5/10/09 – Hiroshima ("Home" at Matsuyama)

May 10th, 2009

Hiroshima Carp logoTokyo Yakult Swallows capHiroshima Toyo Carp 1

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4  

Streak: Won 1    Last 5: WWWLW

(Matsuyama Stadium)

Another solid Shohei Tateyama outing and a three run two-out sixth inning rally were enough to overcome the Carp on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Shikoku.

Tateyama pitched 6 innings of one run baseball, giving up six hits, striking out seven and walking two and the only changes to the starting lineup saw Ihara come in for Guiel in to face Hiroshima starter Takahiro Aoki.

Tokyo took the lead against the lefty in the bottom of the 3rd inning. One out singles from Kawashima Keizo and Fukuchi put men on the corners for Aoki Norichika. The centrefielder hit a linedrive to right to score Keizo and make it 1-0 Tokyo and again put runners on the corners with only one out. Next man up, the slumping D’Antona, hit into a double play and the inning was over.

The Carp tied things up in the top of the 5th. Leadoff man (for the day in the absence of Higashide) Ishii doubled and was moved around to third on a groundout. Amaya then hit a sacfly to right and the run came home to make it 1-1.

Tokyo would then miss a chance to re-take the lead in the bottom of the 5th. Two singles and a dead ball (for Aoki, his league leading 7th hit by a pitch of the year) loaded the bases with two outs for D’Antona. Unfortunately the American could only strike out and the runners were stranded.

But the lead was restored in the bottom of the 6th against Carp reliever Hayashi. Aaron Guiel, pinch hitting for the 0 for 2 Ihara, hit a sharp liner up the first base line but it was grabbed by Kurihara for the first out.  Miyamoto then flew out to right for the second out before Yakult clicked into gear with a little help from Hiroshima.

Aikawa singled to right and then Tanaka hit a grounder to second. Much in the same way that Keizo did in yesterday’s game, Carp second baseman Soyogi let the ball pass through him (for an error) which allowed Aikawa to make it to third to put runners on the corners with two outs.

Next up was pitcher Tateyama but he was replaced by Takeuchi with his chances for his third win of the season now firmly laying in the hands of the utility man. And Takeuchi didn’t disappoint as his singled to left to bring home Aikawa and it was 2-1 Tokyo with men on first and second. But they weren’t done yet.

Kawashima Keizo then hit a liner to right which bounced in front of right-fielder Shima, who made the throw home as Tanaka made the turn at third. But the throw was off and as Tanaka collided with catcher Ishihara at the plate, the ball went past homebase to the backstop, allowing Takeuchi to score and it was 4-1 Tokyo.

And so it was up to the bullpen to secure the win for Tatayama, and boy how they did, with 1,2,3 innings from Kida, Igarashi and Lim (for his 10th save of the season) wrapping things up at 4-1 Final.

Tatayama now boasts a 3 and 0 record and his ERA is now down to 1.718.

D’Antona was hitless for the second straight game and is now at .245.

Tokyo outhit Hiroshima 11 to 6 with two-hit games for Kawashima, Fukuchi, Miyamoto and Aikawa. 

Takeuchi was the game hero for his clutch two out go-ahead RBI single in the 6th, and it just highlights the difference between the 2009 Swallows and the 2008 version. So much more quality on the bench with the likes of Takeuchi, Hatakeyama and Ihara this year and that competition for places can only be a good thing.

Yakult now get a days rest before taking on the Chunichi Dragons on the road before returning to Jingu on Friday for a series with the visiting Hanshin Tigers. 



About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto