6/27/09 – Yomiuri (Away)

June 27th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

Yomiuri Giants 1

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: WWWLW

(Tokyo Dome)

After Tokyo’s talisman Shohei Tateyama was knocked around for his first loss in almost a year last night, tonight’s starter Yoshinori really had to come up with the goods to prevent the Giants gaining too much of an advantage at the top of the CL.

And the 19 year old delivered in spades, producing what must rank as his finest performance so far in a Swallows uniform. Yoshinori went eight innings on 117 pitches, giving up one run (a Seung-Yeop Lee solo homer) off just two hits, striking out five, and walking just the one man. The win puts his record at  4 and 4/3.724 and helped snap a nine game losing streak for the birds at Tokyo Dome.

And to make matters all the sweeter, the losing pitcher for the Giants was ex-Swallow Seth Greisinger. A man who since signing up for the life of cocaine and hookers at Yomiuri has had somewhat of the voodoo sign over his old team, winning seven starts against the Swallows since his last defeat.

Tokyo’s lineup tonight at the Temple of Doom:

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

Yakult took the lead in the top of the 2nd inning. Hits from Aikawa and Keizo put men on second and third with two outs for Yoshinori. The pitcher appeared to swing for strike number three, but Greisinger was called for a balk and one run trotted home for 1-0 Tokyo. Hara did protest the call but the umpire, obviously aware of the man’s dickish tendencies, didn’t change his call.

Another run followed in the 3rd, this time though less controversial means. D’Antona came to the plate with Tanaka on second and two outs on the board. He hit one deep to centre, over centrefielder Matsumoto’s head and to the wall, allowing Tanaka to score easily for 2-0 Tokyo.

And the lead was three in the 4th. A Miyamoto double was followed up one out later by a Keizo single to bring in Shinya and it was 3-0 Tokyo.

Yomiuri’s only run followed in the bottom of the 5th to make it 3-1 before the three run lead was restored in the top of the 6th. Aikawa hitting his third dinger of the year to right to make it 4-1 Tokyo.

And the smiles on the faces of Swallows fans everywhere were made even larger in the 7th (and in fact my face still hurts a touch now.) A one out Tanaka double was followed by a ground out for Aoki with the runner being held at second. Up stepped D’Antona who hit almost the exact same shot to centre as in the 3rd inning, this time hitting the outfield wall for a RBI double, 5-1 Tokyo. And just for good measure Guiel hit one off the rightfield wall to bring home Jamie and make it 6-1 Tokyo.

Lim (still 0.00, folks) pitched a hitless 9th and the win was secure and the gap to first restored to just the two games. 6-1 Final.

Tokyo outhit Yomiuri 11-2 and to be honest, the Giants were never in the game given Yoshinori’s superb control and rhythm. He is going to be a star, of that I have little doubt. And he is just 19 let us not forget.

D’Antona went 2 for 5 with his two RBI doubles and is now at .247.

The two teams return to the inflatable stain-dome tomorrow at 14:00 as Tokyo try to reduce the Giants’ lead to just one game.

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