Aug 29th 2013, vs Chunichi

August 29th, 2013

Chunichi LogoChunichi Dragons 7

Tokyo Swallows 6

Streak: Lost 3 Last 5: LWLLL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

For those of you here for a Balentien update, here’s what you need to know. Coco DID NOT hit a homerun tonight, although he came close with a double off the wall to start the six inning. Coco ended up going 1-for-3 with 2 BBs (1 intentional).

For everyone else, I’ll keep this post brief as the game was long and painful.

W: Iwase (2-3); L: Oshimoto (2-4); S: Asao (1)

 Dragon Swallows
1Atsushi Fujii (CF)1Wataru Hiyane (RF)
2Hirokazu Ibata (SS)2Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)
3Masahiko Morino (2B)3Shingo Kawabata (3B)
4Kazuhiro Wada (LF)4Wladimir Balentien (LF)
5Ryosuke Hirata (RF)5Yuichi (Matsumoto) (1B)
6Matt Clark (1B)6Ryoji Aikawa (C)
7Shuhei Takahashi (3B)7Ryota Yachi (SS)
8Motonobu Tanishige (C)8Tetsuto Yamada (2B)
9Kenshin Kawakami (P)9Masanori Ishikawa (P)

Ishikawa looked decent through six innings as he held the Dragons to just two hits and two walks. Meanwhile Ishikawa got an early lead from a one run first inning, and a single run that scored on a bases-loaded loaded wild pitch in the sixth inning. 2-0 Swallows

Unfortunately things spiralled out of control for the Swallows in the seventh. Ishikawa got yanked from the game after allowing back-to-back walks to start the inning. The Swallows sent in Yamamoto (remember when he was our closer?) who managed to get one out via a Dragons sac bunt. Beyond the gift out, Yamamoto gave up a single to score a run, a walk to load the bases, and a single off the right field wall to give the Dragons the lead. 3-2 Dragons Yamamoto gave up one more walk to load the bases for good measure before he was mercifully pulled from the game. Fujita came and was afflicted with the same virus that prevented Ishikawa and Yamamoto from throwing strikes and he walked in yet another run. 4-2 Dragons Kyuko was immediately sent in to handle two lefties and managed to do his job by striking them both out. Kyuko was arguably the only Swallows pitcher to get the job done tonight.

The Swallows got one back in the bottom of the inning as Ueda hit a ball into center which Oshima attempted to catch on a dive. Unfortunately the dive failed and the ball slow rolled behind him all the way to the wall. Fujii’s replay throw back to the infield hopped in front of the fielder to give Shiroishi a chance to rescind his stop sign to Ueda and let him run home. 4-3 Dragons

The Swallows sent out Tony Barnette to pitch the eighth, and he got the first two batters out on strikeouts. But just as the Swallows faithful were getting comfortable, Fujii hit a ball down the line that just stayed fair for a solo homerun. 5-3 Dragons Out of Fujii’s 5 homeruns this season 3 have come against the Swallows.

Somehow the Swallows got back into the game as the Dragons elected to send Warner Madrigal, who hasn’t looked too good this series against the Swallows, to set up for Iwase. Madrigal walked Yuichi and Aikawa followed with a shot to left field to tie the game. 5-5 All Unfortunately the Swallows weren’t able to take the lead and handed the ball off to our erstwhile closer with a tie.

Before Ishiyama could get an out Morino got a hit just over the center field fence above Ueda’s outstretched glove to take the lead once again for the Dragons. 6-5 Dragons

Things got exciting for the Swallows in the ninth. Hiyane got on board via a error to lead off the inning. The Swallows decided to play it safe and play for the tie by getting Ueda to bunt Hiyane to second. Hiyane managed to advance on a Kawabata ground out for Balentien. Not surprisingly with two outs and first base open, the Dragons elected to intentionally walk Balentien. The crowd reached peak excitement as they booed Iwase. The excitement level stayed high as the Swallows sent in Miyamoto to pinch hit for Yuichi. Miyamoto responded immediately with a broken bat single to left to tie the game. 6-6 All Aikawa followed with a single to load the bases, but Morioka swung at the first pitch and flew out to deep right to end the ninth.

The Swallows handed the ball off to Oshimoto to protect the tenth. Oshimoto gave up a single to Oshima start the inning. Oshima stole second on a close call and advanced to third on a sac bunt. Oshima came home on a bounding grounder to short to give the Dragons the lead again. 7-6 Dragons

The Dragons sent Asao up to save the game. The Swallows managed to get a man on third with two outs with a single, bunt, ground out combo similar to the ninth inning. But the Swallows had finally run out of offensive luck and Ueda grounded out to end the game 7-6 Dragons FINAL

The Swallows will now face off against the fifth-place BayStars in a three game series. With 3.5 games between the Swallows and BayStars even a sweep will not elevate the Swallows above the BayStars.

Balentien gets intentionally walked in the ninth.

Balentien gets intentionally walked in the ninth.

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.