April 19th, 2009
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 2
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 8
Streak: Won 4 Last 5: LWWWW
The first two innings of this contest were a bit uneventful. Hiroshima’s Shinoda squared off against Tokyo’s Ryo Kawashima in the final game of this series which Tokyo led 2-0.
Tokyo finally got something going in the bottom of the third when Aikawa and Ryo Kawashima had successive hits to put men on first and second. Fukuchi grounded out to short, but was able to get Aikawa over to third while reaching first safely.With two out and runners on the corners, Keizo Kawashima hit a bases clearing double into the gap in left-center to make it 2-0 Tokyo.
In the fourth, Iihara hit a solo shot to make it 3-0.
Then in the fifth, Fukuchi hit a two out triple that set the table nicely for Keizo Kawashima. Keizo proceeded to drill one over the fence in left to make it 5-0 Tokyo. He has now equaled his home run tally for all of last season with long ball number four. Kawashima has developed some serious pop all of a sudden.
The other Kawashima, Ryo that is, displayed some great defense today. He made no less than three difficult plays on the mound to record crucial outs.
Amaya got one back for Hiroshima in the fifth with a solo homer that just missed the right field foul pole to make it 5-1 Tokyo.
Ishihara then followed that up with a two out solo shot to left that made it 5-2.
Tokyo was able to extend its lead in the bottom of the sixth after D’Antona started things off with a single to right. He was promptly replaced with a pinch runner, Noguchi, who promptly ended up on third via a hit-and-run made possible by Iihara. Noguchi scored on a Miyamoto single, and Iihara did the same when Takeuchi (pinch hitting for Tanaka) singled to center. 7-2 Tokyo.
Run number eight came in the seventh when an Aoki sac fly brought Fukuchi home from third. 8-2 Tokyo.
And that was the final scoreline. Tokyo took the third game of the series and completed its first (and hopefully not last) sweep of the 2009 season.
Only two starters failed to get a hit today. Norichika Aoki struck out three times in addition to the sac fly mentioned earlier. Also, Tanaka was hitless in two at-bats before being pulled in the sixth in favor of the in-form Takeuchi.
Otherwise, the hits were frequent and often strung together in run-producing combinations.
Keizo Kawashima went three for four and was a double from hitting for the cycle. That’s right, he hit another home run tonight bringing his season tally to four (four rbi’s today). That is, incidentally, the same number of home runs that he hit all of last season. Players reaching base twice were Fukuchi (triple, double), D’Antona, Iihara (including his first home run of the season; 1 rbi), and Takeuchi (1 rbi).
Ryo Kawashima (2-1) pitched six decent innings and gave up two runs off of four hits. The two runs were care of a pair of solo homers surrendered in the sixth. He had six Ks, three walks and a single wild pitch while seeing his ERA sink a little to 4.86.
Ricky Barrett (0.00) pitched a perfect seventh and was forced to throw only eight pitches. Hagiwara (1.59) followed that up with two innings of relief that didn’t involve any base runners. Game over.
Shinoda (1-1; 2.57) took the loss for the Carp.
The Swallows will put their four game winning streak on the line against the first place Yomiuri Giants in a series that features three games in three different stadiums down south. This should be a good reality check for the birds.
While twittering from the stadium I found out that there’s a limit on how many tweets you are allowed per hour. I was banned/blocked (temporarily) after the first out in the 9th.
The Swallows were able to put guys in scoring position with alarming regularity. This was one of those games where guys weren’t missing pitches and fast legs led to several extra-base hits. It basically looked kind of easy today. There were a couple of moments when I could have sworn I was watching the Saitama Lions play.
There was no bunting today, but I remember seeing at least three hit-and-runs. We kept getting away with it (despite some very close calls) until the last one where it turned into a double play when Morioka struck out swinging and Hatakeyama got thrown out at second by about eight strides.
The Swallows out-hit the Carp to the tune of 14-4.
The post-game hero interview featured Keizo and Ryo Kawashima. The announcer was very pleased to be able to say that it was a “Double Kawashima” interview.