’s mind, the faithful were still hopeful for a comeback. Things started slow as Kawabata and Hatake started the bottom of the third with outs. But Balentien delivered his 20th homerun of the season to bring the Swallows 1 run back. 4-2 Tigers Miyamoto followed Balentien with a single to center, and Matsui took a 3-1 Akiyama offering to straight away center for his 2nd homerun of the season to tie the game. 4-4 All

Unfortunately the Swallows’ offensive momentum stalled and the Tigers offense retook the lead in the fifth. Murton got on base with an 1 out single, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Hirano followed with a single to men on the corners for Toritani. Toritani got Murton home by lifting a fly deep enough to right. 5-4 Tigers

The Swallows handed the ball off to Shoda after the fifth, and the lefty managed to pitch a rocky 1 and 2/3 innings, leaving the game with 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 7th. Tetsuya Yamamoto was able to get out of the jam, and the ball was handed to Hidaka for the eighth. Hidaka got 2 outs, but gave up a single to Ryota Arai. Yamato came in to run for Arai the younger, and promptly stole second. Fujii cashed in Yamato with single to right, but failed to keep the inning going as he got caught trying to get to second during the throw home. 6-4 Tigers

Alas, the Swallows bats went cold after the fourth, getting only 1 more hit after Matsui’s game tying homer. Roman took the loss for his 5 innings of work, while Akiyama got the win despite not being much better than his Swallows’ counterpart.


  • For the second game in a row the Tigers managed to get a man safely on base every single inning.
  • The announced starters for tomorrow’s game are Kyohei Muranaka for the Swallows, and Yuya Ando for the Tigers.
  • Hatakeyama is a combined 0-for-24 against the Tigers this season.
  • The loss puts the Swallows’ record at 32-30-4. Good for third in the CL, 5.5 games behind the Giants and 2.5 games ahead of the Tigers in fourth.

Balentien’s 20th homerun of the season was not enough against the Tigers.


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.

  • Rob

    Random prattle:
    Stop putting Matsui in center. It doesn’t look like he has the arm strength or accuracy for anywhere but left.
    Move Balentien up in the order so that there’s a little downside to pitching around him now that he’s learned he won’t see many good pitches.

    • We were discussing the Matsui issue at this game and I would agree with you. 

      When Miyade/A.N.Other outfielder is in the lineup, Milledge starts in centre (like this last Friday), but when Matsui starts they put him in centre and Lastings back in left.

      They must think he’s significantly better in the field than he appears to be.

      That or he’s frightened of the visiting supporters in left (and when the “bizzaro disneyland on tour” that is Hanshin’s support is in town, who could blame him).

      • Rob

         Thanks. Just to be clear, I’m not knocking Matsui – I like him, I like his speed and energy and aggressiveness in the field and at the plate. But on what he’s shown so far, his arm is better off in left field.

        One curiosity is that this pre-draft blog mentions his great arm (http://draftrepo.blog47.fc2.com/blog-entry-539.html). (Disclaimer: I haven’t looked at the site aside from the Matsui entry, and that was just from googling him and dorafuto.)

        Or maybe your other idea is the thing – maybe Ogawa wants to shield a sensitive young player from the bizarro disneyland on tour, heh!

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