6/20/09 – Saitama (Home)

June 20th, 2009

Saitama Seibu Lions logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Saitama Seibu Lions 4

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Won 6       Last 5: WWWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

Tonight was a good-ole’, extra-innings game, and you need to know only two words in order to understand all the fun that it entailed:

Jamie D’Antona.

The man was unstoppable.

He drove in all five of Tokyo’s runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th, and that was after he tied the game up with a towering blast into the left field stands. Twice.

Tokyo’s Starting Lineup:

D'Antona hits the game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th vs. Saitama.

D'Antona hits the game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th vs. Saitama.

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

Kataoka scored on a groundout to short in the top of the first to put the visitors ahead 1-0.

D’Antona then led off the bottom of the second with his first home run (10th of the season; Nishiguchi pitching) of the evening to level the score at 1-1.

Nakamura then led his NPB-leading 21st dinger of the season off of Tokyo starter to lead off the fourth inning and make it 2-1 Saitama.

Yuuki was relieved after five innings of three hit, two run ball. He ended up with a no-decision after tallying six K’s, 1 BB, and 1 HBP. His ERA now sits at 3.86 after throwing 88 pitches.

Kida (5.20) pitched the sixth and seventh innings without giving up any more runs, but Hagiwara saw his ERA swell from 2.70 to 3.57 in the eighth. Kuriyama singled and then Nakajima drew a walk to make things very interesting. Nakamura and Ishii were retired before G. G. Satou and Kinji hit successive rbi singles to right to make it a very daunting 4-1 Saitama scoreline.

But things weren’t nearly as bad as they seemed. Takeuchi singled to get things started in the bottom of the same inning before Morioka and Tanaka were retired to make it two outs and Takeuchi on third base. Saitama’s coach, Watanabe, opted to bring in Mitsui so that he could walk Aoki on five pitches.

After that he decided to put Onodera in to face D’Antona with two out and men on first and third.

Bang!

Game tied: 4-4.

No further runs scored in the ninth or the top of the tenth. Lim got a hold point for his work in the ninth, and Igarashi ended up benefitting (by way of a win) from the heroics that would ensue after he sat down on the bench.

Takeuchi again set the table with a single to center, and he was promptly replaced by Iihara on first base. The Saitama infield rushed to pounce on pinch-hitter Kawabata’s bunt, but Iihara’s wheels saw him slide safely into second ahead of the throw. With both runners safe and no outs, Tanaka laid down the second bunt of the inning to move both runners over to second and third.

Watanabe again pitched around Aoki, this time intentionally walking him and loading the bases, to get to D’Antona. And the big man delivered yet again with a grounder between third and short to score the game-winning walk-off run. 5-4 Tokyo.

D’Antona went 3-4 and added a walk to help raise his vitals to .249/.299/.481. He was the undisputed hero of the game, and gave a very humble post-game speech to the 20,000 or so fans that stuck around for the extra inning.

He now leads the team in home runs and has put together several solid performances in a row.

Also impressing on offense:

Aoki (.282/.394/.445) went two for three but actually reached base four times thanks to a couple of walks late in the game.

Takeuchi (.303/.373/.394) also had two hits in his three at-bats. He didn’t start; he pinchi hit for Yuuki in the bottom of the fifth.

Other notes:

Aoki struck out looking to end the first inning and it was a horse-poop call.

Guiel made a very nice catch at the fence in right in the top of the first. He can definitely jump when he has to.

The final game of the interleague segment of the season is tomorrow at 2pm at Jingu.

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

  • Karen

    Congratulations to the Big Bubba from Ct. way to go. Nice day at the plate. Come back to Ct soon.

    • Not too soon, though – now that he’s settling in, he has a championship to win first. (Then hopefully more after that.)