Jul 29th 2014, @ Hanshin

July 29th, 2014

Tokyo Swallows 4

Hanshin Tigers 0

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: LLLLW

(Koshien Stadium)

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W: Yagi (5-4; 3.86 ERA)
L: Iwata (8-4; 1.97 ERA)

After getting roundly humiliated at home this past weekend, the Swallows looked to re-establish a modicum of pride as they visited Koshien to play Hanshin. And thankfully they managed to do just that, as Yagi pitched a superb eight shut-out innings while the offence, clearly buoyed by the return of the podgigal son Hatake, knocked in enough runs to make it an ultimately comfortable victory. A rare victory that should be savoured, so come savour it with me.

TokyoOrderHanshin
Yamada (2B)1Uemoto (2B)
Yachi (SS)2Shunsuke (CF)
Ihara (CF)3Toritani (SS)
Balentien (LF)4Arai the Elder (3B)
Kawabata (3B)5Murton (LF)
Hatakeyama (1B)6Arai the Younger (1B)
Yuhei (RF)7Fukudome (RF)
Aikawa (C)8Tsuruoka (C)
Yagi (P)9Iwata (P)

The Swallows made their first move early, getting to Iwata in the 2nd. After Balentien was walked on four straight, then moved to second on a wild pitch, Kawabata hit a dribbler to third that was good enough for an infield hit to put men on the corners with no outs. Up stepped the holy returning one, and his chubbiness hit a fly ball to centre that landed just in front of Shunsuke, and the Swallows had themselves a lead. 1-0 Tokyo. The inning’s second run was brought home one out later via an Aikawa sacfly for 2-0.

Yagi - good lad

Yagi – good lad

Yagi then proceeded to get into his groove, scattering just three hits over the first eight frames. His only real jam came in the 5th, when a Murton single and Arai the Younger walk put two on with no outs on the board. But Yagi, helped firstly by some Hanshin ineptness (Fukudome shallow fly out) and then by some excellent defence from Kawabata (diving super human reflex grab of a ball along the third base line) and Yamada (superb hurried gather and throw of a grounder to first) kept the shut-out rolling.

The Swallows then doubled their lead in the top of the 9th, as the latest in the line of Hanshin’s washed-up Japanese ex-MLBers, Yoshinori Tateyama, made his debut. He proceeded to endear himself to the mostly muling cabbages that inhabit Koshien by giving up back-to-back singles to Kawabata and Hatake, before Yuhei hit one to the wall just right of the scoreboard and just-like-that it was 4-0.

Yagi took the mound in the bottom of the 9th, looking for his second career complete game shut-out. What followed was a touch bizarre but hey, this is the 2014 Swallows we’re talking about here so it’s par for the course by now. After giving up his fourth hit of the game to lead off the inning (a single to Shunsuke), Yagi left the mound seemingly having trouble with a finger on his left/throwing hand. Pitching coach Takatsu then put in a call to the bullpen, and Tony Barnette could be seen getting busy warming up. Ogawa left the dugout to inform the ump of the pitching change, and then sat down, only for a seemingly ready to pitch Yagi to trot back toward the mound, before being hastily ushered back to the bench. CGS denied.

From his seat on the bench he witnessed Tony getting the three outs needed with three strikeouts (with a single thrown in for good measure) and we had ourselves a rare feeling of joy associated with a baseball game, 4-0 Tokyo Final.

The return of the king

The return of the king

Game Notage

  • Yagi’s final line: 8.0 IP / 111 P / 4 H / 7 K / 1 BB / 0 ER. Good boy Yagi, good boy.
  • Hatakeyama went 2 for 4 with an RBI and K in his return to the team. He must clearly be the difference maker, being that his return coincided with the end of a horrific five game losing streak. So expect a 50+ win streak to end the season starting today. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST.
  • The 5-7 slots in the lineup accounted for 6 of the Swallows’ 7 hits. That’s two hits each for all you maths fans out there.
  • Coco meanwhile went 0 for 2 with two walks, scoring the opening run in the 1st.
  • Win two of that season ending win streak will come tomorrow evening as the king of unluck (not a word?) Ishiyama will look to notch up his long overdue first win as a starter.
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