July 22nd, 2008
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4
Streak:Won 1. Last 5:WWWLW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
Tonight, it was the Swallows’ turn to hold on to a lead in a lower-scoring game than last night’s.
Muranaka, who made an appearance in relief, started for Tokyo and started the game by beaning Onishi. On the other side, Kobayashi started for Yokohama, but left the game after facing only two batters: Fukuchi, who hit a pop fly to left field, and Miyamoto, whom he hit very near the head with a pitch, after which he was tossed and replaced by last night’s winner, Kuwahara. Aoki then hit into a classic 4-6-3 double play to end the inning, earning encouragement from the back of the Swallows’ gaiya that he make his way to Beijing in haste (only not so politely.)
Muranaka had a strong 2nd inning, downing Yoshimura, Aikawa, and J.J. 1, 2, 3 and brining Tokyo back up to get the scoring started.
Hatakeyama started the inning with a hit and was moved over by a Tanaka sacrifice bunt (one that everyone should be able to agree was ill-advised) before scoring on a fielding error. 1-0 Tokyo.
In the third, Muranaka again downed the BayStars 1, 2, and 3. Having been pulled in favor of a stronger bat in the top of the 3rd, Kuwahara was relieved by Sanada, who returned the favor to the Swallows by putting down Muranaka, Fukuchi, and Miyamoto in a row.
The next scoring was in the bottom of the 4th, when Hatakeyama brought Aoki in with an RBI before Tanaka was again ordered to sac bunt. Hatakeyama moved over to third on a wild pitch while Iihara was up, then an Iihara pop fly brought Hatakeyama home. 3-0 Tokyo.
The next two innings were scoreless and Muranaka didn’t give up a run until the top of the 7th, after which he was pulled and Matsuoka was brought in in relief. 3-1 Tokyo.
In the bottom of the 8th, Hatakeyama hit a solo home run, the last scoring of the game, although both sides went through a few more relievers and Tokyo used its lead to change things up a bit on defense in the bottom of the ninth.
The Swallows are now back at .500 with the last game of the series against Yokohama tomorrow night.