Apr 16th 2013, vs Chunichi

April 16th, 2013

Chunichi Logo Chunichi Dragons

Tokyo Swallows 5

Streak: Won 1    Last 5: LLLLW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

W: Muranaka (2-1; 3.31 ERA) L: Yoshimi (0-2; 4.95 ERA)
S: Barnette (5 S; 1.80 ERA)

Coco Balentien marked his 2013 Jingu debut with a monster two home run night as he propelled Tokyo to their first come from behind win of the season to halt their winless streak at four. ALL PRAY TO THE GOOD LORD BALENTIEN. AMEN.

Balentien celebrates home run no.2

Balentien celebrates home run no.2

Ohshima (CF)1Milledge (LF)
Ibata (SS)2Kawashima (SS)
Luna (3B)3Yuhei (CF)
Wada (LF)4Hatakeyama (1B)
Clarke (1B)5Balentien (RF)
Matsui (RF)6Miyamoto (3B)
Tanishige (C)7Tanaka (2B)
Araki (2B)8Nakamura (C)
Yoshimi (P)9Muranaka (P)

Muranaka started for the birds, and as is usual for the man, started rather shakily, but managed to hold it together. In the first he walked Ohshima to get things off to an inauspicious start, but the Chunichi lead-off irritant was thrown out trying to steal second. Ibata then got on board via a single, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kyohei then struck out the dangerous Luna before getting Wada to ground out to third to end the inning.

Things got worse in the second, as another lead-off walk, this time for Clarke, and a Tanishige single one out later put men on first and second for the Dragons. Both runners then moved into scoring positions after Muranaka’s second wild pitch in as many innings, but Araki and Yoshimi were then sat down in order and Kyohei escaped another inning unscathed.

After that, the glassy-eyed Muranaka settled down, keeping Chunichi hitless over the next three frames before coming unstuck in the top of the 6th. A double from Ohshima, a sac bunt from Ibata and a timely single to left for Luna made it 1-0 Chunichi.

Up until this point, the slumping Tokyo bats managed just two hits off Dragons’ ace Yoshimi, a pitcher who, lest we forget, has pretty much owned the Swallows in recent times. But not tonight baby. Not tonight. Because COCO HAD OTHER IDEAS MR. YOSHIMIMIMI!

Yoshimi in the 7th. Hhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. And, erm, ha?

Yoshimi in the 7th. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. And, erm, ha?

Hatake got the party started with a pop-fly to left which landed just in front of Wada in left and the pudgy one was on at first. After striking out looking and grounding out to the pitcher in his prior two at bats of the evening, Coco looked focussed as he waited on a suitable pitch on which to feast. And after two straight sliders he got the pitch he was looking for, a fastball up and outside, and he drilled it into the right field stands for 2-1 Tokyo.

But the party was not yet over as a singles from Miyamoto and Nakamura sandwiching a Tanaka sac bunt put men on the corners with one out on the board. In came Iwamura for Muranaka, and he hit a sac fly to deep centre and Miyamoto trotted home to make it a two run lead. 3-1 Tokyo.

And so to the top of the 7th, with Yamamoto in for Muranaka on the mound. And things looked like they may go awry as he allowed back-to-back singles to Ohshima and Ibata which put men on the corners with no outs. Next man up Luna hit one back to the pitcher, but Yamamoto hesitated ever so slightly on his throw to second, meaning Tanaka couldn’t quite turn the double play at first, and it was 3-2 with Luna occupying first with one out. Wada then flew out to second before Yamamoto struck out Clarke swinging to preserve the Tokyo lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Tokyo superiority was restored. With reliever Okada on the mound, Yuhei hit a one-out double off the wall in centre, and a Hatake ground out moved him along to third. But his proximity to home mattered not as Balentien hit another high outide fastball into the Swallows fans in right once more and the Swallows had some breathing room at 5-2 Tokyo.

All that was left to do was for Tony Barnette to get in on the action, with a 1-2-3 top of the 9th, the 2 and 3 being strikeouts, and we had ourselves a 5-2 Tokyo Final.

Muranaka got the job done.

Muranaka got the job done

Game Notes

  • Prior to this evening, Tokyo were 0 and 7 when their opposition scored first (and 6 and 2 when getting on the board first themselves).
  • Muranaka’s final line: 7 IP / 122 P / 4 H / 5 K / 4 BB / 1 ER.
  • 11,210 lasses and laddies were present for this one.
  • This win moves Tokyo out of a tie for last in the (very, very early) CL standings and up to 4th.
  • Milledge is struggling at the plate, putting up his second 0 for in a row. Things will change for the better soon there though, of that I am sure.
  • Tomorrow will see if rookie Yasuhiro Ogawa can continue his remarkable run of form, as he takes on Bradley Bergesen in a rematch of last Wednesday’s game.
About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • TokyoGarMan

    Last night was one of the most exciting games in my long tenure as a Swallows fan! Balentien hitting his first and second HRs of the season for the Swallows victory! I really think this is where things start to turn around for the birds. Cautious optimism, yes, but what a night! Thanks for the great write-up, David!

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