4/20/10 – Chunichi (Away)

April 20th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Chunichi Dragons 3

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: LWLWL

(Nagoya Dome)

Tokyo continued their inability to string together more than one win as Chunichi edged a tight game in Nagoya, with a calamitous 5th inning screw up from Hiroyasu Tanaka ultimately proving the difference between the teams.

Tonight’s lineup:

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

Tateyama started for Tokyo, and was fortunate not to fall behind early. In the 1st he gave up three hits, but a double play and a poor decision to send Morino home (all the way from 1st) on a Blanco single off the wall in right meant the game remained scoreless. In the 2nd, he walked three which loaded the bases for Araki with two outs, but he could only ground out to let Tateyama off the hook once more.

Meanwhile the Swallows failed to generate much against Dragons starter Asakura, who was making his first start of the year.

Chunichi would finally take the lead in the 5th. Consecutive one out singles from Ariki and Ibata put men on the corners for Morino. He singled to bring make it 1-0 and put men on first and second. Next during Tony Blanco’s at bat, Tokyo would conspire to shoot themselves in the face in what in the end would be the difference between the two teams on the night.

Tateyama tried to pick off Ibata at second, and while it wasn’t the greatest throw in the world, Tanaka should have come up with it but he couldn’t (error number one), with the ball rolling away to the right of second base. The ball was then retrieved, and Hiroyasu then threw to third to try and get the advancing Ibata, but his throw was absolutely god-awful, with the ball rolling feebly into foul territory behind third as Tateyama watched in horror as Ibata scored to cap a bizarre “double-error” for Tanaka with the score now at 2-0 Chunichi.

Singles for Aoki and Miyamoto but two men on in the top of the 6th, but they were both followed up by strikeouts from Guiel and D’Antona respectively which left them there. And in the bottom of the inning the Dragons’ lead was extended by way of a Nomoto solo homer for 3-0 Chunichi.

Tokyo got back into it as they finally broke their duck in the 7th. Fujimoto led off the inning with his second single of the game before an error from Chunichi shortstop Ibata allowed Kawamoto to occupy first with no outs. Morioka, pinch hitting for Tateyama then punished the error, hitting a double to deep right which scored Fujimoto for 3-1 and put men on second and third. A groundout for the pinch-hitting Ihara put one out on the board which brought up the red hot (with the bat) Tanaka, and though he could only ground out to short, it was enough to bring home Kawamoto for 3-2. Aoki would then fly out to end the inning and strand the tying run at third.

In the 9th, against Chunichi ace closer Iwase, Tokyo did manage to get the tying run into a scoring position by way of a Kawamoto one out double, but Hatakeyama and Ihara couldn’t bring him home and it was 3-2 Chunichi Final.

Tateyama was a little unfortunate to take the loss given the Tanaka incident and the lack of run support, as his record slipped to 2-1/2.70 after giving up 3 runs (2 earned) off 7 hits in his 6 innings. Masubuchi (0.00) and Matsuoka (1.13) both pitched scoreless innings in relief.

The two teams both managed 8 hits apiece with Tokyo’s recent inability to consistently bring home runners striking again. Tanaka (.346) and Fujimoto (.250) both had two hit games while Guiel (.232) and D’Antona’s (.263) slumps continued as they both went hitless and combined for 5 strikeouts.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow evening, same time same place as Tokyo look for the win that will take them back to .500.

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

  • Can we stop the fielding errors, please?

  • When was the last time anyone saw a successful pickoff at second? I think I've seen that play fail horribly (i.e. runner got to advance) more than I've seen it succeed.

    • I've a faint memory of a successful one at from last year at Jingu (though that may have been the beer rose-tinting an otherwise painful memory), but that's about it.

      The risk:reward ratio for the manoeuvre is certainly skewed towards the risk side that's for sure.