6/9/10 – Hokkaido (Away)

June 9th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 1

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: WLWLW

(Sapporo Dome)

Tokyo won the first of their four meetings in a week with their PL 6th-placed equivalents as they continued their affinity to alternate their wins and losses.

Tokyo’s starting lineup was notable for Guiel being switched to DH and for a rare appearance for one of the success stories of 2009  Onizaki (though he would ultimately finish the game hitless):

  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)

Facing rookie pitcher Masui, Tokyo did pretty much all their damage for the evening in the 3rd inning. A one-out single for Aoki followed by a wild pitch on the fourth ball of a walk for Tanaka put men on the corners for Guiel. He poked one through the infield to right which brought home a runner for 1-0 Tokyo. D’Antona then lifted one over the infield to left and the bases were loaded for Ihara. He hit the second pitch he saw over the fence in left for a grandslam home run and Tokyo had themselves a very healthy 5-0 lead.

The Fighters pulled a run back in the 4th off three hits for 5-1, and it could/should have been more if not for a momentum-snapping Nioka double play.

In the 5th, a walk for Tanaka, a D’Antona double and a chopper to right which bounced over the heads of the infield made it 6-1.

Shohei Tateyama worked 8 innings on 1o8 pitches for the Swallows, giving up just the 1 run off 11 hits with 2 Ks and 0 walks. He let a lot of men on base but, as is often his way, he didn’t let many of them score. He was, it must be said, helped by two big double plays and some general wastefulness from Hokkaido at the plate (Morimoto and Nioka in particular).

Lim (1.17) came in to work the 9th and struck out each man he faced to end the game at 6-1 Tokyo Final.

Tateyama took the win which put his record to 3-4/3.18.

Tokyo were outhit 11-10, with Ihara going 3 for 4 with 5 RBIs and his average now sits at .273. Slots 6-9 in the lineup went a combined 1 for 16. D’Antona went 2 for 4 (single and a double with a K) and his average is now at .224, and he’ll need to produce more nights like that with the impending arrival of Josh Whitesell (and I for one am rooting for him to do so).

The two teams will meet again tomorrow. I’m going to give up mentioning about the chance to win their first series/back-to-back games in two months, though it seems I inadvertently just have.

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