6/14/10 – Hokkaido (Home)

June 14th, 2010

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 3

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 8

Streak: Won 5   Last 5: WWWWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

When this game was originally scheduled to be played (May 23rd), Takada was still at the helm, the birds had just gotten whupped by Chiba 20-4, and the team was in the midst of an eight-game losing streak.

What a difference three weeks make.

Tonite’s lineup:

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

Tokyo got down and dirty real early in this one.

Aoki led off with a single before Tanaka Tak-bunted him over to second. Guiel then occupied the empty space at first by drawing a walk which set the table for D’Antona to hit one over the fence in right. It was his ninth homer of the season. 3-0 Tokyo.

Iihara chipped in with a walk of his own, the then Aikawa followed with the first of his four singles to put runners on first and second again. Miyamoto then came through with a single to left that plated Iihara. 4-0 Tokyo.

Too bad about that bunt because the second out of the inning didn’t even arrive until Muranaka, the ninth batter of the inning, struck out. Aoki then ended the inning by lining out to short.

Muranaka's Kroon impersonation. Very dramatic in the rain. Wrong hand though.

Ogawa wasted another out in the fourth with a Tanaka Tak-bunt after Aoki had reached base on a single. And yet again, D’Antona was there to make the decision look that much more foolish by crushing his second homer of the night over the fence in center. This two run shot was his tenth of the year and second of the game. 6-0 Tokyo.

Hokkaido finally got on the board in the top of the fifth with a little two out rally that made the score 6-1 Swallows.

But the birds answered back with another two runs in the bottom of that inning. Tokyo actually got a little help, in the form of an error, from former teammate Atsunori Inaba who was playing first base at the time. Aikawa and Miyamoto had come up with back-to-back singles just prior to the Inaba blunder, and Aikawa was able to score. 7-1 Tokyo.

Tokyo’s last run of the game came on Tanaka’s bases loaded groundout to third in which Miyamoto was able to sneak home. 8-1 Tokyo.

Things began to unravel quickly for Muranaka in the seventh. With the rain still falling, he allowed three hits, a walk, and two RBIs without recording an out, so Masubuchi had to come in to quiet things down a bit. Which he did in one, two, three fashion. 8-3 Final.

Matsuoka (1.04 ERA) and Oshimoto (4.01) pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, and Muranaka got the win. Muranaka (4-5; 3.56) threw 126 pitches and allowed three earned runs off of seven hits. He also notched five strikeouts and conceded two walks.

The clear standout on offense was Jamie D’Antona who went 2-5 and clubbed two round-trippers and amassed five RBIs. Aikawa also had an excellent game–he went 4-4 and scored once.

Miyamoto and Aoki both had two-hit games with the latter throwing in a walk for good measure.

The final game of this series, the only one in which the Swallows were able to take at lease three of the games, is scheduled for tomorrow night–weather permitting.

Random thoughts:

Tokyo is now riding a season high five-game winning streak.

Tanaka’s consecutive game batting streak came to an end at nine games. Of course, it’s probably fair to wonder what might have been if two of his at-bats hadn’t been wasted on Tak-bunts.

Muranaka leads the league with 9.48 K’s per nine innings.

Tokyo is now just 2.5 games behind the fourth place Hiroshima Carp.

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

  • zunlin

    The Tanaka Tak-Bunt calls were awful.
    Aikawa is my new hero!

  • Kozo

    Both of Jamie's homers were screaming liners that barely cleared the fence (glad Jingu has fairly low walls).

    I'm hoping Ogawa was just playing extra conservative because of the rain, and that he'll let Tanaka swing more freely like in previous games once the weather gets better.

  • Were any of you guys there tonight? I had a great time despite being on the Fighters' side. My sneakers are still squishing from being totally soaked through, though.

    Bizarrely, despite this being my 16th baseball game at Jingu so far this year, it was only my first pro game. I really need to start using up my Yakult fan club freebies, dammit. I'll be there again tomorrow night (the weather will be fine, don't worry) and then hopefully for some Kutabare Yomiuri next Tue-Thur sometime.

  • I always appreciate your excellent summary 🙂 Enjoy reading your articles!
    As a big fan of the catcher Aikawa, watching today's game in Jingu was exactly a lucky for me. I hoped Muranaka managed to finish his 7th inning, but anyway he did good job in the bad weather. 🙂
    However, I'm worried if Aikawa is OK with his right hand – hit by a ball. After that 'accident' he made another single though, he looked so tired and painful with that after the game 🙁

  • Mac

    Was wondering if you were even alive D! I was planning to go to this game but an international conspiracy of British weather, free Cuban cigars and Belgian Beer and Global football kept me away. Should be there tonight.

  • Aikawa, with his 4 for 4 batting yesterday, became the batter with the second highest batting average during interleague. The man is on a tear.
    http://bis.npb.or.jp/2010/stats/bat_inter.html
    Hope he does some damage tonight.