9/9/08 – Hanshin (Away)

September 9th, 2008

Sanshin TigersTokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Hanshin Tigers 3

Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WWLWL

(Koshien Stadium)

An Akihiro Yano sayonara solo homer off Yakult reliever Oshimoto was the difference between the two teams in a tight game at Koshien on Tuesday night.

Gonzalez started the game for the birds, and despite giving up three hits and two runs (one earned) in the bottom of the first, recovered well to give up just two more hits over the next five shutout innings for the no-decision.  Dicky also struck out five in his 6 innings of work and his ERA now stands at 3.750.

Gonzalez also had a part in getting Tokyo back into the game in the 5th.  Tanaka doubled off Tigers started Iwata to open the inning, followed by a single from Kawashima, with Tanaka holding at third.  Fukukawa then hit a grounder to second which was enough to score Tanaka for 1-2.  Up stepped Dicky who hit one through the infield to left to score Kawashima and tie things up at 2-2.

Matsuoka worked a perfect 7th in relief, further reducing his ERA to 1.543.

Igarashi came in for the 8th, giving up two hits, but escaped without giving up a run when Kanemoto was thrown out in a close play at home plate. Fukukawa covered the plate well, and held on to the ball for the final out of the inning.  Kanemoto stayed down for a short while after the collision but unfortunately got back up with a hole in the knee of his uniform being the worst of his injuries.

After Atchison had worked a perfect 7th and 8th for the Tigers, Fujikawa kept the perfect theme going in the top of the 9th.

And so to the bottom of the 9th and Oshimoto, who battled with first man up Yano, with the Hanshin catcher working the count full.  He then got hold of one and it flew over the head of Aoki and over the fence to win the game for Hanshin, and hand Oshimoto his 5th loss of the year.  Cue the knuckledraggers fans in the stands going wild with delirium.

With Chunichi winning tonight, Yakult now sit with Hiroshima, 3 games out of that coveted third place.

The second game of the series is tomorrow night at 6pm.

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