Sep 13th 2013, vs Hanshin

September 13th, 2013

Hanshin Tigers 3

Tokyo Swallows 2

Streak: Lost 4 Last 5: WLLLL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

After three consecutive blow outs the Swallows teased their fans with a winnable loss. As someone who personally witnessed the demise of his favorite team, I didn’t expect to to feel such sadness and helplessness in conjunction with baseball in Japan. Alas the 2013 Swallows have not failed to deliver on disappointment. Even the rays of positivity associated with this season (i.e. Coco Balentien’s home run chase, and Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa’s rookie season) failed to deliver tonight.

W: Standridge (8-9)
L: Yagi (5-10)
S: Fukuhara (12)

 Tigers Swallows
1Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2B)1Tetsuto Yamada (2B)
2Shunsuke (Fujikawa) (CF)2Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)
3Takahiro Arai (1B)3Shingo Kawabata (3B)
4Takeshi Toritani (SS)4Wladimir Balentien (LF)
5Matt Murton (LF)5Yuichi (Matsumoto) (1B)
6Kosuke Fukudome (RF)6Shinichi Takeuchi (RF)
7Ryota Arai (3B)7Ryoji Aikawa (C)
8Takashi Shimizu (C)8Ryosuke Morioka (SS)
9Jason Standridge (P)9Ryosuke Yagi (P)

The Tigers took a lead on a Murton solo homer in the second inning. 1-0 Tigers But Yagi was able to keep the Tigers from running away with the score like the Carp in the previous three games. 1-0 Tigers

Yuichi managed to continue his good streak of hitting by tying the game with a solo shot of his own to start the fourth inning. 1-1 All

The Swallows couldn’t get any more done in the inning. After Yagi opened the next inning with a triple, Nishioka got a triple to put pressure on the Swallows. Yagi got one out, but buckled and gave up a walk and a hit that scored Nishioka. 2-1 Tigers

Yuichi and Takeuchi struck back an inning later with back-to-back two out hits to tie the game. Shirotishi probably shouldn’t have waved Yuichi home, but the call proved to be the right one. But ultimately the Swallows again failed to take a lead and settled with a tie. 2-2 All

Yagi’s night ended after he surrendered a single to Standridge and a double to Nishioka to start the seventh inning. Yamamoto came in to relieve Yagi and got three straight outs. Unfortunately the second out was a sac fly to center to give the Tigers the lead. 3-2 Tigers

The Swallows got their best chance of the night in the bottom of the inning. Morioka and Miwa opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Yamada was called upon to bunt and pushed the ball to far and fast up the third base line to give the Tigers a free out without any runners advancing. Ueda loaded the bases with a single of his own, and it looked like the Swallows were finally primed for a dramatic comeback with Kawabata at the plate and Balentien on deck. The tension in the stadium grew even more as Kawabata opened the at bat by taking three straight balls. As the faithful began imagining a game-tying walk and record-breaking grand slam, reality called and had Kawabata ground into a double play to end the inning and the chance.

Balentien had his last at bat in the eighth and accidentally hit the ball as he tried to check his swing. Capping his night at 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Many left the game after Balentien’s last at bat despite being down by just one run. Those that stayed were treated to an agonizingly slow ninth inning by Ishiyama (but he managed to keep the Tigers off the board) and an agonizingly bad bottom of the ninth by the Swallows (think more failed bunts and a failed steal.)

The Swallows play the Tigers again tomorrow, with the rookie Fujinami pitching against Kiya.

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.