5/29/10 – Orix (Away)

May 29th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 11

Orix Buffaloes 4

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: LLLLW

(Kyocera Dome)

This was a very good evening for Tokyo indeed. They won their first game of the post-Takada era as their bats exploded into life to end their rotten losing streak. Plus Masanori Ishikawa finally got his long overdue first win of 2010. Smiles all around then.

Ogawa made his first real re-jig of the starting order in his second game in charge:

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

Things started well as Ishikawa got himself an early lead in the 2nd. With Kisanuki starting on the mound for Orix, a Takeuchi lead-off walk was followed up with a sac bunt from Miyamoto. The run was then brought home with a single to left from Aikawa for 1-0 Tokyo.

That lead only lasted until the bottom of the 4th however, with a Kitagawa two-run homer making it 2-1 Orix.

And thus it looked like it may be yet another of those nights for both Ishikawa and the Swallows, until things went batshit crazy from the top of the 6th onwards. A Guiel solo homer (13 for the season) tied things up at 2-2 before Takeuchi hit a double, Miyamoto singled for 3-2, Aikawa tripled for 4-2 and finally Fujimoto poked one up the middle for 5-2 Tokyo.

So Ishikawa finally had himself a healthy lead and a platform to get that long awaited win, but he did wobble a touch as he gave up a run off two hits and a wild pitch in the bottom of the 6th to make it 5-3. And it could have been worse but for an excellent throw home from Aoki combined with a great block from Aikawa (a rare thing there) which nailed Kitagawa who was trying to score from second following a Tsuji two-out single.

And Ishikawa was all but assured of his win in the 7th as four more Swallows runs crossed home plate: Fukuchi single, Guiel HBP, D’Antona single, Takeuchi single (6-3), Miyamoto sac-fly (7-3), Aikawa single (8-3) and a Fujimoto infield single off the pitcher’s glove (9-3).

But they weren’t done yet, as a Guiel walk, an Ueda double (in for D’Antona as a pinch-runner the inning prior), a Takeuchi walk loaded the bases for Miyamoto in the 8th. He could only groundout to second but it was good enough for 10-3 before Aikawa chipped in with a sacfly that brought home his 4th RBI of the game  to make it 11-3 Tokyo.

After Masubuchi (2.05) and Lee (21.60) had worked a scoreless inning apiece in relief of Ishikawa, Hashimoto (4.09) made tough work of the 9th, giving up a run off two walks, a hit batter and a single as it took him 33 pitches to get two outs. In came Matsuoka (1.35) with the bases loaded and he wrapped things up for a 11-4 Tokyo final.

So Tokyo had themselves their first win of Interleague play as their record breaking worst ever start came to an end. Ishikawa finally got his win in his 10th attempt and his record now sits at 1-6/4.07.

Every member of the starting lineup bar Tanaka had themselves a hit, with Fukuchi (.255) and Aikawa (.274) managing 3 each and Takeuchi (.256), Miyamoto (.242) and Fujimoto (.250) each with 2.

So then, has the corner been turned or is this just a false dawn under Ogawa? We’ll have a better idea after Tokyo go looking for their first series win since the first week of April against the Buffaloes at Kobe’s Skymark Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

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