6/10/10 – Hokkaido (Away)

June 10th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 4

Streak: Won 2 Last 5: LWLWW

(Sapporo Dome)

They finally did it. For the first time since Tokyo beat the Yokohama Baystars on the 2nd and 3rd of April, the Swallows have won back to back games and thus won a series. That’s all I really need write, but let’s celebrate this momentous occasion with a bit more detail. Just for fun.

Tonight’s lineup was the same as the night before, with Onizaki given another chance to shine:

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

With Yanuki on the mound for the Fighters Tokyo racked up 5 hits over the first 3 innings, but they all came to a big fat zero. Until they took the lead in the 4th by way of the longball. Solo homers from Aikawa (no.5 for the year) and Onizaki (first of the year) made it 2-0 Tokyo.

Another two runs followed in the 5th. Tanaka led off the inning with a single, and after Guiel flew out for out number one, D’Antona walked to put men on first and second. Up stepped Ihara who hit a grounder straight at Hokkaido second baseman Kensuke Tanaka, who paused for a second as he thought about whether or not to try to apply the tag to D’Antona who had held up his run to second. In the end he threw to make the out at first as Jamie trundled to second, and the throw from Nioka from first to try to get the out at second got away, allowing Tanaka to score and D’Antona to reach third, 3-0 Tokyo. Aikawa then singled to left to bring home Jamie and it was 4-0 Tokyo.

And it would be five in the 6th, as an error allowed Fukuchi to reach base, and he was brought home one out later by a Hiroyasu Tanaka double for 5-0.

Up until this point, Tokyo starter Nakazawa had little trouble containing the Fighters attack, giving up just 2 hits through his first 5 innings of work. But that would all change in the bottom of the 6th, as three consecutive singles made it 5-1, before ex-Swallow Inaba hit one out of the park to make it a much more precarious affair at 5-4. That was it for Nakazawa as he was replaced by Oshimoto (4.18) who escaped the inning with the lead still intact.

But just as the fabled series win was starting to look like it may escape yet again,  another ex-Swallow Masao Kida allowed an insurance run to his old friends after hits from D’Antona, Ihara and Miyamoto in the 7th. 6-4.

The bullpen then brought home the win for Nakazawa as Masabuchi (2.90) , Matsuoka (1.14) and Lim (1.10) worked scoreless 7th, 8th and 9th innings respectively. Lim, just as he did the night before, made easy work of his three men as he earned his 8th save of the year. 6-4 Tokyo Final.

Nakazawa got his win, his first since May 1st, and his record is now 4-3/3.68.

Tokyo outhit Hokkaido 15-9, with Tanaka (.298) the star of the show with a 4 for 5 performance. The bottom of the order also showed up unlike the night before with Aikawa (.288), Miyamoto (.235) and Onizaki (.154) all having 2 hit evenings.

So then, the long wait is over and thank fook for that. Tokyo can now turn their attention to two games in Sendai against the Eagles from Saturday, before taking on the Fighters again at Jingu for the last two games of this year’s IL schedule from Monday.

Oh, and the Swallows are now no longer bottom of the IL standings as the slumping Baystars are now in that 12th position. Movin’ on up!


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

  • flick

    Nice win. However I was following this one on the internet at work, and there were a couple of questionable moves that maybe someone who saw this on TV can elaborate on. One was Aikawa bunting in the 7th, when he had 3 balls and no strikes. It did lead to a score but it seemed like a strange move. Also, changing Onizaki who seemed to have been in a groove for Hatakeyama, who ended the inning on a double play. That was also weird. Was the ghost of Takada haunting us, or were those moves legit?

    • The bunt was a very questionably move, you're right, especially as Kida was really stuggling with his control at that point. But as you said, the run did score so that separates it from the usual tak-bunt!

      The Onizaki switch was just down to Kida being replaced by a lefty on the mound so they went with the righty Hatake. So that one was more legit, even though I would have just stuck with Onizaki, who as you say was getting into a groove.

      So the ghost of Takada is still present, and let's not forget that Ogawa has said he's not going to make any drastic changes to the way the team is managed so expect to see more Takadaisms throughout the rest of the year……

  • Thanks for the reply!
    Takadaism….nonetheless I am liking Ogawa so far.