9/4/09 – Yomiuri (Away)

September 4th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Yomiuri Giants 3

Streak: Drawn 1   Last 5: LLLWD

(Tokyo Dome)

Tokyo and those stupid orange fuktards Yomiuri played out the longest game in the CL this year, as they couldn’t be separated in 5 hours and 27 minutes of baseball.

Tragically, the Swallows were robbed of a well deserved victory by a sheet of stained fabric. But of course, things always have a way of turning out in the Giants’ favour in good ‘ol Tokyo Dome.

9-4-09 Longest Game

Tokyo lined up a little something like this:

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

The Swallows faced off against old-boy Seth Greisinger, and until the bottom of the 9th inning it looked like we would get the better of him for once.

Tokyo took the lead in the top of the 2nd inning, with a Miyamoto double following a Guiel single to make it 1-0 Tokyo.

And it would be 2-0 in the top of the 3rd. Fukuchi walked to lead off the inning before Tanaka was asked to perform his regular taksacbunt job to put the runner on second with one out. Aoki then stepped up to hit a single to centre and Fukuchi came home to double the lead.

Yuki did well, keeping the Giants bats at arm length until the bottom of the 6th, when Ogasawara went deep to right to make it 2-1.

But just as Yomiuri looked to get back in it, Tokyo hit back in the top of the 7th. A Guiel single and two walks (the second walk being earned by Hatakeyama, in for Yuki) loaded the bases with two outs, after which Seth was exchanged with Yamaguchi on the mound to face Fukuchi. He managed to get a piece of the third pitch, sending it bouncing up toward the picher. Yamaguchi fluffed taking the ball on the bounce as it got past him (for an error), allowing the run to score and the bases to be re-loaded, 3-1 Tokyo. Next man up Tanaka then hit one deep to centre, but Matsumoto made a good catch on the run and the inning was ended with the lead at two.

So Yuki (3.62) finished his 7 innings having given up just the 1 run off 7 hits, striking out 6 and walking none. He really should have earned his fourth win of the season but it wasn’t to be. He has however been an invaluable acquisition for the team, and if it wasn’t for him bolstering the rotation, we’d already be in 4th place. Of that I’m pretty sure.

Matsui (4.15) pitched a one-hit scoreless bottom of the 7th before Tokyo once again faced Yamaguchi. Two dead balls (Takeuchi and Guiel) followed by a Miyamoto single loaded the bases for Keizo with one out. Yamaguchi was gone and Ochi appeared in his place. Keizo then grounded out to short, the out was made at home and the bases were left loaded for Aikawa, who could only ground out to short again and the runners were stranded.

Lee (3.54) came in to face the heart of the Giants order in the bottom of the 8th. In his previous six appearances against the Giants this year he’d somehow managed to preserve a 0.00 ERA, but in this game he was very lucky not to add some points to that stingy figure. A walk, a strikeout and two back to back singles loaded the bases with one out. With Igarashi and Lim both out with niggling injuries, Takada turned to Matsuoka from the bullpen. He struck out Ohmichi and Wakiya and the threat was snuffed out.

Shota Kimura made short work of Matsuoka, Fukuchi and Tanaka in the top of the 9th and then it was just three outs between Tokyo and their first consecutive wins since August 1st.  Matsuoka was also looking for the first save of his career.

A couple of singles combined with a wild pitch and a steal put men on second and third with one out for Matsmoto. And he hit a groundout to second but the runner scored to make it 3-2 and leave a runner on third with two outs on the board. Up stepped Ogasawara, who’d gone deep earlier in the game. What happened next perfectly illustrates the luckless rut the Swallows are in at the moment. They deserved to win this game, and Yuki deserved his victory. But that piece of stained fabric just had to get involved.

You see, for all Tokyo Dome/”The Big Egg”‘s global fame, those that have been there can tell you what a shit hole it really is. Cramped seating, inadequate toilet facilities made worse by the bunch of orange-clad retards who plague the place on the regular. It also has a stained (think teenage boy’s bedsheets) roof made of a number of square fabric panels.

Well, Ogasawara hit the second pitch he saw high into the air to right. In any other stadium in the CL it would have been a guaranteed out, and indeed Guiel positioned himself in the outfield to make the third out. But the ball had different ideas, as it hit the roof and headed pretty much straight down, evading the despairing run and glove of a clearly surprised Guiel and falling to the ground. And in Tokyo Dome such a ball is considered in play (though if Yomiuri had been on the wrong end of such a play it would have been probably called a foul…..), so Ogasawara had himself an RBI double and it was 3-3.

Absolutely sickening. The win was gone and all due to a freak event that simply couldn’t be prevented or countered. Domes are an affront to all that is good in baseball, and Tokyo Dome should now be demolished. Preferably with their team and fans in it. And I want to be there to throw bricks at the ones that survive.

Matsuoka finished the 9th, having worked 1 and 2/3 innings with his ERA slipping to 3.35.

And so it was on to extra innings, and Tokyo managed just a hit an inning as Hara used Kroon for the 10th and 11th, and then three pitchers for the 12th.

Tokyo used Takagi (1.13) for the 10th and he loaded the bases (a single and two walks) but escaped unscathed.He also started the 11th, but plonked catcher Katoh in the head which got him thrown out of the game. Kamada (4.00) came in to work the rest of the inning, giving up just one walk and striking out three. The Katoh beaning led to infielder Takuya Kimura being used as an emergency catcher in the 12th (the first time he’d done that role in ten years) and he did okay, despite Tokyo getting men on first and second.

Yoshikawa in his first appearance of the year worked a hitless 12th and that was that. The longest game of the year, which wouldn’t have been so if not for that f*cking jizz-stained roof.

Aoki (.275) and Miyamoto (3.14) both had two hits for the night, while Guiel (.262) had three with a HBP.

The two teams return to the Dome tomorrow at 14:00 for game two of the series. That’s not if it hasn’t already been demolished as per my request, which of course would be the honourable thing to do, for the whole of humankind.

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

  • Yomiuri actually had two fly balls in this game that were affected by the roof. Abe’s pop-up in the second played around up in the speakers for a moment before dropping in the infield. Base hit.

    And then, of course, the game-leveler in the ninth. Twice in one game…unbelievable.

  • Here, here! As bad as the Tokyo Dome is, it is, sadly, not even the worst in Japan overall – both the Nagoya Dome and the surprisingly isolated and sterile Sapporo Dome could give it a run for its money. Where the Tokyo Dome takes the cake is in bringing out the worst in everyone there – probably primarily because it hosts the worst thing to happen to Japanese baseball in the past 45 years (I’m being generous and giving Yomiuri credit for its accomplishments in the earliest years of NPB.)

    Tearing down the Big Egg would not only mean a nicer stadium and the end of a festering sore rising like a Big Boil in the center of our fair city, but would make Suidobashi a nicer nieghborhood. The only thing worse than one of America’s crappiest football stadia is a bad copy of it used for the wrong purpose in the wrong climate.

  • stevesayskanpai

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Ogasawara’s luck! As a Hanshin fan I suppose I have to be pleased, but supporting Kyojin does NOT come easily…

  • Rob

    It hit the ceiling? That’s good to hear for me. I turned the TV off in a great blizzard of obscenities as soon as I saw the ball drop because I thought Tanaka and Guiel just lost it. So I’m happy to hear it was the dome. Not happy about the rest of the game, but….

    • I thought it was a simple botched play too, but they did show the reply once. Obviously the Giants TV coverage team didn’t want to dwell on it, as their holy team couldn’t possibly need any luck to help them out right?

  • Mac

    I was in our end at the D*me for this “epic”. This was the closest I’ve come to seeing a victory in the Tokyo Dome. I pretended I had to work, cancelled on the friends I was meant to meet and snuck off to the D*me as I had a “good feeling” about this game.

    I can’t convey here how f*cked off I was in the ninth innings, and everyone around me was made aware of my disatisfaction. Let’s leave it at that.