May 13th, 2009
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 7
Chunichi Dragons 1
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WLWLW
There were standout performances aplenty as Yakult eased to a comprehensive victory over the Dragons in Nagoya Dome.
Ishikawa started and had another fine outing, giving up just one run, and that courtesy of a 6th inning wild pitch, off six hits in seven innings of work. Masanori struck out two and walked none as he earned his fifth win of the season (5-1, 2.872ERA).
The starting lineup saw Aikawa return as catcher batting seventh and Tanaka dropped yet again, replaced by the promising Yoshiyuki Noguchi at second and in the No.8 hole.
Chunichi starter Asao struggled with his control early on and the Swallows took the lead in the top of the 2nd. Guiel led of the inning with a solo homer to right (his 6th of the year) to make it 1-0 Tokyo. Mioyamoto struck out for out number one before consecutive hits from Aikawa and Noguchi put men at first and second. Ishikawa sacbunted the runners around before Keizo Kawashima hit to right and the two runners scored to extend the lead to 3-0 Tokyo.
Two more runs came in the top of the 6th. Aikawa and Noguchi again combined for consecutive singles before Ishikawa made his third successsful sacbunt of the evening to put both runners in scoring positions. And again, up stepped Keizo, this time with a double which narrowly got past Dragons shortstop Ibata and it was 5-0 Tokyo. Ibata was injured trying to field the ball and had to be replaced by De La Rosa
Two singles and the run scoring wild pitch made it 5-1 in the bottom of the 6th before another two Tokyo runs followed in the top of the 8th.
A one-out Noguchi solo homer extended the lead to 6-1. That was Noguchi’s fourth hit of the night as he made a claim for a permanent spot in the lineup at the expense of Tanaka. Takeuchi, pinch hitting for Ishikawa, then reached second on a throwing error from reliever Saitoh. Two walks followed to load the bases with only one out on the board. Up stepped Aoki who hit a lineout to centre and it was as you were with two outs. Aoki was hitless in his five plate appearances and is now batting .233. He looked rather lost at the plate tonight and is clearly still struggling to get his offensive game going.
D’Antona, who had earlier ended his three-game hitless streak with a single in the 5th, was then replaced by Tanaka. Hiroyasu hit to centefield, Takeuchi scored from third but Kawashima was out at the plate. 7-1 Tokyo.
Igarashi worked a hitless 8th to lower his ERA to 2.919, and then Kida (4.563ERA) gave up two hits in the 9th but got out of the inning unscathed and it was 7-1 Final.
So, standout performances aplenty then:
- Keizo Kawashima 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs.
- Noguchi’s 4 hits including his homer.
- Guiel going 3 for 4 with his home run that opened the scoring in the 2nd.
- Ishikawa’s fine 7 innings of work, and his helping hand with the bunts.
- Two more shutout innings from the bullpen
- Two-hit nights for Fukuchi and Aikawa. 16 hits overall, to Chunichi’s 8.
- Hanshin’s bullpen (two thirds of the now defunct JFK) hilariously costing them the game against Hiroshima. Ah, sorry, wrong game.
- Yokohama’s sayonara win over the Giants. Ah. Shit. Wrong game again…….Apologies.
So all in all a great evening and good to see Tokyo’s ability to bounce straight back from defeats since their five game losing streak towards the end of April. They’ve now not lost two straight since April 26th.
The two teams meet for the final time this series tomorrow evening in Nagoya.