3/5/09 — Hokkaido (away)

March 5th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows  5  Yakult Cap

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters  2

Streak: Won 1   Last 4: WWLW

(Sapporo Dome)

Three Tokyo players had two-hit games, and the pitching staff only gave up a pair of runs in Tokyo’s second half of a two-day stay up in Hokkaido. Impressively, more than 10,000 people turned out for the game despite being aired in direct competition with team Japan’s opening game of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Tokyo put the first run of the evening on the board on a solo home run by Keizo Kawashima in the third inning. Hokkaido left fielder, Sledge, drove in Hokkaido’s first run of the evening in the bottom of that inning to tie it up off of Tokyo starter, Yoshinori. Tokyo’s young fireballer pitched four innings and had five strikeouts against four walks.

Tokyo added another run in the fourth to go up 2-1, and Sledge had his second rbi, and the team’s final run, in the fifth. Satou, the eventual game-winner, was tagged with that run.

Tokyo took control of the game in the top of the sixth with a four hit, three run effort. Yuuichi started things off with a single to center and was followed by rbi singles care of Noguchi and Tanaka, plus a ground out to third by Fukukawa that resulted in a run crossing the plate.

No more runs scored after that. Kawashima, Miyamoto and Tanaka had two-hit each, and Hashimoto, Yamamoto and Matsuoka combined for four innings of scoreless relief. Matsuoka pitched the final two frames and picked up a save in the process.

Tokyo has tomorrow off which is good because we’re going to be at the Big Egg watching a WBC game between Taiwan and South Korea.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini

  • Actually, 2/3 of the Tsubamegun were at the cursed Tokyo Dome, where Japan, looking rather unimpressive, beat China 4-0. Aoki doubled and tripled while Ichiro received massive cheers for being famous and catching pop flies.

    Huge turnout – biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at the TD, although, as I mentioned most of the crowd was there to do a spot of celebrity-watching and because of the cachet of coming up with WBC tickets.

    Kenzo and I dropped into one of our local watering holes after the game only to be followed by two exuberant young men who entered, arms in the air, shouting to the room in general that they had gone to the WBC. We chatted with them and they had either really overindulged or would have been just as excited to score some Exile tickets – that’s the kind of event seeing Samurai Japan (oh, how I cringe at that nickname) has become.

    Any publicity is good publicity, though, and it’s good to see such widespread interest in the WBC. I’m even happier to hear that the Swallows drew 10,000 for a preseason game in direct competition with a Japan WBC game.

  • Rob

    I haven’t really been keeping track, but every time I have tuned in to a TYS game so far I have seen catchers (all of them) drop balls. Not necessarily enough to let runners advance, but what gives? They’re all breaking in new mitts at the same time?

    I was down on Samurai Japan at first, but it’s a happy step away from the cult of personality it’s been so far – Oh Japan, Hoshino Japan, Hara Kyojin, etc.
    Someone said Hara himself was behind the move away from Hara Japan (I don’t know if he was behind the choice of Samurai Japan), so I have to give him points for that.

  • Hara might not have wanted his name mixed in with the branding of the team because he will be the whipping boy for any failure that might materialize in the future (a la Hoshino).