July 16th, 2010
Hanshin Tigers 1
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3
Streak: Won 6 Last 5: WWWWW
Continuing a streak that began against the Tigers on July 8th, the Swallows managed to win their season-high sixth straight game tonight on the back of a timely two-run triple by Aikawa and a solid five-hit, one-run seven innings from Ishikawa.
The win puts a little breathing room between Tokyo and 5th-place Hiroshima.
The starting line-up:
For Hanshin, Toritani led off with a single on a ground ball to shallow left center, got to second on a Hirano sacrifice, then scored on single by Murton. A Fujimoto error let Murton make it to second, but the Birds got out of the inning with no further harm done and the score 1-0 Hanshin.
Hanshin starter SHimoyanagi seemed determined to help the home team catch up to his own visitors, though. After getting Aoki to ground out, he walked Tanaka and Iihara and hit Whitesell to load up the bases for Hatakeyama, who delivered with a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game. Aikawa then grounded out, leaving Iihara and Whitesell on the corners and the score 1-1 tie.
The 2nd inning started off dangerously with two straight errors at short, continuing Fujimoto’s god-awful start in the field, put Kanemoto in spitting distance of home (if he could spit 90 feet) in his first start back from the break following his Iron Man 1,492 consecutive game streak was finally broken. Ishikawa walked Asai just to keep things interesting, but the Birds made it out of the inning safely.
Over the next few innings, Hanshin got men in scoring position only to leave them stranded, while Tokyo handed over three 1-2-3 innings before Ishikawa came through with a single two outs into the bottom of the 5th. Aoki promptly followed with with an easy pop fly, bringing us to the top of the sixth, which went 1-2-3 as well.
Then the bottom of the sixth: Tanaka rode a head-first slide into second to start the inning off with a double. Iihara bunted (Why?), getting on first safely as the Tigers turned out to not be stupid and went after the man at third instead of first. Whitesell hit a hard liner to right, putting himself on first and Iihara on second. Hatake got out, bringing up Aikawa who tripled to deep right, bringing in Iihara and Whitesell and making the score 3-1 Tokyo.
The relievers (Matsuoka for Tokyo, Nishimura and Ando for Hanshin) made short work of the rest before Lim was brought in in the ninth to notch his 19th save with another 1-2-3 inning.
Ishikawa took the win with 94 pitches and five hits, bringing his record to 4-8 and his ERA down to 3.87 – under 4 for the first time in a while.
Shimoyanagi took the loss for the Tigers, leaving him at 5-5 (3.04).
The Swallows face off against Hanshin again at Jingu tomorrow.