May 19th 2013, @ Tohoku


May 19th, 2013

Tokyo Swallows 0

Tohoku Golden Eagles 1

Streak: Lost 1  Last 5: LLWWL

(Kleenex Stadium Miyagi)

Your Swallows headed north for a pair of games in Tohoku, hoping to build on the home run-fueled wins of the previous two nights (game reports here and here).

W: Nagai (2-0; 2.04 ERA)
L: Yagi (1-4; 2.28)
S: Rasner (2S; 1.50)

But they were going to need to deal with a decent pitcher that they weren’t familiar with in order to run their winning streak to three games.

Hiyane (CF)1Matsui (SS)
Morioka (2B)2Ginji (2B)
Milledge (LF)3Hijirisawa (CF)
Balentien (DH)4Jones (DH)
Iwamura (3B)5McGehee (1B)
Hatakeyama (1B)6Takasu (3B)
Takeuchi (RF)7Nakajima (LF)
Nakamura (C)8Shima (C)
Kawashima (SS)9Teppei (RF)
Yagi (P)PNagai (P)

This game was pretty boring for the most part, especially if you are a Swallows fan. Once again, the team’s offense didn’t make much noise for much of the game. Tokyo nearly got a runner on second in the third inning, but Kawashima was adjudged to have obstructed Shima’s throw to second on Nakamura’s steal attempt with one out. That sent Nakamura back to first, Kawashima to the dugout, and added a red lamp to the out count. Hiyane grounded out to third to end the Swallows’ half of the inning.

Tohoku had a bit more luck getting people on base, even getting a runner as far as the left corner with one out in the third, but Yagi put together a couple of strikeouts at just the right moments to keep the home team off of the board.

But while Yagi was reasonably sharp, Tohoku’s Nagai looked a couple of grades better. He worked his giant, looping curve to great effect and struck out five batters through the first four innings.

Yagi can't catch a break. Seven innings and just one earned run, but he still got the loss.

Yagi can’t catch a break. Seven innings and just one earned run, but he still got the loss.

Yagi ended up logging a full seven innings, but his time on the mound ended up involving plenty of base runners. Although he only allowed four hits, he also issued five walks as the nearly constant rain seemed to mess with his grip at times.

Tohoku finally got to him in the bottom of the sixth.

With one out, Hijirisawa singled to center, and then both Jones and McGehee drew walks to load the bases. Takasu then lifted one deep enough to center to allow Hijirisawa to scamper home from third. The inning ended when Jones was picked off at second base.

1-0 Tohoku.

Nagai, on the other hand, didn’t walk anyone over his eight innings of service. And he also allowed only four hits.

Rasner relieved Nagai in the top of the ninth and was a few pitches into Milledge’s at-bat when the sky opened and everyone headed to the dugouts. After a lengthy break, Milledge was eventually able to force an error at short and made it safely to first even though he slipped coming out of the batter’s box. Ueda was inserted in his place and quickly stole second, Balentien drew a full count walk, and then Iwamura grounded out to second but was able to beat the double-play throw to first.

That left runners on the corners for Hatakeyama with two outs.

But he popped out to second to end the game.

The second game of this mini-series is scheduled for tomorrow night with a first pitch slated for 6PM.

Game Notes:

13,171 tickets were sold to this game.

Iwamura was hoping to have a good game in his return to Tohoku after a disastrous couple of seasons there. However, he struck out swinging twice, flew out to center, and grounded out in his final at-bat.

Not counting the rain delay, this game was officially over in three hours and nine minutes.

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