8/8/09 — Yomiuri (Away)

August 8th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Yomiuri Giants 2


Streak: Lost 4   Last 5: WLLLL

(Tokyo Dome)

After yesterday’s high-scoring affair, this game started out a bit more slowly.

Yuuki gave up one run in six innings of work.

Tokyo’s starting lineup:

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)

Yuuki started strong and got through the first three innings on 46 pitches. He struck out four, walked one, and gave up only one hit to keep the Giants off the board.

Yomiuri starter, Greisinger, also started well and got through the first three innings on only 32 pitches while recording one strikeout, no walks, and getting six Tokyo batters to ground out.

Yuuki started to falter a little bit in the fourth though. Ogasawara led off by drawing a walk before Ramirez struck out and Kamei flew out to center. Then Ogasawara was able to make it to third on a Furuki single to right. He later scored on Tsuruoka’s single, again to right. 1-0 Yomiuri.

And the birds kept stranding runners. Two stranded freebies in the fourth, a  walk followed by a Greisinger Aoki's reaction to this pop fly sums up the game for Tokyo.fielding error, were the biggest disappointment.

Yuuki got out of the fifth unscathed even though he walked Sakamoto with one out and did the same with Ogasawara with two.

A broken-bat, grounder to short by Ramirez helped keep anyone from scoring, and Hara’s decision to have Matsumoto sac bunt with one out and Sakamoto on first was also of assistance to Yuuki’s cause.

Greisinger pitched his way out of trouble again in the sixth inning after an error by the first baseman allowed Fukuchi on. Fukuchi never took off for second, and Tanaka got in trouble quickly while flashing the bunt. After getting behind in the count he ended up popping up to left with Fukuchi still standing on first. Aoki was able to move Fukuchi over on a hit and run that ended up being a groundout, but that was as far as he got as Greisinger got D’Antona to chase an outside slider for strike and out number three.

Yuuki started the sixth, an inning that he hasn’t made it through yet this year, quite well with a strikeout and groundout. But it seemed like the high pitch count was starting to test his control as he proceeded to walk Greisinger after having intentionally walked Tanaka to get to him. Oops. And that was after Tsuruoka had doubled to get things started with two outs.

With the bases loaded, Sakamoto came to the plate and got Yuuki to dig a hole for himself with a couple of outside pitches in the dirt. But Yuuki kept at it and eventually got Sakamoto to pop up to D’Antona to end the inning and get Yuuki his first six inning start of the season.

Yuuki (3-2, 3.72 ERA) threw 114 pitches and gave up the one earned run off of only four hits. He did, however, walk six batters while also striking out six. He did not factor in the final decision.

Guiel got beaned to start off the Swallows seventh and then Miyamoto bunted him over. Aikawa grounded out to second but Guiel was able to move over to third. Two out. Then Keizo came through with a huge hit up the middle to score Guiel from third. 1-1.

Not even close, Keizo.And with two outs, Kawashima (the go-ahead run) on first, and Yuuki’s turn in the lineup to bat, Takada chose to have Nakao pinch hit. Wait, Nakao?

Nakao was brought up from the farm team today to replace Tateyama on the first team roster. And Takada chose that rather crucial point in the game for Nakao to have his first ever pro team at bat. He grounded out to end the inning.

Lee (3.43) came in for the seventh. He got Matsumoto to ground out before Ogasawara singled and caused Lee to be pulled from the game. Matsuoka (4-0, 2.85) was brought in to face Ramirez and got him to fly out to Aoki in center on the first pitch he threw. He then gave up a single to Kamei before getting Furuki to line out to Tanaka at second for out number three.

Quick note: Ogasawara is a crazy-slow runner right now.

Even though the birds got a runner on first with no outs for the fourth straight inning in the top of the eighth, they weren’t able to capitalize again. Tanaka’s bunt attempt was successful this time and Fukuchi moved over to second, but that was as dangerous as the birds looked in that inning.

Matsuoka continued to pitch in the eighth. He gave up a two out single to Ohmichi before he got Sakamoto to strike out looking.

With Yamaguchi pitching for the Giants in the top of the ninth, the Swallows went down in order, and Igarashi (2-2, 2 saves, 2.83) came in to face the meat of the Yomiuri order. He pitched very solidly and got out of the inning on only nine pitches.

And on to extra innings.Oshimoto gets the loss.

With Kawashima reaching first on his third hit of the game, Takada again called for the bunt, and pinch hitter, Noguchi, promptly struck out after fouling off his first two bunt attempts. Needless to say, the birds didn’t score.

Everything came crashing to a very quick end on Oshimoto’s (1-4, 3.18) second pitch of his appearance when Kamei hit a solo homer for the sayonara victory and Tokyo’s fourth loss in a row. 2-1 Yomiuri.

The only player of note on offense for the Swallows was Kawashima who had three hits and the team’s only rbi. There was one other hit by a Swallows hitter in this game, and that was by Aikawa who singled in the fifth.

The last game of this series is tomorrow afternoon, again a 2pm start, when the Swallows offense will attempt to resuscitate itself from its recent slumber.

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