April 16th, 2009
Yomiuri Giants 2
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LWLLW
An evening after being on the wrong end of a 6-2 scoreline, Tokyo put in a good night’s work to inflict the same result on the behemoths from across town.
Well, maybe not such a behemoth these days, as Thursday night (as indeed did Wednesday night) at Jingu saw at least as many Swallows fans in the stadium as there were of Yomiuri. Quite a change from the days when a Yomiuri visit would mean 75% of the stadium filled by the orange brainwashed tribe. All is not well in Giant’s land, and they are nowhere near the popular force they once were.
On to the game itself then, with the win coming off the back of a solid 7 inning performance from starter Tateyama. Shohei gave up just two runs, both of which were solo blasts from Ogasawara (coming in the 1st and 6th innings), five hits, striking out eight and walking none in the process.
Tateyama seems to be continuing his form from his breakout 2008 season, and with the shakey start by Ishikawa this year, Shohei’s good form is going to be all the more valuable.
After Ogasawara’s solo homer in the 1st, Yakult struck back in the 2nd to tie things up against Giants starter Utsumi. A single from Ihara (who started in right in place of Guiel) and a Tanaka double was followed by a Aikawa grounder to third which was enough to bring home Ihara for 1-1.
And Tokyo would pull ahead in the 5th from an unlikely source. After Utsumi had walked both Aikawa and Tateyama, Fukuchi sacbunted the runners into scoring positions. Up stepped the wee man Keizo Kawashima who slammed one over the leftfield wall and the Swallows found themselves with a 4-1 lead and Utsumi found himself trudging back to the bench as the Giants turned to the bullpen.
The lead was extended in the 6th. Ihara singled and was brought home by a triple from Miyamoto. Miyamoto was then brought home two men later by an Aikawa sacfly and it was 6-1 Tokyo. Cue umbrella dances and beer guzzling galore in the rightfield bleachers.
Ogasawara added his consolation shot to make it 6-2 in the bottom of the 6th before Igarashi and Lim pitched an inning apiece and that was that, 6-2 Final.
Other points of note:
D’Antona got himself two singles and is now batting .306.
Aoki continues to look off-colour/disinterested going 1 for 4 and is now at .261.
Miyamoto’s two hits took him to a very healthy .357 and he’s showing no signs of slowing down with age, at least with the bat.
Yakult now welcome Hiroshima to Jingu for three games starting Friday night.