6/18/09 – Chiba (Home)

June 18th, 2009

Chiba Lotte Marines logoChiba Lotte Marines 5Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

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(Jingu Stadium)

This was a strange one. The normally infallible Tateyama started and gave up five runs as Chiba took control of the game early on. Tokyo fought back and wasted numerous chances to take the victory in the regular nine innings. Lim had to pitch two innings for the first time this year, and almost gave up his first runs of the season as it was all hands on deck to try and avoid defeat. And in the end an 11th inning sayonara solo homerun from Aaron Guiel ended the 4 hour 33 minute marathon and earned Yakult their fifth victory on the spin.

Today saw the same starting lineup as yesterday’s game with Tateyama starting as he looked to continue his remarkable run of wins. But today he was not at his best. In fact today he was not very good at all as he gave up five runs off nine hits in his five innings, striking out four and walking four as his ERA “ballooned” to 2.318. He never looked in command of his control and it looked for a while that he may suffer his first loss since August last season, but in the end Tokyo’s bats came through to save the day and to ensure that his remarkable run lived to see another start.

Tokyo took the lead in the bottom of the 1st off Chiba starter Ohmine. A Tanaka walk, an Aoki single and a D’Antona timely single scored one run and made it 1-0 Tokyo.

After managing to strand two Chiba runners in each of the first two innings, Tateyama couldn’t escape again in the 3rd. He gave up three one-out doubles in a row, Hashimoto with the third to bring home two runs and make it 2-1 Chiba.

But Tokyo leveled things in the bottom of the 3rd. Aoki led off with a double, and two outs later was at third as Miyamoto came to the plate. He dropped down a squeeze bunt to third, Aoki was home and Miyamoto was safe at first with the score at 2-2.

Tateyama would find himself in more trouble in the top of the 5th. An Ohmatsu solo homer made it 3-2 Chiba, and then two walks and a Benny double scored two more to put Tateyama in his biggest hole of the season as the score became 5-2 Chiba.

But just as in the 3rd, the Marines couldn’t hold onto the lead. Aoki hit his second double (and third hit) of the game and was brought home by a Guiel single to right one out later to make it 5-3. Miyamoto and Aikawa then hit back-to-back singles to load the bases for Keizo with one out. Chiba turned to the bullpen as Nakagoh replaced Ohmine. What followed was an eleven pitch battle, which saw Keizo eventually succumb to a pitch inside as he struck out swinging. Morioka then pinch hit for Tateyama as the pitcher’s record was now on the line. And Morioka delivered, hitting the first pitch he saw through the infield in right, scoring one run, with another scoring after a wild throw home got away and we were all tied up at 5-5.

With an out of sorts Tateyama now gone, the bullpen took over, with Kida (5.505), Matsuoka (1.884), Igarashi (1.367) and Lim (0.00) holding Chiba to just a solitary hit from the 6th to the 9th innings.

During that time Tokyo stranded six men as they wasted chances to go ahead, especially given the Marines’ creaky defense often tried to give them a helping hand.

And so it was to extra innings and Lim took the mound for the top of the 10th. He got two quick outs before walking Lambin and giving up a double to Takehara to put two men in scoring positions. He then hit Heiuchi with a 150k+ fastball in the knee, and not surprisingly the Chiba man had to be stretchered off in some pain. Next man Fuukura was then struck out and the threat to Yakult as well as Lim’s 0.00ERA was over.

Hagiwara (2.700) pitched a scoreless top of the 11th and it was on to the bottom of the inning, with secret agent ex-Swallow and all-round good guy Brian Sikorski taking the mound for Chiba. First man up was Guiel, and he got ahead in the count with three straight balls, but a strike and a foul worked the count full. With Sikorski not wanting to walk the sayonara runner on base Guiel knew he would likely get something he could attack. And so it proved as he smacked one deep into the rightfield bleachers to end the game and spark scenes of wild celebration at home plate. Even Takada looked chuffed, and so he should be. His team are now 12 games over .500 as they are proving themselves to be serious contenders. 6-5 Final.

Hagiwara took the win in relief, his first of the year as Yakult won their fifth straight game for the second time this year (they managed six last time).

Tokyo now get a day’s rest before taking on the Saitama Seibu Lions at Jingu in two games from Saturday to end their 2009 Interleague campaign. The Swallows will be looking for revenge for the whuppings they received at the Seibu Dome two weeks ago. They should be good games indeed.

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

  • Zunlin

    5th inning : 2 outs and bases loaded, down 3-5,maybe the most important at bat today : I would expect a Takeuchi or Hatakeyama to bring the runnes home and… i saw Morioka!

    Bad choice Mr Takada, imho, you were lucky this time.

    Aoki improves day by day… great!

    A question : where is Oshimoto? is he injuried?

    • Morioka was a strange choice, but he got the job done so I won’t grumble.

      Yes, Aoki is certainly back. His bat control is back and he looks back to his confident self.

      As for Oshimoto, he was sent down to the farm team with shoulder fatigue/trouble at the beginning of June. Nothing too serious though (I hope), and he should be back before too long.

  • My, that was a big bomb Guiel hit. I had zero doubts off the bat that it was going out.

    Entertaining game, though!

    What’s with the crazy scheduling this Saturday with all games at 18:00? I thought I might be able to double dip the Lotte and Swallows games but they’re both evening games. Sucky.

    • Guiel is definitely proving what a good player he can be when healthy. He’s a large part of the reason why they are doing so well.

      It was certainly an entertaining game, though bad for my stress levels at times. Particularly when it looked as though Tateyama may be in line for a loss, as well as Lim’s 10th.

      It was all made worthwhile though with that one swing of Guiel’s bat.

      Don’t know about the scheduling. As Swallows fans we’re used to evening games only. This Sunday’s game against the Lions is the first day game of the season, and one of only two (if I remember correctly) all season at Jingu.

  • His name’s Heiuchi, not Horiuchi. I was ready to cry as he went off the field on the stretcher, he’s one of my absolute favorite 1.5-gun guys in Japan.

    Now that Yakult isn’t playing the PL anymore, I should try to join you guys for another game sometime (you weren’t there yesterday though, right?)

    I thought Yakult usually has night games because of all the college games that go on during the day at Jingu, maybe also some high school games, right?

    • Name corrected, thanks. Yeah, that pitch to the knee must have hurt……

      And you are right about the reason that we (mostly) only get evening games at Jingu. I don’t mind though. I can do without getting fried by the sun on a summer’s afternoon.

      • And money. Don’t forget money.

        Wait, that would make sense but for the fact that day games on weekends tend to draw more.

        Nevermind me. I’m drunk. Or stupid. Whichever garners your sympathies.

  • Rob

    I liked Guiel running over the catcher when he scored in the fifth. Just enough so he was unable to catch the RF’s throw, letting Miyamoto score, not enough to look flagrant. Well done.
    Glad they got the win. Seemed like one they would brood over for a while if they had lost.

  • Miyamoto shouldn’t have scored on that – someone should have been backing up Hashimoto on the plate in case of an errant throw. But nobody was, so he did. It was an error charged to Ohmatsu but it really should have been charged ‘elsewhere’.

    Heady play by Tokyo, though.

  • Christopher

    These are the games you have to win if you are to be contenders. Swallows did well and won both games – can we have Takada? We’ll give you Mayumi in return.

    • Careful what you ask for. We’re still under the suspicion that the Swallows win percentage would be North of .700 without Takada.

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