August 27th, 2008
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 1
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LLLLW
No, do not adjust your monitors, that is a “W” you see after all those Ls. Yakult finally snapped their losing streak at five as they eked out a win on a very wet evening in Hiroshima.
Tonight’s pitching match-up saw Tateyama going up against veteran Carp starter Takahashi. Tateyama was, as he has been for most of this year, dependable, going 6 innings and giving up just the one run off seven hits with three strikouts.
Tokyo got on the board in the top of the 2nd, with a solo homer from Iihara (his 6th of the year) putting the birds ahead 1-0.
And at 1-0 it stayed until the top of the 5th. Fukuchi singled with one out, and up came Miyamoto. Fukuchi was then out trying to steal second before Miyamoto walked. Aoki was the next man up and he hit a line drive over the infeld which was fielded by Carp outfielder Alex. Alex made a hash of the throw, which dribbled between first and second, allowing Aoki to reach second and more importantly, Miyamoto to reach home from first for 2-0 Yakult. Alex was charged with the error and so Aoki didn’t get credited wth the RBI.
Hiroshima pulled one back in the bottom of the 5th, a timely Higashide double enough to bring home Kura to narrow the gap to 2-1.
Matsuoka came in for Tateyama in the 7th and his appearance coincided with the heavens opening and drenching all and sundry, leading to a five minute or so delay while they rebuilt the mound and sanded home plate. Matsuoka did well despite the rain and delay, giving up a hit but striking out three to conquer both the Carp and the conditions. Matsuoka’s ERA is now 1.519 in his 47 appearances in 2008.
Yakult would make the game safe in the top of the 8th. Carp reliever Ueno walked Miyamoto to start the inning. Aoki then singled and Miyamoto was able to make it to third. Aoki promptly stole second to put two men in scoring position with no outs. Takeuchi then poked one through the hole between first and second to bring home the runners for 4-1. The chance for a big inning was soon over though, as Ihara popped up a bunt for out number one before Tanaka hit into a double play to end the inning with just the three run lead.
Igarashi had a wild one in the 8th, walking one batter, hitting another but managing to escape the inning unscathed. Ryota’s ERA is now 2.512.
And so to the 9th and Lim, who must have been getting a little bored during the losing streak, unused and lonely in the bullpen (while his South Korean compatriots won Olympic gold….ouch). But he got his chance tonight and closed out the game for his 29th save of the year, lowering hs ERA to 2.030. 4-1 final.
So, that was the game. Tateyama picked up his 8th win on the year to go with his 3 losses and his ERA now stands at 2.879.
Aoki went 3 for 4 and his batting average is now .359 – thank your deity of choice that the Olympics are done and dusted.
Yakult are now 1.5 games back from the 4th placed Carp, but remain 3.5 games behind the 3rd placed Dragons who also won tonight.
The rubber game of the series is at the same time, same place tomorrow night.