5/16/09 – Hanshin (Home)

May 16th, 2009

Sanshin TigersTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Hanshin Tigers 1

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4

Streak: Won 4     Last 5:  LWWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

Eight innings of four-hit one-run baseball from Shohei Tateyama combined with two 6th inning homeruns gave the Swallows an invaluable win against the Hanshin Tigers.

The Swallows started the game on a three game winning streak, and on a four game streak against the Tigers. 

Tateyama took the mound for Yakult, with Fukuhara starting for Hanshin.

The starters dominated early on,  and it was the Tigers who took the lead in the top of the 3rd, a double from Arai bringing home a run and making it 1-0 Hanshin. With three walks from Tateyama in the inning, Tokyo were slightly fortunate to give up only the single run.

After being held hitless for the first three innings, they tied the game up in the bottom of the 4th inning. The slumping Aoki singled to right before D’Antona doubled to put two men in scoring positions with no outs. Aaron Guiel, back in the lineup in place of Ihara, then stepped up to hit a deep sacfly and Aoki came home to make it 1-1.

Tateyama worked hitless 5th and 6th innings and then Yakult took a decisive lead in the bottom of the 6th. Fukuchi grounded out for the first out of the inning. Aoki then flew out for the second out. Up came D’Antona who hit one deep to right, over the fence into the home fans to make it 2-1 Tokyo. Guiel then singled which lead to Hanshin manager Mayumi replacing Fukuhara with Watanabe. Miyamoto blasted the reliever’s second pitch to left, over the outfield wall and into the sea of yellow-clad cockroaches Hanshin fans and Tokyo had themselves a 4-1 lead. 

Tateyama then held Hanshin hitless during the 7th and 8th innings, Lim came in to work a 1,2,3 9th for his 13th save of the year and the fat lady was warbling at a 4-1 Final.

Tateyama got the win and took took his record to an exemplary 4 and 0 with an ERA of a mere 1.612. This game was the tenth start from Shohei without a loss on his record as he continues to prove himself to be a top-tier starter in the NPB.

D’Antona’s home run was his 7th of the year and he is now batting .259 after going 2 for 4 with his other hit being a double.

D’Antona and Tateyama were selected as the game heros, with Jamie sarcastically thanking all the Swallows fans in yellow, a reference to the thousands of Hanshin fans who have taken to infesting Jingu twelve times a year in recent years.

The win means that Tokyo are now closer to first (3.5 games behind the Giants) than they are to third (5 games ahead of Chunchi) with a record of  20-13.

The two teams meet again tomorrow evening for the final game of the season before the start of the interleague schedule on Tuesday.

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

  • As an aside, one of the benefits of being in the Jingu rightfield bleachers is that you get to abuse the rightfielders of the visiting teams.

    And with Kevin Mench in town I’m not one to turn down such an easy target. After giving him grief all through Friday’s game (which he acknowledged towards the end of the game), when he had a tantrum after striking out to end the top of the third inning this evening I saw my opening.

    After he had re-taken his place in rightfield, I picked a silent moment and shouted:

    “Kevin! Smaller belly, less strikeouts!!” to which he raised his right hand and gave me the finger all while still facing the diamond.

    Result. And still no hits this series Mr.Mench.

  • N26

    Mench looks depressed. He must start doing Prozac or go home.

  • Christopher

    That’s a nice comment. He’s getting that sort of thing at Koshien but he doesn’t understand Japanese.

  • Yeah, that was classic! Well done. Never thought hurling verbal abuse at opposing rightfielders would be so much fun 😛

  • Rob

    I appreciate Mr. Mench’s multi-tasking skills.
    And abuse the CF as well, please. I have no idea what Akahoshi was thinking trying to steal third with a left-handed batter at the plate.
    See you for the series with the Hawks!

  • Mr. Watkins, perhaps my standards are low, but you, sir, are the coolest guy I know. A role model for me in my adulthood. You gave it to Lew Ford good last year, but he just wasn’t as much of a crowd-pleaser as Mench.