Rick van den Hurk made his debut with the Yakult Swallows today. The circumstances were far from ideal as the rain came down pouring. If it was because of the rain is not sure but of all teams, Rick did not bring his A game against the DeNA Baystars, the team with the worst record in the NPB.
In the first inning, Rick retired the side but in the second frame, he was hit quite well. A leadoff double and two singles lead to a 1-0 lead for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars.
In the bottom of that same inning, Rick had his first at-bat for the Swallows and managed to get a single.
In the third inning, his curve balls were not effective as they were hit very well and led to another run for the Baystars. His fastball eventually got him out of the inning.
In the fourth, Rick gave up a leadoff home run to Toshiro Miyazaki. Eventually, in the bottom of that inning, the Swallows got on the board. With runners in scoring position, Hiyu Motoyama hit a 3-1 groundout that drove in the first run for the Swallows. A double to left field by Yu Matsumoto brought the Swallows within a run from the Baystars. Matsumoto replaced Van den Hurk at bat, so it was clear, Rick would not return for a fifth inning. Rick was replaced on the mound by Yugo Umeno.
Even though they played solid defense, the Swallows had several opportunities to bail Rick out. In the fourth, the fifth and the sixth, they had runners in scoring position and even the bases loaded in the fourth, but every time the team failed to push through.
Eventually, in the eighth inning, the Swallows tied the game after some perfectly executed small ball. Domingo Santana drew a walk and was replaced by a pinch runner that was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Hiyu Motoyama. A hit to center field by Yasutaka Shiomi drove in the game-tying run.
In the top of the ninth, with two outs, Maeda Yamato hit a double to deep center field that drove in two runs. As the Swallows did not score in the bottom of the ninth, the loss went to Taichi Ishiyama, who gave up the two-run double in the ninth. Yasuaki Yamasaki bot the win. he was the sixth pitcher, manager Miura used in this game. Kasuki Mishima earned the save.
Toshiro Miyasaki was the best hitter for the Baystars. He went 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.