Tokyo Yakult Swallows 7
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WWWLW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
This one was a lot of fun to watch!
Yoshinori started. Yeah, we thought the same. But he really held his own while he was in. In fact, he pitched perfect baseball through four innings, and he gave up only one hit through the end of five (Takahashi solo home run; 3-1 Tokyo lead).
And he might have been left in an out or two too long, but he got through six with the score tied 3-3.
But then Fukukawa came through with a three-run tater that put the home side up 6-3.
And that was after he hit a two-run shot in the second!
Yoshinori, despite the three runs, pitched brilliantly. Six innings, 99 pitches, eight K’s, two walks, and only two hits. Definitely deserving of another start, which is very good because now there’s a serious competition going for the starter slots.
Kawashima, Tateyama, Ishikawa and Muranaka all have serious roots in the starting rotation. Masubuchi and Yoshinori have also shown that they can throw. Recently Douglass and Gonzalez have shown up to the party–late, but not unwelcome. This is very good! Eight decent pitchers vying for five spots.
Anyway, back to tonight’s game.
Fukukawa was the story of the evening on offense. Four plate appearances. Two walks (one intentional). Two-for-two. Two home runs. Five rbi’s. 1 stolen base. Not a whole lot more to say.
We even booed Yomiuri when they intentionally walked him after his first home run (to get to Yoshinori, of course), but it turned out to be one of the few intelligent coaching decisions that Hara has made in the last two seasons because he drilled another one to left in his third at-bat (but then again maybe he was just postponing the inevitable).
Yoshinori picked up his first big-league win and Tokyo kept within striking distance of third place in the central league.
Game three of the series is tomorrow night at 6:20 PM at Meiji Jingu Stadium.