April 21st, 2009
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 0
Yomiuri Giants 4
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WWWWL
(Nagasaki Big N Stadium)
On paper this was never going to be an easy game in which to put a four game winning streak on the line. The pitching matchup was ominous, Swallows old-boy Seth Greisinger against veteran Masao Kida, the very same matchup that had seen a 6-2 loss for Tokyo in last Wednesday’s game at Jingu.
In fact, since heading for the free hookers and coke at Yomiuri, Seth has been pretty much lights out against his former employers. In his last six starts against Tokyo prior to this evening he boasted a record of 6 and 0 with a stingy 1.35 ERA. So it was never going to be easy to get that fifth win that would have put the two teams in a tie for first place in the Central League.
Unlike last week’s game, where Seth was fairly fortunate to give up just two runs off ten hits allowed, tonight he was absolutely dominant. The American threw a 122 pitch complete game shutout of Yakult, giving up just three hits along the way, walking just one (in the 9th inning) and striking out eleven. He threw a perfect game through 3 and 2/3 innings until Aoki broke it up with a two out single. Miyamoto and Aikawa got the other two hits, both singles in the 8th.
Kida on the other hand, was much easier to solve. Six hits and four runs in the first two innings did all the damage the Giants needed, as Kida pitched five innings to drop his record for the year to 1-2 with a 6.570 ERA. Masao gave up nine hits in total (five of which were doubles), striking out three and walking two. Given the ease at which he was hit tonight, one has to wonder how long Takada will persist with him as a starter.
Interestingly, the Giants’ win was their first shutout victory of the season.
The bullpen (as is often the case) was the only bright spark for Tokyo, as Matsuoka, Hagiwara and Oshimoto pitched comfortable scoreless innings in relief of Kida.
Guiel, brought back into the lineup at fifth to face the righty Giants starter, was hitless in three at bats with two strikeouts.
The two teams move to Saga Prefectural Stadium tomorrow evening for the second of the three game series, before moving on again to Fukuoka’s Yahoo Dome on Thursday.
Tomorrow night’s starters are pencilled in to be Tateyama for Tokyo and Utsumi for Yomiuri, the same two that started last Thursday’s game.