4/23/10 – Yokohama (Away)

April 23rd, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4

Yokohama BayStars 0

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: WLDLW

(Yokohama Stadium)

Rookie Masato Nakazawa pitched a complete game shutout of the BayStars in only his third pro start as Tokyo got back to winning ways in a rainy Yokohama. The 25 year old went the distance on 108 pitches, giving up just 4 hits with 5 Ks and 2 walks. It was an extremely assured performance from the rookie, who after giving up a single in the 1st inning, didn’t give up another hit until the 7th, after which he never allowed more than a single hit in an inning.

Another night, another lineup from Takada, the major change being the apparent resting of Miyamoto:

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

Tokyo also managed some degree of rehabilitation with the bat as they amassed 10 hits, and even strung a few of them together on more than one occasion (nosebleed!), but of course they still managed to strand fair few men. The Swallows did all their damage in the 2nd off Yokohama starter Shimizu.

Back to back homers from Guiel (no.7 for the season) and Ihara (no.2 and his second in as many games) put runs on the board to make it 2-0 Tokyo before Takada had a chance to screw things up . After the outs of Fujimoto and Aikawa, the surprisingly adept bat of Nakazawa singled, as did Tanaka to put men on first and second with Morioka to come. The stand in third baseman then hit one deep to the wall between centre and right scoring two runs to make it 4-0. Morioka slid past third in all the excitement, and was tagged out easily by Murata to end the inning.

After that it was the usual procession of missed chanced for the Swallows. In the 4th, back to back two-out singles from Aikawa and Nakazawa put two on for  Tanaka. He hit one deep to the wall in right, but an exellent running juggled catch from rightfielder Yoshimura robbed Tokyo of an extension to their lead.

In the 6th, Morioka led off with a double, but three straight outs left him stranded on third.

In the 7th two two-out singles from the same pair of Aikawa and Nakazawa followed by a HBP for Tanaka loaded the bases for Morioka who was 2 for 3 with two doubles to this point. But he could only ground out to short and more runners were wasted. And with Nakazawa shutting down the game with his pitching, that was about it for a 4-0 Tokyo Final.

What a performance from Nakazawa then. Complete game shutout and a 3 for 4 batting performance. It doesn’t get much better than that really, and the fact that it’s only his third start as a pro makes it all the more impressive. His record now stands at 2 and 0 with his ERA at 1.29.

Aikawa (.214) and Morioka (.444) both had two hit games. Aoki, after his apparent ankle strain last night, went 0 for 5 and is now batting .347. He is going through somewhat of a slump, which is possibly not helped by the fact that Takada changes him from batting 1st, 3rd or 4th  depending on the tea-leaf reading after his pre-match cup of tea (ok, I might have made that last bit up).

D’Antona (.247) was hitless in his 4 plate appearances with two strikeouts. He was replaced by Takeuchi at first in the bottom of the 7th.

The two teams will do it all again tomorrow afternoon, hopefully in a lot nicer weather than this evening’s.

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