3/30/10 – Chunichi (Home)

March 30th, 2010

Chunichi Dragons 2

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Won 3   Last 5: LWWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Fresh after winning a series in the Tokyo Dome for the first time since 2004 on opening weekend, there were plenty more reasons for optimism after Tokyo downed Chunichi in tonight’s home opener. Primary amongst those reasons was the debut of rookie Masato Nakazawa. Despite falling behind early to a 1st inning Blanco two-run homer, the 25 year old maintained his composure to complete 5 and 1/3 innings having given up just those two initial runs off 4 hits, striking out 6 and walking 4.

Tokyo named an unchanged lineup for the third straight game:

  1. Fukuchi (LF)
  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Aoki (CF)
  4. D’Antona (1B)
  5. Guiel (RF)
  6. Miyamoto (3B)
  7. Fujimoto (SS)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Nakazawa (P)

The Swallows would halve the early Chunichi lead in the bottom of the 1st against Dragons starter Yamai. Tanaka worked a one-out walk before taking second on a wild pitch. He was then brought home by an Aoki single to make it 2-1 Chunichi.

Nakazawa then had two 1-2-3 innings before the Swallows took the lead in the bottom of the 3rd. Fukuchi singled to lead off the inning, and was brought home (after the inevitable steal) one out later by an Aoki double to tie things up at 2-2. Walks for Guiel and Miyamoto then loaded the bases for Fujimoto, who endeared himself to the Jingu faithful by poking one up the middle to bring home two runs to make it 4-2 Tokyo.

The Swallows final run came in the bottom of the 4th, Fukuchi again getting on base with a single, with Tanaka bringing him home with a double for 5-2 Tokyo.

Nakazawa finally ran out of steam in the 6th, giving up a one out double followed by two walks which saw him replaced by Yoshikawa from the bullpen. The reliever managed to get Ibata to hit into a double play and the inning was over with the runners stranded and Nakazawa’s chance for a win remained intact.

Yoshikawa then pitched a scoreless 7th despite giving up two hits before Oshimoto pitched an impressive K-K-single-K 8th. Lim allowed a hit in the 9th but got the job done to earn his 2nd save of the year and the win was Nakazawa’s.

Tokyo outhit the Dragons 9 to 8, with two hits each from Fukuchi (.333), Aoki (.533) and the impressive Fujimoto (.364). D’Antona (.385) and Guiel (.417) both were hitless in their four plate appearances, though Aaron did walk twice and Jamie made base with a HBP to the back.

So yet more positives for 2010. The debut of Nakazawa, the continuation of Aoki’s hot start, the promising start in a Swallows uniform for Fujimoto plus a good outing for the bullpen in their first proper shift of work this season. Long may the good times roll.

The two teams will be back at Jingu tomorrow evening to do it all again.

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

  • What did you think of the pre-game tunes, Dave?

    • As you well know, I love me some uplifting Christian pop tunes, and thus I was enthralled.

  • Haven't been able to watch a game via online stream yet, but so far, it's looking like a promising season.

  • Brazzo

    I'm afraid I didn't get there until the end of the 1st inning. What did I miss ? Onward Christian Soldiers or Miserere Mei ?