9/23/09 – Hiroshima (Away)

September 23rd, 2009

Hiroshima Carp logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 1

Streak: Won 2      Last : LLLWW

(Mazda Stadium)

The day after Takagi threw a complete game shutout, Yuki went the distance himself as Tokyo won only their second series in the last  month and a half. The same two pitchers were at the helm for the series win against Yokohama last week and are at the moment the glue that keeps the rotation from being totally ineffective.

Yuki went the full nine on 120 pitches, giving up 4 hits with 3 Ks and 1 walk. He almost managed the shutout, but a Higashide single in the bottom of the 9th, later followed up by a Phillips sacfly ended those hopes. Shutout or not, I believe it was his first complete game win for some seven years, and shows the strides he’s made since joining the team. Remember his career was almost destroyed by a shoulder injury while at Orix (leading them to discard him), and earlier in the season he was lucky to be able last five innings. He deserves a lot of plaudits for the comeback he’s made in his career, and long may the improvement continue.

Another day, another lineup:

  1. Fukuchi (LF)
  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Miyamoto (3B)
  4. Aoki (CF)
  5. Guiel (RF)
  6. Hatakeyama (1B)
  7. Onizaki (SS)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Yuki (P)

26 year old second-year pro Yuji Onizaki made his season debut at short, and ended up having quite an impact on the game. He got Tokyo’s only hit of the first seven innings with his single in the 3rd inning, as Hiroshima starter Imai dominated. Having said that, Tokyo did take the lead in the 4th without registering a hit in the inning.

Tanaka worked a leadoff walk, and then Miyamoto layed down a bunt along the third base line to move the runner along. The Carp infield must have thought it was going to roll foul so they delayed fielding the ball. But it didn’t so the ball was fired to first just getting Miyamoto out, but the delay meant Tanaka was on his way to third. Fistbaseman Kurihara fired a wayward throw to third which missed it’s target, allowing Tanaka to make it home for 1-0 Tokyo.

The remaining runs came in the top of the 9th off reliever Shultz. Miyamoto lead off with a single and was replaced with the speedy Noguchi at first. He rather predictably took off pretty much first pitch bound for second and was easily thrown out for out number one. Guiel then stepped up, hitting a high one to left which just stayed fair and evaded the sliding catch attempt of leftielder Phillips for a double. Next man Takeuchi reached on an infield single to put men on the corners. Then the newcomer Onizaki whacked one over the head of Phillips to the wall, two runs scored and Yuji had himself a double, his third hit of the game. 3-0 Tokyo. But that wasn’t the end of it as Aikawa hit a bloop double that just remained fair in shallow right and it was 4-0 Tokyo.

With the lead now looking more solid, Yuki pitched out the 9th, giving up the run off the one hit and it was 4-1 Final. Yuki took the win to even his record at 5 and 5 with his ERA shrinking to 3.18.

The win puts the Swallows back in 4th, 0.5 games back of Hanshin.

Tokyo get a day off tomorrow before starting a six game homestand on Friday with series against the Baystars and the Tigers.

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

  • Andy

    Watched them yesterday and today on TV. Funny really, as you wouldn’t know they were struggling at all based on those two games. I think Onizaki actually went 3 for 4 in the end today and , when you think about it in combination with Takagi yesterday, maybe you guys should just fire all your first team and play the farm team instead!!

    • Hey Andy.

      Yep, you chose to watch a couple of games that showed us in a vastly different light compared to 95% of those since August. Two good wins, but we’re not going to get too many more complete-game performances from our starters in the final few weeks!

      Hopefully the bullpen appreciated the rest and won’t be quite so fragile come Friday.

      Plus a further hope that Onizaki will be given further chances to shine before Keizo flutters his eyelids at Takada and gets back into the lineup.