9/10/08 – Hanshin (Away)

September 10th, 2008

Sanshin TigersTokyo Yakult Swallows 3Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Hanshin Tigers 4

Streak: Lost 2 Last 5: WLWLL

(Koshien Stadium)

For the second night in a row, the Swallows suffered a sayonara loss to the Tigers, this time on a 9th inning bases loaded walk from Matsuoka to lose a game that they really should have won.  Tokyo outhit Hanshin 15 to 9, but suffered from a chronic lack of timely hitting as they stranded legions of men on base.

Yakult’s starter was Tateyama, who worked 6 innings of six hit, three run ball, while walking three, striking out three and hitting two men.

For the second game in succession, the Tigers got ahead early in the bottom of the 1st, with three hits yielding three runs for Hanshin, to give them an early 0-3 lead.

Tokyo pulled one back in the 3rd off Tigers starter Fukuhara.  But four hits in the inning would score only one run, an RBI single from Ihara, as a Tanaka double play stranded three on base to end the inning at 1-3.

They pulled another back in the 5th off Hanshin reliever Egusa, Kawashima with the RBI for 2-3.

The Swallows stranded three more runners in the 6th before pulling level in the 7th.  The shaky Kubota took the mound for Hanshin, Yuichi with the pinch hit RBI single to tie things up at 3-3.  But Aoki couldn’t pull the trigger with the bases loaded and 2 outs, and they would strand three more yet again.

Hanshin would strand three runners of their own in the the 8th, as Oshimoto, pitching the second of his two innings of relief, escaped a bases loaded two out jam unscathed.

And so to the 9th, with Fujikawa again making short work of the top of the inning, Matsuoka took the mound in the bottom.  What followed was: a single, a blooped and caught bunt attempt for out number one, a dead ball, a strike out for out number two, a single, and then with Katsuragi up, a walk to bring home the sayonara runner and gift Hanshin a victory they scarcely deserved.

Tokyo stranded loaded bases on four occasions during tonight’s game.

Matsuoka was tagged with his 3rd loss of the year in his 54th appearance.

With both Chunichi and Hiroshima winning, Tokyo now slip back to 5th place, a game back of the Carp and now 4 games out of 3rd place.

The final game of the series is tomorrow evening.

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

  • Christopher Amano-Langtree

    That was a good game (for the Tigers). Katsuragi did well as it takes considerable nerve not to swing but engineer a walk in in that kind of situation. I would say that the Swallows lacked the killer instinct – not just Aoki but Tanaka as well. He blew two bases loaded situations. Tigers had the instinct and showed it.

  • Well, that’s the difference between a 1st placed team and a 5th placed one. I guess good teams make their own luck.

    We lack that little “extra” at the moment, though the raw ingredients seem to be there. But I can’t help but feel Takada’s not the man to find that missing “something”.

  • If Takada has an ace up his sleeve, he needed to pull it out a while ago. Otherwise, he needn’t worry about finding that missing “something”, he need only worry about finding the door.

    The man is just not at all up for this job.