Tokyo Swallows 8
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WLW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
The birds came back from a mediocre game on Saturday to win the first series of the 2017 season, and in grand sayonara fashion courtesy one Atsushi Ugumori.
|W: Akiyoshi (1-0)
L: Tanaka (0-1)
|1||Masayuki Kuwahara (CF)||1||Keiji Obiki (SS)|
|2||Takayuki Kajitani (RF)||2||Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF)|
|3||Jose Lopez (1B)||3||Tetsuto Yamada (2B)|
|4||Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (LF)||4||Wladimir Balentien (LF)|
|5||Audy Ciriaco (3B)||5||Yuhei (Takai) (RF)|
|6||Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)||6||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|7||Toshihiko Kuramoto (SS)||7||Yuhei Nakamura (C)|
|8||Yasutaka Togashira (C)||8||Naomichi Nishiura (3B)|
|9||Haruhiro Hamaguchi (P)||9||Curtis "Ross" Ohlendorf (P)|
New team addition Ross Ohlendorf (whose actual first name is Curtis, apparently) made his first start as a Swallow and promptly gave up a couple hits, including an RBI triple by Lopez. 0-1.
But the home team, facing Yokohama rookie Hamaguchi, hit back in the bottom of the first. Obiki, who already has more hits in three games than his entire first month as a Swallow back in 2015, led off with a single. Sakaguchi followed and made it to first thanks to a fumbled ball by Kuramoto. Balentien drove in a run with a single, tying the game 1-1, and Yuhei did the same to bring the score to 2-1.
After an uneventful second inning, the ‘stars scored a couple runs off a troubling number of BBs from Ohlendorf, (2-3) but in the bottom of the inning, after Obiki got on base via his own BB, Yamada did that thing he has been known to do, sending a baseball into that screen in center field to show it who’s boss. 4-3.
The top of the fifth saw Yokohama tie it up again, however, with that pesky Lopez driving in another RBI. 4-4.
And 4-4 it remained. And remained.
Lueke and his giant beard took over for Ohlendorf in the seventh, eventually getting out unscathed despite loading the bases, and Ishiyama came in in the eighth and made it a quick three-up, three-down affair. Seeing extra innings brewing on the horizon, Manaka elected to keep Ishiyama in for another inning in the ninth. This one proved a bit more hair-raising, as the bases found themselves once again loaded, but Ishiyama was able to get the final out with a K. The birds did their own base-loading thing in the ninth, but couldn’t seal the deal, leading to extra innings.
Or one extra inning, to be exact. Akiyoshi showed off a bit of his usual badassery with a three-up three-down top of the 10th, setting the Swallows up for a potential sayonara win.
Hatakeyama made it to first with a single and was quickly replaced by the more nimble Araki, who Nakamura advanced to second by getting hit with the ball. Nishiura loaded the bases with a walk, bringing up former Nippon Ham Fighter Ugumori, who swatted the very first ball he saw into the left stands for that most joyous of baseball finishes, the walk-off grand slam. 8-4 final.
- Ohlendorf gave up 4 runs over 6 innings and is sitting on a 3.00 ERA. But getting used to a new team takes some time, y’know?
- Yamada hit his first home run of the year, (hopefully) the first of many more to come.
- The BayStars’ Lopez has a .538 average and 5 RBIs after this series. A dangerous fellow indeed.
- The Swallows travel to Osaka Tuesday to face the Tigers in their first away series of the season.
If you were peering closely at the top of this post, you might’ve recognized a new name. That’s me, Matt Schley. I’ve been living in Tokyo for about 5 years and been a Swallows fan just about as long, largely thanks to the fine folks at this very site. I’ll be pitching in with game reports this season. Definitely shoot me a tweet if you want to talk ball and come say hi if you’re at Jingu!