June 29th, 2010
Yokohama BayStars 0
Streak: Won 3 Last 5: LLWWW
(Okinawa Cellular Stadium Naha)
Because the Kanto region of Japan isn’t hot enough already, the neighboring cellar-dwellers headed south–way south–to kick off a two game series in balmy Naha.
And the birds walked all over the stars.
1. Aoki CF
2. Tanaka 2B
3. Iihara LF
4. Guiel RF
5. Whitesell 1B
6. Aikawa C
7. Miyamoto 3B
8. Fujimoto SS
9. Muranaka P
The Tak-bunt to start off the first didn’t work, and the Swallows took the field after only four batters–which is to be expected when Miura is pitching against us. No bunts, but more of the same in the second, third, and first two outs of the fourth. But then something funny happened.
Guiel doubled and Whitesell homered (his second longball in his three starts with the top team). 2-0 Tokyo.
And that was the beginning of the end for Yokohama as Muranaka was halfway through what would turn out to be eight innings of shutout baseball.
The Swallows plated three more runs in both the fifth and the sixth. In the fifth, the fun once again began with two outs. Muranaka worked a walk, and Aoki made things interesting with a single. That was followed by a bases-clearing triple by Tokyo’s second baseman, Tanaka, who was himself sent home on an Iihara single. 5-0 Tokyo.
The birds got a little help in the sixth when Miyamoto induced an error at short (Ishikawa) which allowed both runners to stay on the basepaths (Aikawa singled beforehand) with no outs. Fujimoto loaded the bases for Muranaka, and the lanky pitcher brought Aikawa and Miyamoto home with a surprise single to right. Fujimoto scored one out later when Tanaka singled to right. 8-0 Tokyo.
Tokyo loaded the bases in the seventh with no outs, but they were unable to bring anyone home. However, they made up for it a little bit in the eighth when Tanaka’s leadoff single was cashed in by Iihara’s triple.
Trivia: When was the last time the Tokyo Swallows had two triples in a single game?
Whitesell then grabbed his third RBI of the game, a single to right, to end the scoring for the evening. 10-0 Tokyo.
Muranaka went eight innings and threw 112 pitches. His ERA dropped to 3.27 while his record improved to 5-6. He gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out five.
Matsui (5.00) pitched the ninth and allowed one hit but no runs scored.
Every starter except for Miyamoto and Fujimoto had at least one hit in this contest. In fact, Aoki, Tanaka and Aikawa recorded three each with Tanaka notching three RBIs in the process.
Iihara and Whitesell had two hits apiece.
Game two of this sweltering series in Naha starts tomorrow at the unusual hour of 7PM.
Matsui got out of the ninth on only three pitches. First pitch single to right, first pitch double play ball to Tanaka at second, and first pitch fly ball to center.
Whitesell has recorded at least one RBI in each of his three starts so far. The birds have won all three games with Whitesell in the starting lineup (two in left and one at first base).
Tokyo outhit Yokohama 15-8.
Aoki is now only three hits from a career tally of 1,000. It’s taken him 767 games to reach 997 which is pretty damned fast. Guess who the only player to reach 1,000 hits in Japan faster was? Yup, you got it. Ichiro Suzuki recorded his 1,000th base hit in his 757th game.