7/14/10 – Chunichi (Away)

July 14th, 2010

Chunichi Dragons 1

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Streak: Won 4   Last 5: LWWWW

(Nagoya Dome)

A quality seven innings from Kyohei Muranaka laid the foundations for what initially looked like would be a straightforward win in Nagoya. Only an almighty wobble from closer Lim in the bottom of the 9th threatened to derail things, but Muranaka and Tokyo escaped with the win by the skin of their teeth.

  1. Aoki (CF)
  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Guiel (RF)
  4. Whitesell (1B)
  5. Ihara (LF)
  6. Aikawa (C)
  7. Miyamoto (3B)
  8. Fujimoto (SS)
  9. Muranaka (P)

Tokyo took the lead in the 3rd against Chunichi starter Asakura, who looked out of sorts from the off this evening. A one-out walk for Aoki and a single up the middle from Tanaka put men on first and second. Guiel then flew out for out number two before Whitesell poked one to the left of the diving Blanco at first and Aoki made it home to put the score at 1-0 Tokyo.

One more run followed in the 4th, this time with a lot of help from the Chunichi pitching staff. Fujimoto came within inches of increasing the lead by himself as he hit a one-out shot off the wall in right for a double. After a groundout from Muranaka, three straight walks for Aoki, Tanaka and Guiel (the last of which came off reliever Mise, in for Asakura) brought Fujimoto home to make it 2-0. Whitesell then struck out to leave the lead at two.

Two hits for Chunichi in the bottom of the 4th put Muranaka in his only real pinch of the game, but Cesar flew out to right for the final out of the inning with men on the corners to snuff out the threat.

And so it seemed the Swallows were coasting to their 4th straight win, with Matsuoka (1.70) posting a 1,2,3 inning in the 8th in relief of Muranaka, setting the stage for Lim to work a straightforward 9th. After all, Lim had only given up a solitary hit to the Chunichi bats so far this season. Only it didn’t quite go according to plan.

Facing the meat of the Dragons order Lim continually struggled to find the strikezone, walking Morino, then allowing a bloop single to right for Wada before walking Blanco to load the bases with no outs. Pinch hitter Nomoto also worked a walk, which scored Morino for 2-1 with the bases still juiced and no outs to be seen on the board. Tanishige then struck out trying to reach a breaking ball out of the zone and Lim had himself his first lucky break for out number one. The next almighty dollop of good fortune came as next man up Donoue hit the ball straight back to Lim who threw back home to instigate the 1-2-3 double play that ended the game. 2-1 Tokyo Final.

Muranaka got his well deserved win (7 innings on 124 pitches, 6 hits, 9 Ks, 0BB, 1 HBP) to put his record at 6-7/3.01 for the year.

Lim earned his 18th save of the year for his 35 pitch 9th as his ERA rose to 1.27.

Every member of the staring lineup bar Ihara registered one hit each, with Tanaka (.306) managing two. Aoki’s single in the 6th (he went 1 for 2 with 3 walks) extended his hitting streak to 14 games and he’s now batting .333.

The two teams will return to Nagoya Dome tomorrow evening to the final game of the rain-shortened series.

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