Mar 31st 2015, vs Hanshin

March 31st, 2015

Hanshin Tigers 3

Tokyo Swallows 4

Streak: Won 1 Last 4: WLLW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

W: Naruse (1-0)
L: Nohmi (0-1)
S: Barnette (1S)

New boy Naruse overcame a rocky first inning as a Swallow, and with help from his new team’s dependable bats, notched up his first win in a Tokyo uniform.



Toritani (SS)1Yamada (2B)
Uemoto (2B)2Kawabata (3B)
Nishioka (3B)3Tanaka (RF)
Gomez (1B)4Yuhei (CF)
Murton (LF)5Hatakeyama (1B)
Fukudome (RF)6Ihara (LF)
Umeno (C)7Nakamura (C)
Yamato (CF)8Ohbiki (SS)
Nohmi (P)9Naruse (P)

Tonight’s lineup featured the oddity of Hiruyasu Tanaka batting third and playing in right field, due to Lastings Milledge being a late late scratch due to some kind of shoulder ailment.

To many people, the idea of Yoshihisa Naruse, a pitcher with sometime issues with keeping the ball in the ballpark, playing 50% of his games in the cosy confines of Jingu stadium filled them with a deep sense of unease. And in the top of the first of this one, those worries looked to have merit, as back-to-back singles (not to mention two steals) were followed up by a home run from Naruse’s old team mate Nishioka to put him in a 3-0 Hanshin sized hole.

The lead was cut in the bottom of the 2nd, with Yuhei registering Tokyo’s first hit of the game courtesy of a hefty homer to dead centre for 3-1. This was the Swallows first home run of 2015.

Naruse meanwhile, managed to keep Hanshin off the scoreboard over the remainder of his five inning shift, despite not looking overly convincing, getting behind in counts, and allowing plenty of runners on base.

He was effectively bailed out in the bottom of the 5th, as the bats got to Hanshin starter Nohmi. A one-out double from Yamada, followed by a well worked walk for Tanaka one out later brought up danger man Yuhei. He got a touch lucky, as he sliced one that spun up and over the Hanshin infield to left, which scored Yamada to make it 3-2, leaving to men in scoring positions for Hatakeyama. And the oh-so chunky monkey delivered, hitting one to the wall in centre, scoring to give the Swallows their first lead of the evening. 4-3 Tokyo.

After that, the bullpen took over to try to bring this one home. First up was Tokuyama, who pitched a scoreless 6th, despite giving up a two-out double to Yamato. He was pulled after allowing a single and walk with one out in the 7th, with Akiyoshi replacing him and getting Gomez to hit into an inning ending double play.

Then in the 8th, Akiyoshi soldiered through, putting two men on via a walk and dead ball, but keeping the lead intact as he put up another goose egg.

And so to the 9th, as Tony Barnette took the mound to face the always hard to get out Toritani. And after a seven pitch battle with the pesky short stop, Tony appeared to come out on top, as Toritani hit a grounder to short. Except that Ohbiki over cooked his throw to first, with the ball flying over the jumping Hatakeyama by some margin, with Toritani now occupying first on the error. Uemoto then bunted the runner along for out number one, before Nishioka grounded out to short (with Ohbiki making no mistake this time) which brought Gomez to the plate.

After getting ahead early in the count, Tony then didn’t get a couple of close calls go his way, with Gomez surviving long enough to club a huge one into the sea of gurning mules in the stands in left, luckily just to the left of the foul pole, much to the relief of all the right minded inhabitants of Jingu. Gomez would eventually get a free pass to first, with brought up Jesus’ favourite ginger, Matt Murton. And he hit a bounder to second, which was fielded without any trouble to wrap things up for a 4-3 Tokyo Final.

Yuhei, Naruse, and Hatake celebrate

Yuhei, Naruse, and Hatake celebrate

Game Notage

  • Naruse’s final line: 5 IP / 100 P / 6 H / 1 K / 3 BB / 1 ER. Can do better, but deserves credit for not letting the game slip out of reach after his rocky start. Also he is one slow-ass pitcher. Sooooooo, sooooo sloooooooow…….
  • This win brings Hanshin’s perfect (well, they did play Chunichi) start to 2015 to an end, with the four teams following the Tigers in the CL table now all sitting with 2-2 records.
  • Ohbiki is still hitless in 2015……..while in contrast Yuhei is continuing where he left off last year, going 3 for 4 with two doubles, the solo homer and two RBIs. I love you Yuhei.
  • 26,280 people were in Jingu for this one, and it appeared there were more Swallows fans in the stadium than their unwashed opponent’s fans. Opening day will do that for you I guess.
  • Tomorrow will see Ishiyama get the start for Tokyo, and he’ll be facing Iwamoto on the mound.
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

  • dr. no

    Fun first game of the year. I was worried with the first three batters but the staff kept them off the boards for the rest of the game.