June 30th, 2017 @ Hanshin

June 30th, 2017

TS Logo 150x transparentTokyo Swallows 4 Clean Hanshin Tigers Logo

Hanshin Tigers 3

Streak: Won 2   Last 5: LLLWW

(Koshien Stadium)

The Swallows prevailed in an ugly game. But at what cost?

 123456789RHE
Swallows000040000433
Tigers010010100370
W: Buchanan (5-4); L: Aoyagi (3-3); S: Kondo (1)
 Swallows Tigers
1Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF)1Takeshi Toritani (3B)
2Tsuyoshi Ueda (RF)2Hiroki Uemoto (2B)
3Tetsuto Yamada (2B)3Yoshio Itoi (RF)
4Wladimir Balentien (LF)4Kosuke Fukudome (LF)
5Dean Green (1B)5Masahiro Nakatani (1B)
6Keiji Obiki (SS)6Shun Takayama (CF)
7Ryota Fujii (3B)7Kento Itohara (SS)
8Akihisa Nishida (C)8Taichi Okazaki (C)
9David Buchanan (P)
9Koyo Aoyagi (P)

David Buchanon had a shaky command of the strike zone to start the game. He walked two in the first inning and opened the second with back-to-back walks to Takayama and Itohara. The Tigers elected to bunt with Okazaki and he laid out a grounder up the first base line. Dean Green confirmed everyone’s stereotypes about big lanky men by lumbering towards the ball and booting it to load the bases. Buchanon got Aoyagi to strikeout and Toritani was up. After Buchanon fell behind 2-0 he got Toritani to foul off a pitch and then ground out right to second base. Okazaki slowed down running from first to try to bait a tag which gave Takayama enough time to score before Yamada threw the ball to first for the force and Okazaki was tagged out at second. 1-0 Tigers It was the Tigers’ first run since Tuesday.

Meanwhile Aoyagi was cruising through the Swallows order through four innings in which he faced the minimum. His only miscue was a walk to Ueda in the fourth that was promptly erased when Ueda failed to steal second. But things fell of the rails in a big way in the fifth.

Balentien lead off the inning with a sharp grounder up the third base line that Toritani backhanded deep behind the base but his throw to first was off and Coco was credited with a single. Green followed with a to right that reached the fence giving Green a double and put men on second and third with no out. A 2-2 inside pitch grazed Obiki to load the bases for Fujii. Aoyagi’s next pitch plunked Fujii in the thigh and the Swallows were on the board. 1-1 All Nishida and Buchanon both went down and it was two outs bases loaded for Sakaguchi. He turned on a 2-1 pitch and smoked it straight at Nakatani who deflected it into right for a hit to scored two. 3-1 Swallows Aoyagi followed up with a pitch right at Ueda’s back to loaded the bases again. After getting strike one against Yamada, Aoyagi nibbled around the edges and ultimately walked in another run. 4-1 Swallows Coco struck out to end the threat but it was the end of the night for Aoyagi.

In the bottom of the fifth Uemoto lead off the inning with a bloop single to right, the four the lead off runner for the Tigers on the night. Uemoto advanced to second during an Itoi ground out, and came home when Fukudome hit a single to left. Balentien’s throw home was a bit high and the Uemoto made it home safe with a good slide. 4-2 Swallows Buchanon got out of the inning without any further damage, but he was replaced the next inning.

The Tigers’ bullpen of Iwasaki, Takahashi, Mateo, and Kuwahara held the Swallows hitless the rest of the way. The Swallows bullpen relay wasn’t quite as smooth. Ishiyama pitched a perfect sixth and handed off to Lueke for the seventh. Toritani and Uemoto got back-to-back singles off the rapist. Itoi hit a grounder to third that the normally sure handed Fujii let get past him and let Toritani score. 4-3 Swallows The Tigers got out of the inning without causing any further damage.

The Swallows gave the ball to Yasuhiro Ogawa (yes, that Ogawa) in the eighth. Ogawa pitched a perfect inning of relief and the Swallows gave the ball to Akiyoshi in the ninth. After two quick outs to start the inning (is it just me or do all Akiyoshi horror stories start this way?), Akiyoshi surrendered a single to Itoi and a walk to Fukudome. The Tigers brought out Haraguchi to face Akiyoshi. Akiyoshi got ahead 0-2 before he threw a ball and then uncorked a wild pitch well to the outside. The pitch left Akiyoshi hanging his throwing arm and he left the game. Kondo found himself making an emergency appearance to finish Harguchi’s at bat. Kondo threw an outside slider that Haraguchi chased for the Swallows win. 4-3 Swallows FINAL

Notes

  • Tonight marked the returns of Wladimir Balentien and Yasuhiro Ogawa to the team. A bullpen switch to Ogawa was being rumored and he would likely be named the team’s closer if Akiyoshi’s injury proves to be serious. Tonight’s relief appearance was the first in Ogawa’s pro career and he recorded his first career hold.
  • Kondo’s save was the first in his 16 year career.
  • The Swallows committed 3 errors on the night and 2 of the Tigers’ 3 runs on the night were unearned.
  • The Swallows will attempt to extend the Tigers losing streak tomorrow afternoon at Koshien. Hara will take on Nomi.

 

Akiyoshi gets on the injury train?

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.