March 26th, 2010
Yomiuri Giants 4
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: L
In recent times the Swallows rarely (make that almost never) win at Tokyo Dome. Under Takada more-so than ever. For the Swallows, a trip to the stain dome offers nothing but a sense of foreboding, stained underwear and ultimate disappointment at the inevitable +1 in the loss column. So when the Giants (paid a ton of moolah to get their best possible matchup for opening day/Rami-chan blew off the commissioner) were drawn against the Swallows at home for the opening series, Swallows fans fans drew a collective sigh at the inevitability of it all. And so it turned out to be.
The Swallows lined up as thus:
- Fukuchi (L)
- Tanaka (2B)
- Aoki (C)
- D’Antona (1B)
- Guile (R)
- Miyamoto (3B)
- Araki (SS)
- Aikawa (C)
- Ishikawa (P)
22 year old Takahiro Araki became the first rookie to start on opening day for the Swallows since 1970. Unfortunately, he ended up going 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts for the evening.
Masanori Ishikawa took the mound, and saw his career opening day record fall to 3 and 2 as he gave up 10 hits and all 4 of the Yomiuri runs in his 6 innings of work.
Ishikawa kept the Giants off the board for the first 3 innings, despite Yomiuri mustering 3 hits against him and loading the bases in the 2nd. Giants starter Utsumi and general all around bitch kept the Swallows hitless over the same stetch, but the Swallows took a rather fortuitous lead in the top of the 4th. Guiel came to the plate with one out and men on first and second, and the Canadian hit a grounder to first. The Giants made the out at second but Sakamoto’s throw to first was way off target, allowing the run to score from second and Guiel to make it to second, 1-0 Tokyo.
The Giants pulled level in the bottom of the same inning, with back to back hits from newcomer Edgar Gonzalez and pig-boy Abe followed by an RBI single from enormo-headed veteran Takahashi that tied things up at 1-1.
Two more Giants runs followed in the 5th, a single and two walks loaded the bases for Abe, and he used his piggy powers to good effect as he knocked out a single to bring home two men to make it 3-1 Yomiuri.
An achingly familiar Ramirez RBI made it 4-1 in the 6th and that was all for Ishikawa. Masabuchi and Matsuoka pitched scoreless 7th and 8th innings respectively, but the Tokyo bats just couldn’t bring anything home against Utsumi and with Kroon working the save in the 9th it was business as usual for the Swallows at the stain dome for a 4-1 Yomiuri Final.
The Swallows managed just 5 hits to the Giants 11, as their inability to hit carried over from the pre-season. The Swallows hit for a NPB worst .219 during the 2010 open-sen. Utsumi stuck out 10 in his 8 innings of work.
The two teams will face off again tomorrow with Yoshinori taking the mound for Tokyo.