5/04/09 – Hiroshima (Away)

May 4th, 2009

Hiroshima Carp logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 3

Streak: Won 2    Last 5: WWLWW

(Mazda Stadium)

Another day, another new starter on the mound for Tokyo. This time it was the turn of Korean Lee Hye-Cheon to make his Swallows debut against the Carp. And he lasted just 2 and 1/3 innings after giving up two runs off five hits, striking out one and hitting one batter.

But that wouldn’t matter in the end as a solid performance from the middle of the order that yielded three home runs meant that Tokyo took the final game of the series in Hiroshima.

Lee, whose windup is reminiscent of that of closer Lim,  put in a 1,2,3 inning in the bottom of the 1st before the Tokyo bats would give him an early lead in the top of the 2nd.

A D’Antona single to right off Hiroshima starter Hasegawa was followed by a walk for Guiel to put men on first and second with no outs. Hatakeyama, again starting at third in the absence of Keizo Kawashima hit a line drive to centre that scored D’Antona to make it 1-0 Tokyo. A flyout to shallow right for Aikawa made it one out before Tanaka singled to load the bases. Up stepped pitcher Lee who struck out, and then Fukuchi grounded out to strand the runners.

But Lee gave up the slender lead in the bottom of the 2nd, a Kurihara single, a McClain double and a Seabol sacfly made it 1-1. Lee then hit veteran shortstop Ishii on the hand, who then stole second to put men in scoring positions with one out. He then got two groundouts to end the inning without giving up the go-ahead run to the Carp.

The bats gave him another lead to work with in the top of the 3rd. A Miyamoto single and a Aoki two-run homer to pretty much the same spot in right as last night’s shot, made it 3-1 Tokyo. Starter Hasegawa wouldn’t make it out of the inning as he was replaced by Makino after giving up two more hits in the inning. The reliever prevented any further damage and it was on to the bottom of the 3rd.

Higashide grounded out to start the inning before three consecutive singles made it 3-2 and put men on second and third with only one out. Takada turned to the bullpen, Oshimoto was summoned and he got McClain to ground into a double play to end the inning.

The bottom of the 4th saw a Seabol double to start the inning, the runner then being moved to third on a groundout before catcher Ishihara brought him home with a sacfly to right to tie things up at 3-3.

Tokyo then took a decisive lead in the top of the 5th, solo homers from D’Antona (no.6 for the year) and Hatakeyama (his first of 2009) made it 5-3 Tokyo.

But the Carp wouldn’t lie down in front of a packed Mazda Stadium. Maruyama took the mound in relief of Oshimoto in the bottom of the 5th and a Hatakeyama throwing error allowed Higashide to get on base. Two outs later with the runner at third Matsuoka came in to face the dangerous Kurihara. But the Hiroshima first baseman could only flyout to left and the two run lead remained intact.

The Carp would strand another two runners in the 6th and then Kida came in to pitch the 7th. Two two-out hits and a walk loaded the bases but Kida got Seabol to ground out to strand yet more Hiroshima runners.

Igarashi then pitched a 1,2,3 8th before Lim got the three outs in the 9th for his eighth save of the year and it was 5-3 Final.

Oshimoto took the win in relief to put his record at 1 and 2 with a 3.293 ERA.

Hatakeyama was the star of the show with his three hits and two RBIs. It’s good to have him back in the starting lineup and though Kawashima’s fielding may be missed, Hatake brings so much more to the team with his bat.

In fact the 3,4,5,6 part of the lineup (Aoki, D’Antona, Guiel and Hatakeyama) combined for 7 of the team’s 10 hits today (Miyamoto got one and Tanaka got the other two) and brought home all five of the runs. I would definitely consider keeping Hatake in the lineup, but knowing Takada we’ll likely see Lee start there tomorrow (OK he’s not that bad). 

Miyamoto has also shown over the last two games that he is still a quality shortstop and thus keeping Hatake at third would not be a real problem fielding-wise.

The team now head back to Tokyo for a three game series against the Hanshin Tigers from tomorrow evening at Jingu Stadium.



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

  • Nice little run your Swallows have got going on!

  • Indeed it is. We’re further above .500 than we have been for quite some time. Nosebleed!

    The real sign of progress will be if we take the Hanshin series this week.

    The traditional Yakult way (of recent years anyway) would be for us to get swept though. Hopefully, we can maintain the run.

    Hope the Marines’ fortunes improve too. All of us at Tsubamegun have a soft spot for your team.

  • N26

    Congratulations. A good win. I did not think Swallows would do any good but I was wrong, they seem to be quite strong and with Aoki improving things look pretty good.

    I like the away unis to Swallows quite alot. They look nice.

  • I like the away unis to Swallows quite alot.

    As do I. They’ve grown on me quite a lot, though I still wish they were a little darker in colour.