5/7/10 – Chunichi (Away)

May 7th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Chunichi Dragons 2

Streak: Lost 5   Last 5: LLLLL

(Nagoya Dome)

The Swallows went into their last series before entering the 2010 Interleague schedule hoping to find some way to but the brakes on their horrible slide into the CL basement before facing the Pacific League’s best. And while they put up a better fight than during last week’s Tokyo Dome debacle, they still came up just short as Chunichi prevailed with a walkoff 9th inning victory.

After weeks of seemingly random faffing with the starting lineup and order, Takada reverted back to the basic one that served Tokyo well in the early part of the season:

  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. Kawashima Ryo (P)
Tonight also saw the season’s first start for Ryo Kawashima, looking to provide some support to a rotation that has been hemorrhaging runs of late. And he did well, giving up just 1 run off 4 hits in his 6 innings of work, striking out 3 and walking 2. Now Ryo’s next test is to try to re-produce something similar in his next start given that consistency has never been his strong point.
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He gave up his only run in the 5th, via a double and single, but Tokyo drew level in the 7th off Chunichi starter Nakata, a pitcher who had restricted them to just two hits up until that point (but hey, that’s no great shakes given their current “potency”). D’Antona hit a double to get the inning started, and was moved around to third by a Guiel groundout. Miyamoto then brought him home with a single to right to make it 1-1. That would be the last hit Tokyo would manage.
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Matsuoka (1.42) worked a 1,2,3 7th and Oshimoto did the same in the 8th. But he would come unstuck in the 9th. Morino led off the inning with a single, but was out via a double play after Blanco flew out to centre as he misjudged the play and crept too far, not making it back to first before the ball did from the outfield. The danger then looked to be over, but not so. Oshimoto had already broke into one of his “I may well blow this” sweats as he walked next man Wada on four straight pitches. Ohshima then singled before Hidenori was plunked to load the bases. The sweat soaking through Oshimoto’s cap was now of the “you guys may as well switch off as this one’s over” variety as Tanishige poked one through the infield for a sayonara single and a 2-1 Chunichi Final.

Oshimoto took his second loss of the year in his 13th appearance, with his ERA now at 1.39.
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This marks the second time this season that Tokyo have lost 5 on the spin, and are they now 10 games behind 1st placed Yomiuri (12-22-1 record).
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More joy will no doubt follow when the two teams meet again tomorrow afternoon. Lovely.
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