9/26/09 — Yokohama (Home)

September 26th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Yokohama BayStars 4

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5


Streak: Won 4  Last 5: LWWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

A crazy thing happened today. The Tokyo Swallows reclaimed third place in the Central League.

Guiel plates Tokyo's first two runs in second.

Tokyo’s lineup:

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

First of all, I’d like to apologize for saying in an earlier post that Muranaka should be kept off the mound. He was absolutely wonderful for the better part of eight innings. In fact, he was perfect through four and two-thirds, and had a no hitter going through a full five. Muranaka incurred Muranaka dominated for the majority of this contest.damage in only two innings, the sixth and the ninth. In every other inning, he was unhittable.

In the sixth inning, a leadoff single by Takeyama would end up costing him a run when Fujita tripled. But by that time, the birds had already posted two runs on the board.

The scoring started in the second inning when Aoki and Hatakeyama’s back-to-back singles with no outs set the table for Guiel who singled to center. Both Aoki and Hatakeyama scored on the play. 2-0 Tokyo.

Unfortunately, Takada killed the rally by having Yoshimoto ‘tak’ bunt. Guiel moved over to second, but that was where he stayed because the subsequent batters were Aikawa and the pitcher, Muranaka.

After Yokohama grabbed that one run back in the sixth, Tokyo posted two more in the seventh. Aikawa doubled to score Guiel from second with one out, and a two out error at shortstop later allowed another run to cross home plate to make it 4-1 birds.

Hatakeyama had three hits today.Hatakeyama would then add Tokyo’s final run in the bottom of the eighth when he homered to left off of Yokohama reliever, Takamiya. 5-1 Tokyo.

And everything looked like a done deal after that, but Muranaka couldn’t seal the deal and gave up two quick runs when Kinjoh singled and then Uchikawa homered to left to make things interesting at 5-3 Swallows.

Takada hooked Muranaka at that point and brought Lim in to pitch instead. There were very mixed reactions to that decision from the folks in the stands, and Lim justified the pessimism by giving up a solo home run to Murata on his second pitch. 5-4 Tokyo.

By that point, news had already flashed on the board that Chunichi had come from behind to beat the Tigers in Nagoya, so people started packing up assuming the worst. But Lim held on. He got Saeki to strike out swinging, and Yoshimura grounded out to second to end the game.

That earned Lim his 26th save of the season (2.03 ERA), and Muranaka his first win (1-5, 6.81).

Aside from that final inning, Muranaka was the pitcher that we’ve all hoped he would be this year. I’d say that he definitely earned himself another start. He recorded nine strikeouts and gave up only one walk. Nice nice!

Observations:

  • Miyamoto went 0-4 and struck out every time he stood in the batter’s box.
  • Hatakeyama went 1-4 with a home run (his fourth of the year) and one rbi.
  • Aoki and Guiel had two hits each.
  • The birds are now in sole possession of third place in the Central. They’re half a game ahead of Hanshin and three games ahead of Hiroshima.

Game three of the series starts tomorrow evening at 6 PM at Jingu Stadium.

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

  • Rob

    Muranaka has fixed something with his mechanics. In one of the earlier starts his motion was inconsistent, with his body getting slightly ahead of his arm at times. This meant he could go from doing fairly well one moment to flying completely off the rails the next.

    Guiel is getting starts against lefties! And doing well!

  • I’m very happy for Muranaka. He’s always had it in him. He just needs to find it more often (or rather find it period).

    The Hanshin series is shaping up to be a biggie.

  • Ken

    Going into the game I was wondering if they could slip back into third. Wow. Can they hold it? Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow night. When’s the last time Swallows swept Yokohama?

  • Muranaka may have been a little tuckered out there in the 9th. I can’t remember the last time he lasted more than six full innings.

    But a huge win for him and the team. That’s now four games in a row where a starter lasted at least eight innings.

    Will the trend continue tonight?