September 2, 2011
Yomiuri Giants 2
Streak: Won 2 Last 5: LLLWW
The calendar says it is the second day of September. To Swallows fans that means a 2 – 0 record for the month.
Tonight saw Sawamura and Muranaka on the hill against each other for the third time this year. They had split the first two games and both hurlers were looking to get the win in the rubber match.
For those Swallows fans reading this post, you were obviously ecstatic with the result, although, as usual, the Birds spotted the Aints an early lead. Alexander Ramirez returned to the stadium where he spent his first 7 years playing in Japan. To show his appreciation, he hit a 2-run HR in the top of the second. 2 – 0 Yomiuri
The Birds would get one back in the bottom of the third. With one out, Kawamoto walked. Muranaka would bunt him over to second. Aoki reached first when Sakamoto first fumbled the ball and then threw it wide of first. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Tanaka walked to the plate. He battled some tough pitches from
Sawamura and eventually knocked a ball to right. With two outs the runners were moving on contact and this meant Kawamoto easily scored from 2nd. 2 – 1 Yomiuri
The scoreline stayed the same way until the bottom of the 5th. Takeuchi started the inning with a single. After Kawamoto struck out, Muranka bunted Takeuchi over to second. This meant the top of the order was up. With two outs, Aoki was slapping at the ball the moment he walked up. He finally made meaningful contact by pulling the ball to the gap in right. Takeuchi easily scored and Aoki made it all the way to third. 2 – 2
The fun didn’t end there. Tanaka followed Aoki’s triple with his 2nd rbi single of the evening. Aoki easily scored from the third to put the Birds on top. 3 – 2 Tokyo
The Birds scored the final run in the bottom of the 8th. Aoki again was on base. Tanaka was up next. As usual, he squared around and bunted “Superstar” over to second. Kawabata grounded out to short, but Aoki was able to move to third. “Boo” was up next. Looking to add to his 2nd place RBI total, he was taking some menacing cuts all night. He finally made contact and hit a run-scoring double to left. 4 – 2 Tokyo
As the 8th inning wrapped up, the only question left was whether Muranaka would get a chance to finish what he started. I have it on good authority, that Ogawa said, “What the hell?” and left him in. After getting Takahashi and Sakamoto to ground out, Miwa made a great sliding catch to end the game and get the win for Muranaka.
- Muranaka has two wins this year. Both are complete game wins against the Tokyo Dome residents
- Both pitchers struck out seven
- Probably fearing the typhoon, only 15,262 made it to Jingu
- Muranaka was the man of the match