Tokyo Yakult Swallows 9
Streak: Won 1. Last 5: LWWLW
(“Home” game at Akita)
Yakult battled to a good win against Hanshin on Sunday afternoon, helped by the J and K of the Tigers relief trio JFK giving up 5 runs between them, to allow the Swallows to break a 4-4 tie late in the game.
Yakult’s starter was Tateyama who struggled, allowing 9 hits, four runs, as well as striking out 5 in his six innings for a no-decision.
The Swallows were first on the board in the bottom of the 1st, with a RBI each from Hatakeyama, Takeuchi and Wilson off Hanshin starter Uezono allowing Tokyo to take an early 0-3 lead. But the lead wouldn’t last long as the Tigers scored 4 runs of their own in the top of the 2nd in a 5 hit barrage off Tateyama. 4-3 Hanshin.
Yakult would pull level in the 6th. Takeuchi doubled, followed by a single from Tanaka to leave a runner at each corner. Wilson then hit a grounder to second, allowing Takeuchi to be thrown out at the plate. Hanshin then brought in Egusa to face pinch-hitter Yuichi, who hit a flyball to left for two outs. Watanabe was then brought in to face Ihara, who was pinch-hitting for pitcher Tateyama, and Ihara hit one through the middle and Tanaka scored to tie the game at four apiece.
Matsuoka worked a hitless top of the 7th and then Jeff Williams came to the mound for Hanshin. Miyamoto and Hatakeyama both hit singles before Kawashima, pinch-hitting for Takeuchi, hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield allowing Miyamoto to score from third for 4-5 Swallows.
Oshimoto came in to work a scoreless top of the 8th and then it was Kubota’s turn on the mound. Wilson grounded out to start the inning. Then Fukukawa hit a double, followed by another from Ihara to bring him home. 4-6 Swallows. Pinch-hitter Saitoh then struck out before Miyamoto singled to bring home Ihara for 4-7. Then Aoki came to the plate and blasted his third homer in two games to bring home himself and Miyamoto. 4-9 Swallows.
Lim then worked a scoreless 9th despite giving up two hits and that was the game. Matsuoka got the win in relief for Tokyo, his 3rd of the season, and his ERA is now a stingy 1.149. Williams was tagged with the loss for Hanshin.
Despite Lim’s recent difficulties, Yakult’s trio of Matsuoka, Oshimoto and Lim, with ERAs of 1.149, 0.273 and 2.250 respectively are still formidable (compare those figures to JFK’s: Williams 1.662, Fujikawa 0.827 and Kubota 3.627) , and are certainly one of the success stories of the season so far for Tokyo.
Yakult now have a day off before facing the Giants Tuesday at Tokyo Dome.