May 12th, 2009
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3
Chunichi Dragons 6
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WWLWL
A pretty horrible three innings from starter Ichiba gave Tokyo a mountain to climb early on, and though they did their best to fight back they came up short on a rainy evening in Gifu.
Yakult came into the game having won the last five meetings between the teams, but the Chunichi bats made light work of Ichiba as it soon became clear the run wouldn’t be extended to six.
Ichiba gave up two runs in the 2nd inning courtesy of a two run homer from catcher Oyama. And the lead was five in the 3rd, another homer, this time a monster three run shot to left from Tony Blanco which made it 5-0 Chunichi.
That was all for Ichiba as he left the game having given up five runs off five hits, striking out three and walking two.
Lee came in to pitch a scoreless 4th before Yakult struck back against Chunichi starter Asakura in the top of the 5th.
Guiel got hit to put him on first with no outs and then Miyamoto singled to put men on first and third. Tanaka then hit into his second double play of the game but Guiel came home to make it 5-1 Chunichi. Catcher Kawamoto, starting his first game of the season due to what must be an injury to Aikawa, demonstrated the one thing he can do better than the regular catcher by hitting a solo homer to right to make it 5-2. A home run that made Tanaka’s double play seem all the more wasteful.
Oshimoto came in to pitch a scoreless bottom of the 5th and then Tokyo narrowed the lead further in the top of the 6th. Kawashima hit a grounder to short but reached base on an error at first by Blanco. Fukuchi then singled, Kawashima tried to make it to third but was thrown out, allowing Fukuchi to reach second. Aoki then singled to bring home Fukuchi and make it 5-3 Chunichi.
But that was as close as they would get. Oshimoto pitched another scoreless inning in the 6th, Matsuoka did likewise in the 7th and then Maruyama gave up a solo homer to Wada in the 8th to make it 6-3 Chunichi.
In came Iwase to close out the game in the 9th, and earn his 200th career save (Congratulations Iwase!!) and it was all over for a 6-3 Final.
Ichiba took the loss and his record now stands at 1 and 3 with an ERA of 5.311. One must now question his suitability for a starting role as apart from a few exeptions he’s looked not quite up to scratch in a Tokyo uniform thus far.
D’Antona went hitless for the third straight game on his 27th birthday, going 0 for 4 and striking out three times for good measure. He’s now hitting .235 for the year.
Miyamoto had another two hit night to take him to .300, and is now one of only two regular starters to be at or above the .300 mark (the other being Fukuchi who’s at .301).
So a loss, but mostly down to a poor start from Ichiba but even then the chances were there to get back into the game but they just couldn’t take them. Hopefully the Swallows can get back on track tomorrow evening when the two teams meet again, this time at the Nagoya Dome.