April 18th, 2009
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 0
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1
Streak: Won 3 Last 5: LLWWW
Tokyo managed to stretch its lead in the current series to 2-0 and solidify its position in second place in the Central League (for whatever that’s worth this early in the season) with a slim yet undramatic victory in tonight’s grudge match with the Hiroshima Carp (in their flashy new red jerseys.)
It was a battle of the young’uns as just-hit-drinking-age Yoshinori started for the Swallows against the Carp’s Kenta Maeda – 11 months and one year in NPB older than Tokyo’s youthful hurler. Yoshinori notched his second win of the season before leaving the game due to a minor injury (apparently blisters on his throwing hand too big to ignore) at the beginning of the sixth inning having given up two hits and no runs with two walks and five Ks, which brings his ERA down to 4.696 – a bit closer to what a starter should have. Maeda suffered his first loss of the season, bringing both pitchers to 2-1 records in 3 appearances.
It almost goes without saying that the ever-valuable Lim Chang-Yong got his fourth save of 2009 for the Swallows, when he took over from Igarashi, who’d taken over from Oshimoto, who came in after Matsuoka, who gave up but one hit in his relief of the blistered Yoshinori.
The sole run of the game came in the bottom of the second inning when Shinya Miyamoto drove a solo home run to center field, a low fly that just cleared the fence in its shallow arc, making the game 1-0 Tokyo, where it would remain.
Fukuchi, Aoki, Guiel, and Aikawa also got hits for the Birds, but nothing came of them.
Shima, Soyogi, and Kida got hits for Hiroshima.
Tonight’s highlight actually came after the game, when a pair of Carp fans, in a show of unity with their hosts, paraded around the perimeter of the stadium dragging two of those stupid “Giabbits” on ropes and encouraging one and all to kick stomp and otherwise give the country’s most idiotic mascot (appropriate symbol of its team though it may be) its just deserts.