6/13/10 – Rakuten (Away)

June 13th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 1

Streak: Won 4   Last 5: LWWWW

(Kleenex Stadium Miyagi)

Hats off to the birds for the current winning streak which ties their season-best of four games. And may I remind you that the last two wins came against Iwakuma and Tanaka, two of Japan’s best starters, while giving up a total of only two runs during their two-game stay in Sendai.

Other good news: Darvish pitched yesterday, so the Swallows won’t have to deal with him either tomorrow or Tuesday when the Fighters are in town for those two rescheduled games (both start at 6PM).

This afternoon’s lineup:

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

Yoshinori (2-5; 4.61 ERA) started this one for the Swallows–a bit of a homecoming for him as he grew up in Sendai.

And the kid had a good game. He lasted one out shy of eight innings while giving up only five hits and a single earned run off of 128 pitches. He struck out two and walked three and was actually perfect through the first three innings of the afternoon.

The Eagles finally got to Yoshinori in the fifth. Yamasaki scored the first run of the game on a solo shot to right with no outs. 1-0 Tohoku.

D'Antona's bases loaded sac fly leveled the game.

But that was all the run-scoring that the Eagles could muster despite getting two runners on base immediately after Yamasaki’s homer in the fifth, and in the sixth and eighth innings as well.

Tokyo did the bulk of it’s damage in the top of the eighth inning while trailing by a run. Fukuchi reached base on a single before Aoki put him on third with a double. Tanaka recorded the first out of the game on a grounder, but Guiel drew a walk to load the bases.

Next man up, D’Antona, hit a sac fly to left that scored Fukuchi to tie the game at 1-1.

With two outs, Iihara drew another walk to load the bases once again, and then Aikawa did the same to get Tanaka (Tohoku’s starter) to walk in the go-ahead run. 2-1 Tokyo.

Protecting a one run lead, Yoshinori was yanked, quite wisely, with two outs in the eighth after he gave up consecutive singles to Teppei and Nakamura. The look on Yoshinori’s face was a dead giveaway that he could feel the pressure mounting, and consequently his slider stopped breaking, so Matsuoka was brought in to deal with the battle-hardened Yamasaki. The veteran made Matsuoka work for the out by laying off the forkballs, but he was eventually caught napping on an inside heater to end the threat and the inning, and preserve Yoshinori’s bid for his second with of the season.

Tokyo added an insurance run in the ninth. Tohoku’s Katayama recorded the first two outs of the inning with

Tanaka doubles to bring Aoki home from first.

relative ease before having to deal with Aoki–who, I might add, is heating up after a rather forgettable month of May.

Aoki singled to bring up the only batter on the team who is currently hitting better than Aikawa, and that would be Tanaka. He’s 9-15 over the course of the current winning streak (not to mention his three walks and four RBIs), and he came through again today with a clutch double to left that scored Aoki from first. 3-1 Tokyo.

Lim came in to take care of the ninth on only eight pitches, and that was the end of things as the Swallows continue to put the pieces back together in the early stages of the post-Takada era. Today was Lim’s 10th save of the season.

Aoki and Tanaka had two hits each while Guiel also reached base twice care of a single and a walk. Iihara added two walks to his second inning single for a team-leading three times on first base.

Tokyo will attempt to keep the good times rolling when the Fighters come to town tomorrow.

Random notes:

The Swallows outhit the Eagles 9-5.

Yoshinori’s ERA improved from 5.14 to 4.61 after his effort this afternoon.

Tanaka extended his hitting streak to nine games. During that time he’s gone 14-30 (1 HR) with 11 RBIs and four walks. His nine game vitals: .467 batting average; .529 OBP; and .667 SLG.

Guiel hasn’t been hit by a pitch in over a week which must be some kind of record. Regardless, he leads the country with 14.

D’Antona no longer leads the league in strikeouts.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini

  • With this win and Yokohama's loss in Osaka, Tokyo are now no longer in last place in the CL. They are now 3 games behind the 4th placed Carp and 1 game ahead of the Baystars.