7/02/08 – Yomiuri (Away)

July 2nd, 2008
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5 

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Yomiuri Giants 7

Streak: Lost 1. Last 5: WLWWL

(Tokyo Dome)

 

After the bullpen heroics of Tuesday night, Tokyo experienced relief troubles as Swallows set-up man Oshimoto blew a two run lead in the 8th inning to hand the Giants victory in Tokyo Dome. 

Tonight’s game saw a pitching matchup between Muranaka for the Swallows, and Australian Adrian Burnside for Yomiuri.  Both pitchers would do well in the early innings, and it wasn’t until the bottom of the 4th inning until the Giants broke the deadlock. 

Ramirez kicked things off with a double to occupy second.  Tsuruoka and Sakamoto would then bring in a run apiece for a 0-2 lead.

Tokyo would pull one back in the 5th, a solo homer from Wilson, his first in Japan, narrowing the lead to one run.  They then tied up the game at 2-2 in the 6th with Hatakeyama binging home Aoki with a sacrifice fly.

Muranaka would pitch his last inning of the night in the bottom of the 6th, and finishing the game having given up two runs off five hits with seven strikeouts.

Uehara, who had recently come back to the top team after having been dropped to the farm team earlier in the season, came in to pitch in the 7th inning for Yomiuri to rapturous applause from the muppets in orange home crowd.  Over his two innings he would show the kind of form that got him dropped to the farm team in the first place.   Wilson would hit a double to start the inning, with Miyamoto bringing him home later in the inning to make it 3-2.

It was Yakult’s relievers turn to struggle next.  Matsuoka came in to pitch the bottom of the 7th,  giving up three hits and one run for his troubles. The run scored when Matsuoka overcooked a throw to first while fielding a grounder, allowing the Yomiuri runner to score with two outs on the board for 3-3.

Uehara remained on the mound for the 8th, giving up four hits and two runs, one RBI for Ihara, followed by a passed ball which allowed Hatakeyama to score from third. 3-5 Swallows.

In his two innings Uehara gave up six hits and three runs (one earned), and as he left the mound it looked as though he was heading for his fifth loss of the year, but Yakult would have more troubles in relief to save the Giants former ace.

Oshimoto took the mound for the 8th, and it would then all fall apart for Tokyo.  Four hits, amongst them a two run go-ahead homer would allow the Giants to come back and take a 7-5 lead into the ninth inning.  Kroon took the mound for the 9th, and despite allowing a man on second and third, managed to close out the game for his 20th save of the season complete with his highly irritating customary fist in the air victory celebration. 

Uehara got the win for his shakey appearence, and Oshimoto would be charged with the loss, his second of the season.

The two teams return to Tokyo Dome tomorrow night for the rubber game of the series. 

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD’S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto