7/3/10 – Chunichi (Home)

July 3rd, 2010

Chunichi Dragons 2

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4

Streak: Won 5   Last 5: WWWWW

(Akita Komachi Stadium)

The Swallows looked to extend their winning streak to 5 games in game 1 of a home away from home series in Akita. Hometown boy Ishikawa (2-8) took the mound for the Birds, and the announced crowd of 17,318 were solidly behind the team. Everyone was also excited to see if Aoki would reach 1000 hits for his career. With only 2 hits to go anticipation was high whenever Norichika came up to bat.

Tonight’s lineup is the one we’ve all become familiar with:

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

Ishikawa was hot to start off the game, sending the Dragons’ batters down in order in the first two innings. The Swallows got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the 2nd inning. With one out, Aikawa and Miyamoto hit back-to-back singles putting men on first and second. A Fujimoto grounder advanced Aikawa to third, and brought up the hometown hero up to bat with 2 outs. Ishikawa managed to rise to the occasion and bounced a single over the pitcher’s head and into center field, bringing home a run. 1-0 Tokyo

Despite giving up a single to lead off the third, Ishikawa calmly got out of the inning and looked to be chugging along. The Dragons’ starter Yamai struggled with his control all game, and he managed to load the bases with 2 straight walks with 2 outs in the bottom of the 3rd. Unfortunately, Miyamoto wasn’t able to bring anyone home as his liner went straight into the shortstop’s glove. Ishikawa also let a man on in the forth, but managed to escape by inducing a double play.

The Swallows increased their lead in the bottom of the forth. Fujimoto lead off the inning with a single to left. Unfortunately he was tagged out when Ishikawa’s Tak-bunt attempt failed. Yamai sandwiched a Tanaka strikeout, between walks to Aoki and Iihara bringing Guiel up to bat. Guiel calmly took a bases-loaded walk from Yamai to increase the score. Tokyo 2-0 Whitesell wasn’t able to increase the score, as he grounded out to second.

The fifth inning featured another hit given up by Ishikawa being erased by a double play. The Swallows went three up, three down in the bottom of the inning. The Dragons started the sixth with an infield single by Donoue. However, unlike the previous inning the next batter didn’t ground into a double play. Instead, pintch-hitter Matsui singled to center. An Araki bunt advanced the runners to scoring position. Ishikawa managed to get Hidenori to ground to third and the Dragons had runners on second and third with two out. But just when Swallows fans were starting to feel confident, Ishikawa threw a wild pitch slightly wide of Aikawa and the Dragons got onto board. 2-1 Tokyo. With a man on second, Morino blooped a single into shallow center field. That hit brough in the runner, and tied the game 2-2.

The Swallows threatened to take back the lead in the bottom of the inning. Aoki got hit #999 of his career with 1 out, and Tanaka followed up with a successful hit and run. This put runners on the corners with 1 out. Iihara fouled out, but Guiel was able to induce a walk from the Dragons’ Shimizu. With 2 outs and the bases-loaded, Whitesell came up to bat again. Like the first time, Whitesell wasn’t able to increase the lead as he struck out swinging.

Ishikawa got pulled in the middle of the seventh after giving up two hits. Masubuchi cleaned up nicely, ending the inning with a strikeout. Both teams managed hits in the subsequent frames, but couldn’t manage to do anything with them.

With the score ted at 2, the Swallows started the bottom of the eighth with Aoki. Aoki could not manage to get career hit #1000, as he grounded out sharply to first. Tanaka and Iihara managed back-to-back singles which brought up Guiel to the plate. Aaron took the first pitch he saw and launched it into left field, but unfortunately the ball went right into the left fielder’s glove. So Whitesell came up to the plate with 2 outs and a man in scoring position for the third time of the night. This time, however, he smashed the first pitch into left center field for a stand up double, scoring Tanaka and Iihara. 4-2 Tokyo.

Lim efficiently worked the ninth, picking up 2 strikeouts and his 15th save of the year.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Josh Whitesell now has a 5 game hitting streak to start his NPB career, and was the game’s hero (3rd time in 5 games).
  • Matsuoka, who worked the eighth, was given the win.
  • Tanaka, Iihara, and Fujimoto had multi-hit games.
  • The Swallows look to extend their wining streak to a season high 6 games tomorrow, in game 2 of their home away from home series against the Dragons in Akita.
About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.

  • Dude, you just jinxed it. Don't mention the possibility of good milestones.

    • Too late……

    • Kozo

      I'm not particularly superstitious, but far be it from me to go against editorial policy of Tsubamegun. (^_^)