5/24/09 – Fukuoka SoftBank (Home)

May 24th, 2009

softbank-hawks-logoFukuoka SoftBank Hawks 8

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Lost 2     Last 5: WLWLL

(Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo made a late attempt at a comeback after going behind 7-0 but it was a case of too little too late as they were brushed aside by the Interleague pace-setting Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Ryo Kawashima started for Tokyo and had one of his lesser outings, as he gave up five runs (four earned) off six hits in five innings of work. He also struck out five and walked three as he was tagged with the loss to tie up his record at 3 and 3 for the year with his ERA now at 3.890.

With the Swallows now back on their homefield they switched back to CL rules after using a DH for the last four games on PL turf:

  1. Kawashima Keizo (SS)
  2. Miyamoto (3B)
  3. Aoki (CF)
  4. Guiel (RF)
  5. Ihara (LF)
  6. D’Antona (1B)
  7. Aikawa (C)
  8. Tanaka (2B)
  9. Kawashima Ryo (P)

Yakult fell behind in the top of the 3rd inning. Second baseman Honda hit a leadoff double before Kawasaki layed down a bunt to attempt to move the runner along. Tokyo catcher Aikawa then threw to third but was off target, the ball got away from Miyamoto and into the outfield allowing the runner to score and make it 1-0 SoftBank. Aikawa was charged with an error, and things went from bad to worse as next man up Ortiz blasted a two run homer to left to make it 3-0 SoftBank.

Hawks’ starter Ohtonari then kept the Yakult bats quiet before the lead was extended in the top of the 5th. This time it was Kokubo’s turn to go deep as he followed up a two-out Matsunaka single with a shot over the leftfield wall to make it 5-0 SoftBank.

That was the last inning for Kawashima, as he was replaced with Lee Hye-Cheon in the top of the 6th. But the change in pitcher made little difference as a double, two walks and a timely two-RBI double from Ortiz made it 7-0 SoftBank.

Tokyo finally got on the board in the bottom of the 6th. A two-out single from Aoki was followed up with a Guiel double to put two men in scoring positions. Ihara then singled to bring home the runners and it was 7-2 SoftBank.

And they would add two more in the 8th. Consecutive doubles from Keizo and Miyamoto made it 7-3, Aoki then got on with his second single of the night before Guiel brought home Miyamoto from third with a sacfly to narrow things to 7-4 SoftBank.


A solo Hasegawa homer off Hashimoto made it 8-4 in the top of the 9th before a Kawabata single and a timely Tanaka double made it 8-5 SoftBank. But that was all the scoring for the night.

Other points of note:

Lee Hye-Cheon’s numbers for his two innings in relief were: 2 runs off 2 hits, 3Ks and 4 walks. His ERA is now at 5.684. He really needs to iron out his control issues as it’s all the walks that do him the most damage.

Aaron Guiel continued his good form with two hits to go along with his RBI sacfly and is now hitting .295.

Aoki also had a two hit night and is at .235.

D’Antona was hitless in his three at-bats before being replaced by a pinch-hitter in the 9th. He is now batting .222. 

Tokyo's 400-Win Legend, Masaichi Kaneda in the old threads

Tokyo's 400-Win Legend, Masaichi Kaneda in the old threads

D’Antona was the only starter not able to get a hit as the Swallows outhit their opponents 12-9. Even pitcher Kawashima knocked out a single in the 3rd.

Today was Hiroyasu Tanaka’s 27th birthday – Happy Birthday Beavis!

Today’s loss was the first time Tokyo have lost two on the bounce since late April. SoftBank are still unbeaten so far in IL play.

The Swallows debuted their very white Kokutetsu Swallows throwbacks today, but the change in uniform brought them little luck.

The two teams return to Jingu tomorrow evening for the last game in the two game series.

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

  • The Kokutetsu throwbacks are nice and extremely simple, completely opposite from the very busy new threads.

  • Dude, did you guys see that Masaichi Kaneda had a sign-kai outside Jingu before the game? I was at Jingu for the afternoon to see Hosei University kick some Meiji butt and win the Tokyo Big 6 championship, and as I was fighting my way OUT of Jingu to get home before the Swallows-Hawks game, there was a huge crowd around a small tent, and freaking Kaneda was in there signing stuff! (Or more like, he was handing signed shikishi to people, but still).

  • Wow, that’s awesome!

    Didn’t see that but he did throw the first pitch too.

    All part of the debut of the rather lovely Kokutetsu throwbacks I guess.

  • Dagnabbit! I knew I should have gone.

    I like that there’s at least one great whose legacy the Swallows aren’t willing to turn entirely over to the Giants.

  • N26

    Nice throw back unis. The simplicity reminds me a bit of the Lions unis which are very nice. Kaneda is a hard core old dude. Not the sympathetic mellow type but has a hard and frank personality.

    It is hard to be completely updated on the latest in Japanese baseball but what is the deal with D’Antona? I thought he had got off to a good start but now he is not looking very good. Wonder if Takada will soon bench him from start? D’Antona does not have much time left.

    A few years ago, when Furuta was manager I got to see Tokyo Big 6 All Stars vs Swallows in an exhibition game. Jingu was packed to the occasion. Wish they could have those kind of games more often.

  • N26.

    Yes D’Antona had a very promising start and, to his credit, Takada persisted with him in the no.4 slot until the last week or so.

    Tonight (Monday) saw him dropped to the bench, however he did hit a pinch-hit RBI single. I like him though and hope he can hang in there an turn things around.

  • Yeah, D’Antona was getting on base a lot more often during the first month of the season, but now his OBP has shrunk to a team worst .265 (to be fair, he has a better OBP than Ishikawa and Tateyama).

    His 38 Ks against 7 walks don’t help his cause a whole lot either.

    We may see a bit of extra jockeying at first now to see if anyone can claim the position before the end of Interleague play. Don’t be surprised if D’Antona mainly features at DH/pinch hitter for the time being.