May 26th 2016, vs. Hanshin

May 26th, 2016

Hanshin Tigers 5TS Logo 150x transparent

Tokyo Swallows 6

Streak: Won 2 Last 5: LLLWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Tonight’s game was like a Hollywood blockbuster adaptation of a comic book. There was pre-game hype (ace vs. ace, series decider), the game featured lots of action, and there was a dramatic ending that was satisfying for most fans. But for true fans of the franchise there were plenty of points to criticize and the whole thing felt a bit hollow.

W: Ondrusek (2-1)
L: Mateo (1-2)

 Tigers Swallows
1Fumiya Hojo (2B)1Keiji Ohbiki (SS)
2Yamato (Maeda) (CF)2Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF)
3Kosuke Fukudome (RF)3Tetsuto Yamada (2B)
4Mauro Gomez (1B)4Wladimir Balentien (LF)
5Fumihito Haraguchi (C)5Shingo Kawabata (3B)
6Yutaro Itayama (LF)6Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)
7Matt Hague (3B)7Yuhei (Takai) (RF)
8Takeshi Toritani (SS)8Yuhei Nakamura (C)
9Shintaro Fujinami (P)9Yasuhiro Ogawa (P)

The renewed Swallows lineup struck first against Fujinami. Obiki got a lead off single and he found himself on third after a steal and a Sakaguchi ground out. With two outs Balentien managed to cash Obiki in with a single down the third base line that Matt Hague couldn’t handle. 1-0 Swallows

Ogawa gave the run right back by serving up a fastball high in the zone to Gomez who crushed the ball to straight center. 1-1 All

The Swallows retook the lead in the third. Sakaguchi blooped a single to center, and Balentien crushed a homer to left. 3-1 Swallows

Ogawa gave the runs right back as he gave up solo shots to Fukudome and Haraguchi in the fourth. 3-3 All

The Swallows managed to get back the lead from the Tigers’ erstwhile ace in the fifth. Fujinami allowed a lead off single to Sakaguchi, but this time it was a Kawabata homer to right that brought Sakaguchi home and got the lead back for the Swallows. 5-3 Swallows

Unfortunately, Ogawa decided to play along with Fujinami’s game of “who looks less like an ace”. Ogawa gave up a single to Gomez and then beaned Haraguchi. Both runners came home on a two out double by Hague. 5-5 All

The Swallows handed the ball off to Akiyoshi, Lueke, and Ondrusek for an inning each. They all allowed runners but ultimately got out of their innings.

The Tigers got a clean inning out of Takahashi in the eighth, and handed the ball to Mateo to bring the game to extra innings. Mateo opened the inning with a quick walk to Sakaguchi, and Yamada singled to put two men on with no out. Mateo added to the game’s tension by beaning Coco, and the benches cleared as Coco walked threateningly towards the mound. With both benches given a warning, Kawabata came up with the no out benches loaded situation. Kawabata got some good contact on Mateo’s pitches, but he ultimately lined out to a shallow playing outfield for one out. Hatake got behind to Mateo but managed to poke an 1-2 pitch up the middle against a shallow playing infield for a sayonara single. 6-5 Swallows FINAL



  • Ogawa’s three home runs allowed vaults him to the top of the home runs allowed category in the CL with 10. Naruse is second in the league with nine homers allowed. The Swallows have given up a league leading 58 home runs, the next highest team is Chunichi with 39.
  • The Swallows have not had back-to-back sayonara wins since they won back-to-back-to-back sayonara games in 2009.
  • Balentien is tied for the CL home run lead with Yamada with 15 dingers. Coco’s 3 RBIs tonight also gives him the CL RBI lead with 43.
  • Fujinami didn’t have a great game for the Tigers giving up 5 runs on 11 hits, but he did manage to get 9 Ks from the Swallows. Nakamura accounted for 3 of those strikeouts.
  • Mateo has allowed runs in his last 5 appearances for the Tigers.
  • The Swallows will head to Nagoya to face the Dragons in their last three game series before Interleague. Naruse will get the start against Valdes.
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.