10/6/09 – Yokohama (Away)

October 6th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 10

Yokohama BayStars 4

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: LLWLW

(Yokohama Stadium)

For quite a while, it looked as though Yokohama would frustrate Tokyo for the 14th time this year. But in the end, the Swallows extra class told as they put up eight runs in the 8th inning (ooh, a big inning, remember those?) to come from behind and keep their playoff hopes alive with a win in rainy Yokohama stadium.

Tokyo lined up as follows:

  1. Fukuchi (LF)
  2. Kajimoto (2B)
  3. Miyamoto (3B)
  4. Aoki (CF)
  5. Guiel (RF)
  6. Yuichi (1B)
  7. Kawamoto (C)
  8. Onizaki (SS)
  9. Takagi (P)

Guiel returned to the fold in what was a big boost to the team (in my eyes anyway, not sure about Takada’s) adding some much needed power to the lineup in the absence of D’Antona.

Tokyo got off to a flyer in the 1st, as Fukuchi hit the third pitch he saw off Baystars starter Kuwahara into the the leftfield bleachers for 1-0 Tokyo. It was his fifth dinger of the year.

Takagi started for the birds but couldn’t hold onto the lead, as he gave up two runs off four hits (all singles) in the bottom of the 1st and it was 2-1 Yokohama.

Takagi had himself a 1,2,3 2nd inning before falling further behind in the 3rd, courtesy of a one-out solo homer from Uchikawa for 3-1 Yokohama. Takagi regained his composure to strikeout Murata and Saeki to escape the inning with the lead at 2 runs.

In the top of the 4th a two-out  Guiel walk followed by a Yuichi single put runners on first and second for Kawamoto. Alas the catcher could only ground out to third and the inning was done.

Then in a rather puzzling move, Takada replaced Takagi on the mound with the low-on-form Yoshinori. The decision backfired instantly as the youngster walked two and gave up a two-out RBI single to Kinjoh that put Yokohama comfortably ahead at 4-1. Luckily for Yoshinori, Kinjoh was thrown out trying to advance to second on the throw home and the inning was over.

The Swallows reduced the lead in the 5th, a leadoff solo homer from the impressive Onizaki (his second of the year/his career) and it was 4-2.

Matsui worked a scoreless one hit-fifth in relief of Yoshinori (whose ERA edged up to 3.52), coming into the game with 19 year old rookie catcher Yuhei Nakamura.

Guiel earned his second walk of the game in the 6th with one out, but Yuichi hit into a 6-4-3 double play (which to be fair, was very well fielded by the diving Yokohama shortstop Ishikawa) and the chance to cut the lead further was gone.

Matsui worked another scoreless inning in the 6th to put his ERA down to 3.08. Oshimoto (2.80) then put his recent affinity for giving up the long-ball to one side as he pitched a hitless 7th.

And so to the 8th and the Swallows faced reliever Takasaki on the mound. A Fukuchi single was followed up by a Kajimoto infield hit to put men on first and second with no outs. Miyamoto bunted for out number one, and the runners were moved along into scoring positions.

Yokohama then wheeled on the 100 year old ex-Yomiuri man Kudoh (okay, he’s 46) to face Aoki, but the white-hot Norichika hit a base-clearing single to centre and it was all-square at 4-4. Up stepped Guiel who then showed Takada what’s he’s been missing by blasting one over the wall in right and just-like-that it was 6-4 Tokyo.

It was Guiel’s 24th homer of the year, and Aaron ended the game with his average at .265 as he went 1 for 3 with two walks and two strikeouts on his return to the team.

Kudoh then walked Yuichi (who was promptly replaced by Noguchi at first) before Kizuka replaced the veteran on the mound. Noguchi stole second before Hatakeyama grounded out to short for out number two, with the runner holding at second. Onizaki then received an intentional walk before Nakamura took one on the right hand and the bases were loaded for Fukuchi.

The leftfielder thwacked one to the rightfield wall for a double, the bases cleared and Tokyo found themselves up 9-4. But the inning wasn’t quite over yet. During next-man Kajimoto’s at-bat Fukuchi stole third before the stand-in second baseman hit a grounder that hit the pitcher’s leg to short, allowing Fukuchi home and the runner to be safe at first. 10-4 Tokyo. Miyamoto then flew-out to right and the inning was over having seen 12 batters take the plate, 6 hits and 8 runs come home.

Just like old times, Igarashi (3.25) and Lim (1.99) worked hitless 8th and 9th innings respectively and it was 10-4 Tokyo Final. Both relievers were making their 55th appearances of the season.

Oshimoto took the win to put his record at 2 and 6. Takagi’s record remains at 3 and 0 with his ERA up to 1.70.

Tokyo outhit Yokohama 11-7. Fukuchi (.270) and Kajimoto (.316) both had three-hit evenings, while Onizaki (.414) had himself two.

Aoki (.301) went 1 for 5 with his two game-tying RBIs.

With Hanshin not playing today, this win puts Tokyo 0.5 games back of 3rd. Hanshin now have just three to play while Tokyo have five. The two sides will play each other at Jingu on Thursday and Friday (weather permitting).

Tokyo will face Yokohama for the final time this year at Jingu tomorrow evening. The season series now stands at 13-10 in the Baystars favour, though the Swallows have now won their last six meetings.

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

  • zunlin

    Why , why use Igarashi and Lim with a 6 run lead? omg…

    • It didn’t bother me much today really. This was a game we absolutely had to win, and that calls for the big guns.

      I don’t think either had pitched for quite a while so they were both rested (well, as rested as you get in the last week of the season).

      Plus having gone to the bullpen early there weren’t too may arms left to call upon.

      • Mac

        They are all games we absolutely have to win, especially the six pointers on Thursday and Friday, rain pending. So I’m happy with they use of whoever gets the result.

        Any news on the Yomiuri game rescheduling? Are they waiting to see if we get the next three away without cancellation so they can play it on Saturday?

      • Nothing annunced yet. Yomiuri play at Hiroshima on Saturday so whenever it is it’s going to be sometime next week, possibly with a Yokohama or Hanshin game or two thrown in.

        The weather is a bit annoying really. I (and a lot of other fans) were looking forward to the final game of the season being on a Sunday (with a national holiday to follow) against relatively neutral opposition in Chunichi.

        Though having said that, it’s quite feasible that the regular season finale could be a winner-takes-all game against the Tigers…….

  • Mac

    Agreed. It is highly highly annoying.

    The whole weekend was mapped out – Baseball on Friday, Paul van Dyk on Saturday, then Baseball on Sunday. All massive drinking sessions and all with sufficient recovery time in between.

    Oh well… best laid plans etc…

    At least Monday’s cancellation was announced before the game started. This is infinitely superior to turning up, watching one innings, standing around in the rain for an hour, then going home.

  • Tat

    Thank you David, Christopher, and Garrett for creating this website, which I find to be extremely informative and more interesting than most blogs/sites about the TYS.

    Regarding the rescheduling of the (kutabare) Yomiuri game, the TYS website announced today that it will take place on Monday, October 12 (a national holiday), from 6:00 pm.