May 4th 2013, @ Hanshin

May 4th, 2013

Tokyo Swallows 6

Hanshin Tigers 7

Streak: Lost 4  Last 5: WLLLL

(Koshien)

Another first inning meltdown contributed to a a Swallows loss. Ogawa was tagged with the first loss of his young pro career. The Swallows tried to crawl back and made the game interesting, but ultimately they came away with another loss to the Tigers.

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W: Iwata (1-3) L: Ogawa (3-1)
S: Kubo (5)

 Swallows Tigers
1Wataru Hiyane (CF)1Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2B)
2Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)2Yamato (Maeda) (CF)
3Lastings Milledge (LF)3Takeshi Toritani (SS)
4Wladimir Balentien (RF)4Matt Murton (LF)
5Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)5Ryota Arai (3B)
6Shinya Miyamoto (3B)6Takahiro Arai (1B)
7Ryosuke Morioka (SS)7Hayata Ito (RF)
8Masahiko Tanaka (C)8Takeshi Hidaka (C)
9Yasuhiro Ogawa (P)9Minoru Iwata (P)

The Tigers got 6 runs in the first inning off of strong hitting and some questionable defense by the Swallows. The Tigers got their first 3 runs off of a Murton homer. 3-0 Tigers A failed 3-6-3 double play throw by Hatake extended the Tigers’ lead and the inning. 4-0 Tigers Hidaka hit a ball into right that Balentien awkwardly fielded to allow men to score from the corners. 6-0 Tigers Ogawa got the lst two outs, and managed to last 4 full innings, but the damage had been done.

Iwata, arguably the Tigers’ weakest starter, was strong starting the game but started to show his form in the fifth inning. The Swallows loaded the bases on three singles by Morioka, Nitta (pinch hitting for Ogawa), and Hiyane. However, the Swallows only managed to get one run off of sac fly by Hiroyasu. 6-1 Tigers

Coco did his thing in the sixth by launching a solo shot into right center to get another run back for the Swallows. 6-2 Tigers

The Tigers got the run back with a Nishioka-Yamato triple-double combo to start the bottom of the inning. 7-2 Tigers

The Swallows chipped into the lead further in the seventh. A Tanaka single and Hiyane double sandwiched a Takeuchi fly out to put men on second and third for Hiroyasu. Hiroyasu came through with a single to clear the bases, and Hiroyasu got to second on the throw. 7-4 Tigers Unfortunately Milledge, Balentien, and Hatake, the heart of the Swallows’ order, couldn’t get anymore runs.

The Swallows got men on the corners with 2 out in the eighth but couldn’t capitalize and it came down to the ninth inning. With a save on the line the Tigers brought out their closer, Kubo. Kubo made got two fairly easy outs from Hiroyasu and MIlledge before giving up a double to Balentien. The Swallows sent in Iwamura to bat for Roman who had come in on a double switch. Iwamura battled Kubo to a full count after falling behind 0-2. The veteran finally golfed a low fastball into the right field stands to bring the Swallows within 1 run. 7-6 Swallows Unfortunately, Miyamoto grounded out to end the game two pitches later.

The Swallows have extended their losing streak to 4 games and will look to salvage a bad road trip with another afternoon game at Koshien tomorrow. The announced pitchers features the rubber match between Yagi and highly touted rookie Fujinami. The two young pitchers are both 1-1 in the “head-to-head” matchup.

Ogawa had his worst start as a pro.

Ogawa had his worst start as a pro.

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.