July 7th, 2009
Chunichi Dragons 12
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1
Streak: Lost 2 Last 5: LLWLL
Well that wasn’t pretty. Kyohei Muranaka made his first start of 2009 but he had a tough time on his return, add that to the impotent Tokyo bats and throw in a little hapless relief pitching and Yakult had the recipe for a real bloody nose at the hands of the red-hot Dragons.
Muranaka made 22 starts in 2008, with a 6 and 12/4.52 record for the year. Shoulder troubles kept him from making his debut until tonight, but now he probably wishes he’s waited a little longer to make his return. Muranaka gave up five runs off six hits in his five innings of work .
Chunichi took the lead in the 1st inning, Tony Blanco with the timely single to make it 1-0 Chunichi. Kyohei then settled down, not giving up a hit during the 2nd and 3rd innings. But it was in the 4th that the game got away from him and Tokyo, two two-run homers for Chunichi from Koike and Tanishige making it 5-0.
And so it was to the bullpen.
Hagiwara (3.38) gave up a run off two hits in the 6th to make it 6-0 before the wheels truly fell off in the 8th. Having already given up the eighth Chunichi run in the 7th, Ichiba (6.66) gave up four more in the 8th off five hits to make it 11-0 Chunichi.
During the first 7 innings, the Tokyo bats had been held to just three hits by Chunichi starter Nakata. A pitcher who up until today had been very hittable, coming into the game with and ERA of 9.64. Not today though as he truly dominated with eleven Ks for the evening. Not that the Yakult bats put up much of a fight.
Tokyo got their only run in the 8th, fittingly without getting a hit, as a couple of walks and a Tanaka sacfly made it 11-1.
Oshimoto allowed the final Dragons run in the 9th, pinch-hitter Fukuda with his first pro-dinger (in his first pro at-bat no less) and the rout was complete. 12-1 Chunichi Final.
The victory puts Chunichi level with the Swallows in second place, and given the polar-opposite conditions of the teams at the moment, Tokyo won’t be seeing that position again for a while.
The two teams meet again tomorrow evening for game two of the series.