7/15/09 — Yomiuri (Home)

July 15th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Yomiuri Giants 7

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 13

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: WLLLW

(Jingu Stadium)

On the first pitch of the game, Sakamoto, that little pre-pubescent twerp, smacked a double off the wall in center. But Tokyo starter, Tateyama, weathered the storm and got out of the inning relatively unscathed.  The real damage would be done in the fifth.

And here’s a funny one–Aoki didn’t start.

Here’s tonight’s starting lineup:The Swallows receive the wrong kind of Guinness.

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

To his credit, Tateyama got the next three batters out–Ogasawara and Ramirez going down by way of strikeout.

And that’s when the Tokyo bats woke up. Following a miserable game yesterday where the offense was asleep, the birds got a bit of a pep-talk when the people from the Guinness Book of World Records showed up to reward the lads for their interleague, world record-setting display versus the Buffs when they strung together 11 hits in a row without an out. If only such a feel-good, pat-myself-on-the-back prelude could start off every game.

Tanaka reached second on a nice drive to left, and then Fukuchi started his day (in the place of Aoki) by hitting a line drive over Ramirez’s motionless body in left. 2-0 Tokyo after one.

Gomiuri got one back in the top of the second, but the glory would be short lived. Tokyo saw Aikawa draw a walk to lead off, and then Kawashima followed with a single to left. Tateyama clumsily bunted into a double play, but Aikawa was brought home from third on a double from Iihara. 3-1 birds after two.

And the hits just kept on coming. Tokyo had five hits in both the third and fourth innings, and that ended up meaning tallies of three and five runs, respectively.

In the third, Fukuchi got things started with a single, and that was followed by a one-out, rbi single to center by Guiel to make it 4-1. Then Miyamoto singled to left, Aikawa brought Guiel around with a single to center, and Kawashima singled past Sakamoto at short to plate Miyamoto and make it 6-1 Tokyo.

In the fourth, Iihara advanced to first on a beaning, then Tanaka singled to right, and both of the youngsters came home on Fukuchi’s third hit in as many at-bats, a triple, to make it 8-1 birds. D’Antona then walked, and Guiel hit his second rbi single to center of the evening. 9-1. A Miyamoto single, Aikawa sac fly, and Tateyama rbi single to right meant that the score had ballooned to 11-1!

But it wouldn’t last. Tateyama, with a 10 run lead, would proceed to self-destruct in the top of the next frame. After getting the first two batters of the inning out, Tateyama surrendered five hits and a walk to the next six batters he faced. One of those hits was a three-run homer by Ogasawara. Tateyama would eventually get out of the inning by striking out Wakiya, but that would be his last inning on the mound.11-5 Swallows.

While getting the win, his tenth, Tateyama gave up five earned runs off of nine hits in five innings. He paired those unenviable numbers with a slightly more respectable eight K’s against three walks. His ERA blipped to 3.28, and his record is now 10-2.

The penguins got one back in the bottom of the fifth when D’Antona singled to bring home Tanaka who had earlier doubled. 12-5 Tokyo.

And Ogasawara would rear his ugly head once again (you looked much better with facial hair, Michihiro. Maybe you and Mr. Damon from New York should form a support group) in the top of the eighth when he connected for his second home run of the night–this time a two run shot off of Igarashi. This made the score 12-7 Tokyo. Why Igarashi was pitching with a seven run cushion, I have no idea.

And just to make sure that Tokyo both started and ended the scoring for the evening, Guiel parked a Nakamura pitch in the right field stands to make it 13-7.

And that was it. Lim came in to pitch the top of the ninth, and he buttoned things up quite nicely. Why he was pitching with a six run cushion, again, I have no idea.

But that was kind of how things went today. No matter how badly things went, and no matter how stupid the decisions that Takada made were, the team just kept on hitting. So it didn’t matter. The birds amassed 20 hits today, and all nine of Tokyo’s starters recorded at least one hit (including the starting pitcher, Tateyama). In fact, all eight of our starting position players reached base at least twice in this contest.

Both Guiel and Tanaka went four for five this evening, and Fukuchi was a double short of hitting for the cycle. Miyamoto also chipped in with three hits of his own. Fukuchi and Guiel led the team in rbi’s with four and three, respectively. Meanwhile, Fukuchi hit his fourth homer of the season, and Guiel hit his 15th.

One final thought about Tanaka–holy crap that kid is good on defense!

In terms of pitching, Hagiwara (ERA: 3.20) and Lee (2.94) combined to finish of the sixth without letting any runs score, and Matsuoka (2.48), Igarashi (1.84) and Lim (0.25) came in for the final three innings.

Tomorrow is a travel day for the birds. They will play the Carp in Hiroshima this Friday-Sunday.

The Swallows are in second place (a few percentage points above the Dragons) six games behind first place Yomiuri. The Giants, by the way, now have a “Magic Number” of 52 games in their quest to clinch the Central League pennant. Tonight was only Tokyo’s third win this season against the orange mob from across town.

That sounds pretty lame, but it’s one better than our record against the sixth-place Baystars.

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

  • Aoki came off the bench to pinch-hit in the bottom of the sixth with two outs. He punted the first pitch he saw straight up in the air. It eventually landed in the third baseman’s glove in foul territory.

    He didn’t resume his normal place in center field after that.

  • Thanks for the great T-shirts Chris! It was good seeing you at the park again!

  • I want to point out that the Swallows have only beaten Gomiuri three times this year, and I was there for two of them. Obviously my total hatred of the Giants lends some kind of extra good luck to Yakult.

    In other words, thanks for helping me get that t-shirt, Chris! You are officially my favorite Tsubamegun blogger now.

  • Were these JucheOt, GSSE, or bazooka shirts that you were bestowing upon the faithful, CP?

    • They were the “I hate the Giants” shirts.

      I gots me one too.