7/20/09 — Hanshin (Away)

July 20th, 2009

Sanshin TigersTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Hanshin Tigers 2

Streak: Won 2     Last 5:  WWLWW

(Koshien)

Yuuki hung in there just long enough to get his third win of the season, and the Swallows survived the Hanshin counter-attack to take the first game of the series.

Tokyo’s lineup:Kawashima takes Shimoyanagi deep.

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

Tokyo drew first blood in this game with Kawashima going yard in the top of the second to make it 1-0 Swallows. This solo home run was his eighth of the season which means that he’s doubled last year’s tally in just under half of a season.

Tokyo scored its second run of the game in the top of the fourth care of a Hatakeyama sac fly to left, and added another in the top of the fifth on a Fukuchi sac fly to center. 3-0 birds.

But Hanshin climbed back into it in the bottom of that inning when they started to figure Yuuki out and notched a sac fly rbi of their own to make it 3-1 and see Tokyo’s starter hit the showers.

Yuuki threw 96 pitches in his five innings of work, but he somehow managed to limit the damage to one earned run off of five hits, three K’s, three walks, and one plunking. His RIP of 1.8 over those five frames, while not terrible, still shows that things could definitely have been worse.

And again we saw the Tokyo bullpen get called upon a couple of innings too early. Oshimoto (3.10) came in for the sixth and got a hold point despite giving up two hits and being yanked after recording only two outs. Lee (3.24) came in to finish out the sixth and pitch the seventh as well.

We’re not quite sure why someone else didn’t come in to finish out the sixth as it ended up being Lee’s turn to bat to start the Swallows seventh. Lee, of course, struck out and then proceeded to give up a run in the bottom of the inning to cut Tokyo’s advantage to one run.

Matsuoka (2.78) pitched a one-hit, scoreless eighth, and then Lim (0.23) got through the ninth on nine pitches. Tonight was save number 22 for Lim in 2009.

On offense, Kawashima was definitely the story of the game for the Swallows going 3-4 and raising his average to .249.

Game two of the series is tomorrow night with the first pitch scheduled for 6pm.

Yomiuri lost to Yokohama tonight, but Chunichi got the win over Hiroshima, so the birds are still in third. They’re 1.5 games behind second place Chunichi and four games behind first place Yomiuri in the Central League.

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