May 21st, 2017 vs. Hanshin

May 21st, 2017

Clean Hanshin Tigers LogoHanshin Tigers 5TS Logo 150x transparent

Tokyo Swallows 4

Streak: Lost 1      Last 5: WWWWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

A wild thing that made Tigers fans’ hearts sing killed what should’ve been an easy win at home for Tokyo.

W: Kuwahara (3-0); L: Lueke (1-4)

 Tigers Swallows
1Shun Takayama (LF)1Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF)
2Uemoto (2B)2Fujii (3B)
3Yoshio Itoi (CF)3Tetsuto Yamada (2B)
4Kosuke Fukudome (RF)4Yuhei (Takai) (RF)
5Nakatani (1B)5Wladimir Balentien (LF)
6Takeshi Toritani (3B)6Imanami (1B)
7Kento Itohara (SS)7Yuhei Nakamura (C)
8Okazaki (C)8Keiji Obiki (SS)
9Ono (P)9Tomoya Hoshi (P)

It was a battle of rookie pitchers on a very summer-like today at Jingu, with 2016 second-round draft picks Hoshi and Ono in starting roles for the Swallows and Tigers, respectively.

And Hoshi quickly showed himself to be the superior pitcher of the day, giving up only two runs over his first six innings of work.

Meanwhile, Ono gave up a total of a total of five to the Swallows in his 4.3 innings on the mound. Balentien hit a two-run homer (his seventh HR of the season) in the second, followed by a solo HR by Sakaguchi in the third (his first with the Swallows, apparently). An RBI from Yamada in the fifth brought things to a nice 4-2 lead, where, by all rights, they ought have remained.

Enter a very lucky seventh for Hanshin. With one out, Hoshi walks Campbell, putting a man on first. Ito then hits a double, putting the tying run on second and causing the Tokyo pitching staff to pull the rookie Hoshi for non-rookie Lueke.

But this was not Lueke’s day.  He promptly gave up two RBIs, tying the game 4-4, and while attempting to intentionally walk Fukudome, threw way over Nakamura, allowing Hanshin to score.

Despite a bases-loaded walk-off opportunity in the ninth, the Swallows couldn’t pull together a win, ending their four-game winning streak with a 4-5 loss.

Game notes:

  • Nikkan Sports reports Lueke refused to answer any questions at a post-game press conference, yelling (and I quote) “NO~” while storming out of the stadium.
  • Meanwhile, the pitching staff is reportedly modifying its policy of whether the catcher should stand or squat during intentional walks to “whatever is easier for the player,” leading to me wonder why that wasn’t the policy to begin with.
  • Two more series (Hiroshima at Madza and Chunichi at Nagoya Dome) before dreaded interleague begins.