5/27/10 – Tohoku (Home)

June 27th, 2010

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 3

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Streak: Tied 1   Last 5: LLLLD

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Welcome to the first game of the post-Takada era.

Glass is half-full version: Tokyo didn’t lose.

Starting lineup:

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

Tohoku took first blood in the third when Muranaka walked a couple of batters and then Nakamura punched one into right. Guiel’s throw home was on the money, but Aikawa couldn’t seal the deal. 1-0 Tohoku.

Another Muranaka walk in the fourth would prove costly when Watanabe, of all people, came through with a double. 2-0 Tohoku.

And the Swallows weren’t really able to answer. They were stymied most of the way by decent pitching and an apparent over-eagerness to win one for the new gipper. Tohoku starter, Nagai, only allowed four runners through the first six frames, and it began to look like a bit more of the same from the Swallows on Ogawa’s first day as manager.

But Tokyo finally got to Nagai in the seventh. D’Antona and Guiel led off with hard-earned walks and D’Antona was replaced (a bad move, in retrospect) by a pinch runner, Noguchi.  A no out sac bunt by Miyamoto moved the runners over before yet another walk was drawn by Fujimoto.

With the bases juiced, Aikawa made up for some of his prior shakiness behind the plate. He plopped one over the head of the center fielder to clear the bases and put the birds in front for the first time in ages. 3-2 Tokyo.

But it wouldn’t last.

Lim is on the farm team with some knee issues right now, so Matsuoka was brought in to pitch the ninth. Unhappy ending.

He ended up allowing three hits and one run in that inning to deflate the palpable hope billowing in the right field stands. 3-3 Final.

Three more innings came and went, but no more runs crossed home plate. Muranaka (3-4, 3.21) lasted six innings and only gave up two earned runs off of four hits. But what really killed him were the four walks that he issued.

In addition to Muranaka and Matsuoka (1.37), Masubuchi (2.13), Oshimoto (2.84), Kawashima (3.00) and Barnette (5.36) made appearances.

Only Fukuchi managed a multi-hit game today–even though he didn’t enter the game until the eighth inning.

Otherwise, Aoki, D’Antona, Guiel and Fujimoto reached at least two times each, but it was mostly by way of walks.

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