10/04/08 – Hanshin (Home)

October 4th, 2008

Sanshin TigersTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Hanshin Tigers 2

Tokyo Swallows 2

Streak: Drawn 1 Last 5: WWLWD

(Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo continued to be the spanner in the work of the pennant pushing Tigers, as bullpens took centre stage and the two teams couldn’t be separated over 12 innings and nearly four hours of baseball.

Rookie Katoh was a surprise starter for Yakult, and he did much better than many had feared when his name was announced.  He went 4 innings, giving up two runs off five hits before the bullpen took over.

Things looked bleak in the top of the 1st, with two hits and a walk followed by a sacrifice fly from Imaoka putting the Tigers up 1-0.  But Katoh escaped the inning without more damage being done, before the Swallows took the lead in the bottom of the 1st.  Hatakeyama brought home two runs on a single through the middle off Hanshin starter Shimoyanagi to edge Tokyo ahead 1-2.

The Tigers tied things up in the top of the 4th, with three hits yielding just the one run, and again Katoh was a little fortunate to escape the inning with just the one run coming home.

And so it was to the bullpen, and to Matsui (5th and 6th), Kida (7th), Matsuoka (8th and 9th), Igarashi (10th) and Oshimoto (11th and 12th) who gave up just three more hits and struck out six between them as they stifled the Hanshin bats.

Unfortunately, unlike last night’s implosion, the Hanshin bullpen proved equally adept as Atchison, Fujikawa, Williams and Watanabe held Yakult to just one more hit over 7 innings.

The two teams meet for game three of the four game series on Sunday 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

  • No offense to Katoh, but why was he starting? We had to win this game in order to maintain our meager chances of making the postseason.

    To be fair, he did pitch better than I had expected, and I’m glad that he’s back in the swing of things after nearly three months in the minors, but I don’t understand why yesterday’s game was deemed a good opportunity to give him his seventh appearance of the season.

    And now we are officially out of the playoffs and have only fourth place to shoot for.

  • It was a strange one, but I guess Takada thought we were realistically out of contention anyway, so why not give Katoh a run-out.

    Our rotation has seemed pretty random during the latter part of this season.

  • Christopher Amano-Langtree

    The key moment in Tigers first was Tanaka’s diving catch to get Toritani out. If that had gone down Tigers probably would have run away with the first innings.

  • Yes, the chances were definately there in the 1st and 4th for the Tigers to have a big inning, with Katoh helped out by some solid defense behind him to escape with just the two earned runs.

  • Ken

    No runs over the last 11 innings? Very frustrating. Kato came through though, can’t really fault him for holding Hanshin to two runs. The trouble was that they couldn’t get men around the bases and score even a single run after the first inning.

    Nice crowd, but again…too many sitters. Hanshin fans were way more into the game in the late innings than Tokyo fans. Tokyo “fans” were going home early.

  • Nice crowd, but again…too many sitters. Hanshin fans were way more into the game in the late innings than Tokyo fans. Tokyo “fans” were going home early.

    Well, that may be due to the fact that Hanshin are in a pennant race? It really didn’t matter too much in the greater scheme of things if we won or lost. We’re pretty much locked on for 5th place. Yay.