July 29th, 2008
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3
Streak: Lost 1. Last 5: LLLWL
Ryan Vogelsong notched his ninth win for Hanshin as Masanori Ishikawa was charged with his eighth loss for Tokyo in this rain-abbreviated game.
Tonight, the Swallows struck first, in a near-mirror image of last night, scoring two runs in the first inning when, with two outs, Hatakeyama knocked a Vogelsong fastball into the Swallows’ gaiya for his fourth homer of the season, driving Aoki, who’d gotten on with a long hit to center, ahead of him. 2-0 Tokyo.
Hanshin responded in the top of the third. Akahoshi continued his streak of hitting against Tokyo and was moved over by a Hirano bunt that left both men on. Sekimoto then loaded the bases, just beating the throw after a nice backhanded stop by Kawashima.
Ishikawa got his first talking-to of the game, then gave up a two RBI hit to Kanemoto before the Swallows were finally able to retire three batters. 2-2.
Tokyo struck back soon, though. In the bottom of the third, Fukuchi doubled and was then moved to third by a Miyamoto hit. After Aoki got out on a foul pop fly, Hatakeyama continued his big night by driving Fukuchi in. 3-2 Tokyo.
The top of the fourth inning featured a rather demoralizing moment for Tokyo in general and perhaps most for Ishikawa. Not quite up there with the embarrassment Yomiuri’s “big hitter” Lee Seung Yop must feel at having a batting average about the same as Swallows pitcher Masubuchi’s, but face-reddening nonetheless. Hanshin pitcher Vogelson hit a solo home run.
The Swallows then ended the inning after Fukukawa caught a third strike and caught Akahoshi stealing to end the inning. 3-3.
The Tigers scored once more as Ishikawa gave up another solo home run, this one to Mitsunobu Takahashi. 4-3 Hanshin.
As the rain picked up, Hanshin shifted their defense and Tokyo churned through relievers, with Igarashi, Matsuoka, and Oshimoto each getting an inning or less in and Kawamoto getting some playing time behind the plate in. Resop and Williams came in in relief for Hanshin, with Williams getting the save in a game called after seven innings on account of rain.