Aug 15th 2015, vs Hanshin

August 15th, 2015

Hanshin Tigers 1

Tokyo Swallows 9

Streak: Win 1 Last 5: WWLLW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Coming into the game, Dave and I were split over our feeling going into this game. Dave was not confident in Tateyama’s ability to keep the Tiger’s offense in check, while I didn’t disagree I felt the Swallows’ offense would rise to the occasion to get Tateyama the win. We both agreed, however, that the team to score first would probably come away with the W. Turns out Dave and I are very prescient people and both our assessments bore out and the Swallows managed to get the W.

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W: Tateyama (3-1)
L: Iwata (6-6)

 Tigers Swallows
1Takeshi Toritani (SS)1Wataru Hiyane (CF)
2Yamato (Maeda) (2B)2Shingo Kawabata (3B)
3Kosuke Fukudome (RF)3Tetsuto Yamada (2B)
4Mauro Gomez (1B)4Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)
5Matt Murton (LF)5Yuhei (Takai) (RF)
6Ryota Imanari (3B)6Keiji Obiki (SS)
7Taiga Egoshi (CF)7Takahiro Araki (LF)
8Kazunari Tsuruoka (C)8Yuhei Nakamura (C)
9MInoru Iwata (P)9Shohei Tateyama (P)

The first three innings of this affair was as lopsided a 0-0 scoreline could get. Tateyama allowed multiple runners in each of his three innings (4 BB, 3 H) while Iwata got through the Swallows order perfectly.

Tateyama’s fourth inning was downright masterful compared to his earlier innings as he allowed just a lead off single to Tsuruoka, although Toritani came within a few feet of blowing the game open with a homer to left.

The Swallows bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth as Hiyane and Kawabata opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Hiyane proceeded to score the all important first run thanks to an Iwata wild pitch. 1-0 Swallows Yamada singled to put men on the corners with no out, an opportunity Hatakeyama din’t really seize as he grounded into a run-scoring double play. 2-0 Swallows

Tateyama went into the fifth inning with the lead and just needed to get three more outs to get a chance to become the winning pitcher. Tateyama didn’t make it easy for himself. After getting Fukudome to fly out, Tateyama gave up a walk to Gomez and back-to-back singles to Murton and Imanari to load the bases. Tateyama got Egoshi to ground out which was enough to score a run but the Tigers couldn’t do any more with the opportunity. 2-1 Swallows

The Swallows got some important insurance runs to help out their bullpen. Obiki singled up the middle to start off the inning and Araki bunted him over to second. Nakamura got a single to put men on the corners for Hiroyasu, who came in for Tateyama. Hiroyasu grounded out to the shortstop but managed to avoid the double play by doing his best high school baseball impression by sliding head first into first. (NOT) The fielder’s choice allowed Obiki to score from third. 3-1 Swallows Hiyane kept the inning alive with a single that allowed Hiroyasu to advance to third. Hiroyasu scored on Iwata’s second wild pitch of the night. 4-1 Swallows

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Attentive readers may notice that none of the runs described so far have come off a clean hit.

Matsuoka came in to pitch the sixth and did his best Tateyama impression getting two outs while allowing two runners to get on. The Swallows elected to bring out Akiyoshi to face Gomez for the final out and the righty delivered by getting the Dominican slugger to swing at three straight pitches.

Akiyoshi proceeded to pitch the only perfect inning for the Swallows in the seventh, and Ondrusek pitched a strong eighth inning. While it was looking like the Swallows were on their way to a win, the aesthetic quality of the win was lacking until the bottom of the eighth.

The first seven batters for the Swallows made it on base (5 H, 2 BB) which was good for 5 runs. 9-1 Swallows Thus the faithful got some much needed satisfaction after many long innings of unsatisfying baseball.

The win ended the Tigers six game winning streak and the Swallows will look to take the series with Ishiyama set to face Iwasaki.

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.