May 5th, 2011
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: LWWWL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
The Swallows lose their first game in May as Tateyama has a somewhat shaky outing and Matsuoka implodes. Also, the offense wasn’t too hot.
|1||CF Aoki||1||SS Araki|
|2||2B Tanaka||2||2B Ibata|
|3||1B Whitesell||3||3B Morino|
|4||LF Hatakeyama||4||LF Wada|
|5||RF Balentien||5||1B Blanco|
|6||3B Miyamoto||6||RF Guzman|
|7||C Aikawa||7||CF Nomoto|
|8||SS Kawabata||8||C Tanishige|
|9||P Tateyama||9||P Yoshimi|
Ochiai fakes everyone out by starting Yoshimi and not Chen. Depending on the source, I think Chen was the Dragon’s projected starter for all three games of this series. Unfortunately, the Swallows had to face a pitcher that had not allowed an earned run his last two starts, which includes a game against the Swallows.
The Dragons opened the scoring in the third when Morino batted home Araki, who had gotten to second base via a single and a Ibata ground out. 1-0 Dragons Tateyama managed to limit the damage by inducing a double play from Wada to end the inning.
The Swallows got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Aoki got on base thanks to a wild throw by Araki. Aoki was advanced to second on a Tanaka Tak-bunt, his 15th of the season. After a Whitesell fly out to left, Hatakeyama poked a single into left to score Aoki from second. Tied 1-1
The score remained tied until the top of the sixth, when Blanco launched a no-doubter to straight center field. 2-1 Dragons Joel Guzman followed with a towering shot to left field that barely stayed in the park for a double. While Tateyama was able to get out of the inning without any more damage, the fact that the previously weak Guzman looked good today was a indicator that Tateyama was not pitching his best game.
Things didn’t get any better in the seventh inning. Tateyama managed to get a quick foul out from Araki, but that was his last out for the game. Ibata doubled to center and Morino drew a walk to make it 1 out with men on first and second. Wada singled right up the middle to score Ibata from second to stretch the Dragons’ lead and chase Tateyama from the game. 3-1 Dragons Barnette was brought in, and he promptly loaded the bases by walking Blanco. Fotunately Barnette was able to clean up after himself by getting Guzman and Nomoto to strikeout back-to-back.
The Swallows got back within striking distance in the bottom of the seventh. Kawabata opened the inning with a triple to right. Iihara struck out swinging and brought up Aoki. Aoki drove a strong grounder to first, but the moment it took Blanco to hold Kawabata on third was enough time for Aoki to beat him to an uncovered first for an infield single. With one out and men on the corners, Tanaka grounded out to second for what seemed like a sure double play, but luckily Araki’s surgically repaired shoulder provided another wild throw to first allowing Kawabata to score and Tanaka to take second. 3-2 Dragons With the tying run in scoring position, all Whitesell was able to do was pop up weakly to second.
Down by only 1 run the Swallows ran in Matsuoka to keep it close. Unfortunately, Matsuoka chose today to have one of his periodic meltdowns. He started out by allowing a hit to Tanishige. He was then gifted his only out when Tatsuro Iwasaki bunted Tanishige over to second. Araki made the bunt completely moot by launching a home run into the Dragons’ cheering section. 5-2 Dragons But Matsuoka wasn’t done, he allowed a single to Ibata followed by a double to Morino which scored Ibata to further stretch the lead. 6-3 Dragons But the knockout blow came when Wada took the second pitch he saw and delivered it into the left field stands. 8-2 Dragons Kosuke Matsui came in to finish the inning and got the last 2 outs.
The Swallows weren’t able to get anything back and the score line didn’t change. Mikinori Katoh came in to pitch the ninth, probably ruling him out to start Sunday’s game. Despite pitching a perfect ninth, Katoh did allow hard hits to Hidenori and Tanishige that makes us worry for his long term viability. Tateyama was tagged with the loss allowing 3 ERs in 6 and 1/3 innings. He allowed a whopping 10 hits and 3 walks on 112 pitches. Yoshimi got the win by scattering 7 hits and a walk over 7 innings. Of the 2 runs he allowed only 1 was earned.
- Balentien was held hit-less today. Balentien’s last 3 hit-less games coincide with the team’s last 3 losses. By the end of the game Balentien looked like he was trying to force a hit, rather than waiting for a good pitch to hit.
- Bryan Bullington lead the Carp to another win today, pulling the Carp to within 1 game of the Swallows.
- Kawabata’s triple in the seventh was the Swallows’ only extra base hit for the day.
- 22,605 people were on hand to watch the game, the lowest attendance of the 3-game set.