August 25th, 2008
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 0
Streak: Lost 4 Last 5: WLLLL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
Another rainy evening at Jingu, though not enough to rain-off the third game in a row, as Hanshin rode their luck to come out on top in a close game on Monday.
The Swallows outhit the CL leaders 10 to 9, but just couldn’t get the luck to go their way in key situations, while the Tigers rode their’s to leave the uniformed roaches Hanshin fans who were packed into Jingu happy.
Ishikawa took the mound to start for Tokyo, and was solid enough, pitching 7 innings, giving up two runs off eight hits, and striking out three with no walks.
Hanshin’s starter was Andoh, who worked 6 innings of no-run six-hit baseball.
Yakult had a chance to open the scoring in the 6th. Guiel opened the inning with a double, followed by Fukukawa grinding out a walk to put men on first and second. Ishikawa then bunted to move the runners along with one out. But Fukuchi flew out tamely before pinch-hitter Yuichi grounded to first to end the inning.
So the Tigers then opened the scoring in the top of the 7th. Two hits put runners on second and third with one out. Sakurai, pinch-hitting for Andoh, then hit a blooper just over the heads of the infield and a runner scored to make it 1-0. Akahoshi then hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Tokyo then made a charge to try and get back in the game in the bottom of the 7th, but were thwarted by a quite terrible call from the first base umpire.
Consecutive one-out hits from Hatakeyama, Takeuchi and Tanaka loaded the bases for reliever Atchinson. Next came Guiel who had hit two doubles in his first three plate appearences of the night. But he only managed to hit a grounder to first, allowing Hanshin to try and make the double play. Guiel appeared to beat the throw to first but was called out by the umpire to end the inning.
Cue Hanshin manager Okada clapping and laughing like a young child who’d just been told by his parents that farting was acceptable at the dinner table very happy man, and Yakult manager Takada running out of the dugout to protest the call at first. And protest he did, with the Swallows not taking the field for well over five minutes. But while the TV replays seemed to clearly show that Guiel had beat the double play, the call remained and it was on to the 8th, with the wind very firmly removed from the Tokyo sails.
And those sails were then ripped down and burned as next man up for Hanshin Toritani hit Matsuoka over the rightfield fence for 3-0.
So the game was effectively over, despite a perfect, three strikeout 9th inning cameo from Oshimoto. The Tigers relief duo of Kubota and Williams closed down the game and made it four straight losses for the birds.
Ishikawa took the loss, putting him at 8 wins and 9 losses for the year. His ERA still remains at an exellent 2.671.
From here, the Swallows pick themselves up off the floor and head down to Hiroshima for a three game series with the Carp, after which we’ll have a good idea of just how alive their faint chances of a third place playoff finish actually are.