October 8th, 2009
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5
Streak: Won 3 Last 5: WLWWW
The birds rode a complete game shutout by starter Tateyama to their third win in a row and reclaimed third place in the Central League in the process.
Tokyo’s starting nine:
1. Fukuchi (LF)
2. Kajimoto (2B)
3. Miyamoto (3B)
4. Aoki (CF)
5. Guiel (RF)
6. Yuichi (1B)
7. Kawamoto (C)
8. Onizaki (SS)
9. Tateyama (P)
The story of this game was Tateyama. He allowed no more than a single runner in any given inning, and he threw 121 pitches on his way to claiming his 16th win of the season. He scattered five hits and beaned one while walking none and striking out five. His ERA dropped slightly to 3.39, and he effectively kept the team’s chances of reaching the post-season alive.
The Swallows opened the scoring in the third when Miyamoto (one out double) scored from second on an Arai throwing error to first (Aoki made it all the way to third on the play). Aoki then got thrown out trying to sneak home on a Guiel fielder’s choice to first, but Guiel motored around to score on Yuichi’s two out double to right. Unfortunately, like Aoki, Yuichi was a little too aggressive on that play and he was thrown out easily trying to stretch his double into a triple. Either way, the birds found themselves up 2-0.
Two more runs scored in the sixth when Aoki’s no out single to left was followed by a two out Kawamoto home run (his third) in the same direction. 4-0 Tokyo.
The Swallows scored one more run in the seventh when Miyamoto’s one out grounder to short plated Fukuchi from third. 5-0 Tokyo.
And that was it. Tateyama pitched a very good game, and the patchwork lineup came through with some decent hits at the right times.
Lim was warming up for a while before the start of the ninth inning, but his services were never needed as Tateyama made rather quick work of the final frame.
- The birds can seal their Climax Series birth with a win tomorrow night over the Tigers. If they don’t win that game, then they will need to win both of their remaining games (Sunday vs Chunichi; Monday vs Yomiuri).
- Fukuchi gets behind in the count like it’s his job.
- Kajimoto looks like he’s going to fall over every time he has to track down a high pop fly behind first base. He had two chances today: Guiel called him off the ball the first time, and he did indeed fall over the second time.
- Now that Takada has indicated that he will be returning next season even if the Swallows don’t make it to the playoffs, I guess there’s nothing left for us to do but reinvest ourselves emotionally in these final three games.
- Kawamoto’s jack in the sixth was pretty sweet, but I still miss Aikawa.
- Hanshin starter, Ando, got the hook after only four innings and 77 pitches. Ando did give up two unearned runs, but his successors, Kubo and Kanemura, gave up three earned runs in only three innings.
- Tokyo outhit Hanshin 8-5.
- Tokyo lead the season series versus Hanshin 14-9.
- Tokyo have a slim half-game advantage over Hanshin.
- Onizaki looks to be the real deal (both with the bat and the glove). Keizo Kawashima must be having a rough time getting to sleep right now.
- Hanshin starter Ando has faced the Swallows three times since the 28th of September. He lost two of those contests and got a no decision in the other.