4/18/10 – Yomiuri (Home)

April 18th, 2010

Yomiuri Giants 1

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: LLWLW


Kyohei Muranaka pitched a superb eight innings of three hit one run baseball as Tokyo overcame the Giants in Matsuyama’s Botchan stadium this afternoon. Muranaka had a no hitter going until Giants catcher Abe singled with two outs in the 7th, and he then survived a wobble in the 8th to show that he is mentally a lot stronger this year than in seasons gone by.

Takada re-jigged his lineup again, with Aoki moving to the no.3 slot and Miwa replacing Ihara in left and betting leadoff:

  1. Miwa (LF)
  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Aoki (CF)
  4. Guiel (RF)
  5. Miyamoto (3B)
  6. D’Antona (1B)
  7. Fujimoto (SS)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Muranaka (P)
Tokyo’s first chance to get some runs on the board to support Muranaka’s burgeoning no-hit efforts came in the 3rd inning. Singles from Aikawa and Miwa off oh-so-fugly Yomiuri starter Nighimura put men on the corners with one out. Tanaka then flew out to shallow right, Aoki walked to bring up Guiel. He poked one up the middle, but due to the “Guiel Shift” that teams employ against the Canadian meant that rather than sneaking through the middle for a single, the ball was fielded with ease by shortstop Sakamoto and the inning was over.
The Swallows next hits would get Kyohei some runs support in the 6th. Tanaka reached base via an Ogasawara error before Aoki singled to put men on first and second. Guiel then flew out to centre for out number one. Up came Miyamoto who hit one past Ogasawara to right, bringing home Tanaka to make it 1-0 Tokyo. D’Antona then stepped to the plate with men on the corners and hit a sacrifice fly to centre, Aoki tagged and made home with ease for a 2-1 scoreline.
After Muranaka’s no-hit campaign came to an end in the 7th, the Giants inevitable late rally attempt came in the 8th. Edgar singled with one out before the pinch hitting Tani hit one up the middle.  Muranaka did well to field the ball, but he messed up the throw to second which would have set up a simple double play to get him out of the inning. The ball made it to the outfield and the Giants had themselves men on first and second, and they cut the lead in half as next man Sakamoto singled to left to make it 2-1. The Muranaka of seasons prior would have likely crumbled in this situation, allowing Yomiuri back in the game. But though he wobbled, walking pinch-hitter Takahashi to load the bases, he got Ogasawara to fly out to second and then Ramirez to do the same to shallow right foul territory (though for a sickening moment, it looked like the ball may be fair with Guiel not being able to make it) and he left the game with his lead intact.
Tokyo added a run off out of form reliever Yamaguchi in the bottom of the same inning, with a walk for Tanaka and a single from Aoki followed up by a single poked up the 1st base foul line from Guiel to restore the two run lead at 3-1 Tokyo.

Lim (0.00) pitched a perfect 9th for his 5th save of the year and it was 3-1 Tokyo Final.

Muranaka took the win to put his record at 2-2 with his ERA shrinking to 3.12. He struck out 12 in his 8 innings, walking three. Though still early days, it looks as though he may be finding the mental strength and thus the consistency to keep him in the rotation for a lot longer this season.
Tokyo outhit the Giants 7-3, with Aoki the star performer, going 3 for 3 with a walk. His average now sits at a team leading .390.
Today’s win puts Tokyo back ahead in the season series at 3 wins to 2, and long may that continue. The Swallows overall record is now back at .500 (10-10) as they sit in 4th place in the CL, half a game behind the joint second placed Dragons and Tigers.
So, reasons to be cheerful as we enter the weekly CL off-day tomorrow, and Tokyo will head to Nagoya Dome for a series with Chunichi from Tuesday.
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

  • If we can finish this road swing with a 7-7 record (4-2 over the last 6 games), I'd be very happy.

    • Absolutely.

      The very fact that we're still clinging to a .500 record after the last couple of weeks of less than stellar form is encouraging.

  • Hi, this is Tomnish.
    I have been wondering for a long time what happened to your site, but there you are!
    I'm happy to find you are still big fans of the Swallows.
    I'll stop by when I have time and energy to read massive English.

    BTW, the Sports Hochi says Muranaka found himself in December to be one centimeter taller than before.
    He's 22 years old and still growing taller — amazing!

    • Good to see you again, Tomnish.

      As always, you come through with the good inside info. Thanks.

  • Me McPhee

    How many players can a NPB carry on the active roster? There's got to be more than 25.

    • NPB teams can carry up to 28 players on their active roster. Also, player movement between the active squad and the farm squad is not limited in the same way as MLB (options), so you'll see a lot more guys yo-yo between the two rosters.

      • Me McPhee

        Thanks. good to know.

  • So happy to see this one come out on top for the Swallows. Even if it was lucky. I don't know if it would have gone the same way had Tanaka not gotten on base because of a silly error. Still, great pitching, seemingly the only huge error we made was a missed double play which would have been a miracle had it gone down. I'll take it.