Apr 1st 2014, @ Hiroshima

April 1st, 2014

Tokyo Swallows 4Hiroshima Carp logo clean

Hiroshima Carp 7 

Streak: Lost 2    Last 5: WLL

(Mazda Zooooom Zoooooom Stadium)

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W: Nomura (1-0 ; 3.00 ERA)
L: Akiyoshi (0-1 ; 5.40)
S: Mickolio (2S ; 0.00)

Rookie pitcher Ryu Akiyoshi fell behind early in his pro-debut, and the Swallows could neither stop the bleeding as the game progressed, nor come up with enough timely hitting of their own to recover as they fell in their first away-day of the young season.

140401 Akiyoshi

Akiyoshi

TokyoOrderHiroshima
Yamada (2B)1Maru (CF)
Yuhei (CF)2Kikuchi (2B)
Balentien (RF)3Matsuyama (RF)
Miledge (LF)4Ka'aihue (1B)
Kawabata (3B)5Soyogi (SS)
Hatakeyama (1B)6Eldred (LF)
Aikawa (C)7Tanaka (3B)
Nishiura (SS)8Shirahama (C)
Akiyoshi (P)9Nomura (P)

Akiyoshi got off to an inauspicious start in the top of the 1st, as he gave up solo home runs to the first and third men he faced. 2-0 Hiroshima. To be fair to 25 year old, the second of the two dingers was a pretty lucky swing at low and out of the zone slider from Matsuyama.

Tokyo drew level in the top of the 2nd. Carp starter Nomura walked Kawabata before giving up a single to Hatake to put two on. The in-form Aikawa then hit a two-run double to the rightfield wall for 2-2. But that would be as close as the Swallows would ultimately get.

After Akiyoshi steadied the ship allowing just a hit per inning in both the 2nd and 3rd frames, he would allow a run apiece in each of the 4th and 5th innings. The former of those two runs was unearned as it came after a fumble in left and subsequent panicked poor throw home from Milledge which allowed the go-ahead runner to score all the way from first following what should have been a mere runner advancing single, 3-2 Hiroshima.. The latter came off a solitary hit, with a Maru triple being followed by a sacrifice fly, 4-2.

That was all for the rookie, as the Swallows turned to their bullpen in the 6th. And that ‘pen faired little better. Oshimoto was the first to try his hand, and after getting a quick out, a single and a walk put men on first and second. In came Kyuko, who got the first man he faced to fly out harmlessly for out number two. Alas he followed that by hitting Dobayashi to load the bases, and then allowed an awkward infield single which made it 5-2 and left the bases still juiced. Third up to try their luck from the bullpen was Yamamoto, who allowed a two-run single to left for 7-2.

The Swallows got themselves a consolation prize in the 9th, as Balentien hit his first long ball of the year, bringing home both himself and Yuhei from first, but it was a case of too little too late. 7-4 Hiroshima Final.

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Game Notage

  • Akiyoshi’s final line: 5 IP / 81 P / 7 H / 5 K / 0 BB / 4 R / 3 ER.  While the history books will record his debut as a loss, he showed enough overall to warrant some optimism for his future starts.
  • Yagi was the only member of the pitching staff to cover himself in glory, pitching two innings of one-hit no-run baseball to close out the game for Tokyo.
  • The Swallows out hit their opposition 14-11, but couldn’t pull the trigger to punish the Carp pitching, though some quality Hiroshima fielding also hindered their scoring. In the 5th, an Akiyoshi single, error, and walk loaded the bases with one out for Milledge, but he hit into an inning-ending double play at second. In the 6th three singles loaded the bases with one out once more only for the pinch-hitting Iwamura to strike out swinging, and then Yamada to ground out harmlessly to end the inning. In the 7th, two hits and a walk loaded the bases with one out yet again, this time for Hatake. But an excellent diving catch of a line drive at second from Kikuchi set up a simple throw to second for the out of a retreating Coco to end the inning.
  • Standouts for the Swallows with the bat were Balentien, who went 3 for 4 with a walk and that 9th inning HR, while Hatake (3), Yuhei (2), and Aikawa (2) all had multi-hit evenings.
  • The two teams will face off again tomorrow evening, and all you need to know about the state of the Tokyo starting pitching is encapsulated in the fact Furuno will be the 4th Swallow to make a start on the mound in 2014.
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