July 9th, 2009
Chunichi Dragons 2
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 8
Streak: Won 2 Last 5: WLLWW
Tokyo maintained the offense enjoyed last night, and rode a long-awaited Tateyama complete game, on its way to a 2-1 series win at home over the third place Chunichi Dragons.
1. Aoki (CF)
2. Tanaka (2B)
3. Fukuchi (LF)
4. D’Antona (1B)
5. Guiel (RF)
6. Miyamoto (3B)
7. Aikawa (C)
8. Kawashima (SS)
9. Tateyama (P)
After Tateyama made short work of the top of Chunichi’s order, Aoki led off the Tokyo assault with his team-leading 42nd walk and was bunted over by Tanaka. Consecutive singles by Fukuchi and D’Antona resulted in 1-0 scoreline in Tokyo’s favor. D’Antona got the rbi. Miyamoto then doubled to bring Fukuchi around to make it 2-0 Tokyo.
Chunichi eventually got one back in the top of the fourth when Blanco doubled and Morino scored. 2-1 Tokyo.
But Tokyo reasserted itself in the bottom of the fifth with four hits. With two outs, D’Antona singled to set the table for Guiel who dropped one in the the right-center bleachers to make it 4-1 Tokyo. It was Guiel’s 13th of the season which means he’s already two ahead of his season total for 2008. The birds would proceed to load the bases before it was Tateyama’s turn to hit again and, well, that was that.
Morino got one back for the Dragons in the top of the sixth when he abused a full count Tateyama mistake which ended up just about decapitating a Swallows fan in right field. 4-2 Tokyo.
But it wouldn’t get any closer that that, and in fact the birds blew the doors off in the bottom of the same inning. Tanaka started things off with a one-out solo homer to left (5-2 Tokyo) and then Fukuchi snuck onto first base on a passed-ball third strike. D’Antona and Guiel proceeded to draw back-to-back walks to load the bases which made it easy for Miyamoto to bring home another run with a sac fly to right. 6-2 birds.
After catching the Miyamoto sac fly, Nomoto made a rather boneheaded play and threw to first for some reason. This meant that D’Antona and Guiel, who had both tagged up, could advance to put an additional runner in scoring position. Oops. Nomoto was relieved of his position in the lineup shortly thereafter.
And then Aikawa completed the scoring with a sharp bouncer that danced nicely past the drawn in outfielders in left-center to score both of the suketto to make it 8-2 birds and complete the rout.
Tateyama (9-2, 2.98) ended up going the distance and was rightly selected alongside his battery mate, Aikawa, as the hero of the game. He notched six K’s against no walks and gave up the two earned runs off of seven hits. It’s nice to have you back, Mr. Tateyama!
Several players impressed on offense for the home team. Aikawa led the way with a three-for-four night and two rbi’s. Miyamoto and Guiel had two hits and two rbi’s each with the latter also drawing a key walk.
D’Antona was also a force in this game going two-for-three and adding two walks and a single rbi.
So it was an all-around solid win for the birds and a much needed series win after the lethargy that has persisted since the close of interleague play.
It’s great that we were able to take this series because we’re likely to lose the upcoming three game dance with Yokohama that starts tomorrow. See you there if you’re keen to share in the misery and embarrassment!