7/4/10 – Chunichi (Home)

July 4th, 2010

Chunichi Dragons 8

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WWWWL

(Akita Komachi Stadium)

Don’t let the article image fool you! The Swallows fail to extend their winning streak in a very sloppy game against the Chunichi Dragons. Aoki did manage to collect career hit #1000, but aside from that hit there’s nothing else worth remembering about this game.

The lineup:

  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. Yoshinori (P)

Yoshinori started the game for the Swallows, and he made quick work of the Dragons’ first 3 batters in the top of the first inning. Little did we know then that Yoshinori was about to be taken out on a wild ride.

After the Swallows went down in order in the bottom of the first inning, Yoshinori took to the mound in the top of the second. He proceeded to walk the first 2 batters he faced, and then advanced them into scoring position by throwing a wild pitch. Cesar capitalized on the situation by smacking a single into left, to make the game 2-0 Dragons. Yoshinori got his first out on a strikeout to Oyama, but gave up a single to Donoue. Yoshinori got out number 2 on a groundout to short that advanced the runners, but it looked like Yoshinori might be able to get out of the inning only 2 down. No such luck, as Araki took a Yoshinori offering into right, to extend the lead to 3-0 Dragons. The Swallows finally got out of the inning when Hidenori grounds out to second.

The Swallows get lucky however, as it seems Dragons’ stater Nakata drank the same water Yoshinori drank. Nakata opened the bottom of the inning with 2 straight walks to Guiel and Whitesell. Aikawa launched a fly ball to deep right to advance a runner to third. Miyamoto got the Swallows on the board with a single to left, 3-1 Dragons. The wildness continued, as Nakata advanced the runners on a wild pitch of his own. Fujimoto strikes out weakly on a checked swing, bringing Yoshinori up to the plate. As if to atone for his mistakes in the top of the inning, Yoshinori smacked a single to left to tie the game at 3-3. Aoki wasn’t able to continue the scoring, and the inning ended on a ground out to short.

Unfortunately success at the plate didn’t translate to success on the mound for Yoshinori. He opened the inning with a walk to Morino and a double to Wada. Morino came around to score on a Blanco ground out, and Yoshinori gets the last 2 outs of the inning fairly quickly. However, that didn’t change the fact that the score was 4-3 Dragons.

Luckily for the Swallows, Nakata continued to struggle for the Dragons. He was pulled from the game after giving up back-to-back singles to Tanaka and Iihara to lead off the inning. Nakata’s replacement, Hisamoto looked to be getting things on track for the Dragons, getting Guiel and Whitesell to pop out weakly to the infield. Fortunately for the Swallows, Hisamoto didn’t have the Swallows completely figured out, as the team managed to tie and take the lead on another set of back-to-back singles. This time by Aikawa and Miyamoto. 5-4 Swallows

Yoshinori started the top of the forth with consecutive ground outs to short. He wasn’t able to make it a 1-2-3 inning, as Araki singled to center, and stole second on the next pitch. It looked like Yoshinori managed to get Hidenori to ground to short, but Fujimoto flubbed the ball short into the dirt in front of Whitesell. Araki managed to score on the error, tying the game at 5-5. Yoshinori was pulled at that point, and Oshimoto ended the inning with a strikeout, but the damage was already done.

Things slowed down until the top of the sixth inning. With Oshimoto still pitching, the Dragons get on base with a single by Donoue and a walk to the pinch-hitting Nomoto. The bases were loaded after Fujimoto got charged with a bobble on a ball hit weakly into the infield. Oshimoto managed to strikeout Hidenori, and Watanabe followed suit by getting Morino to swing at a slider outside. Masubuchi was brought in to face Wada, but wasn’t able to get the out. Wada’s hit rolled in between third baseman and the shortstop, and brought home 2 runs. 7-5 Dragons.

The Dragons scored an insurance run in the seventh to make the score, 8-5 Dragons. The Swallows got men on base every inning between the fifth and the eighth, including Aoki’s milestone hit in the sixth, but none of them came around to score. Iwase came in and got his league-leading 23rd save in the ninth. With Hiroshima’s 4-2 win over the BayStars, the Swallows fell back into 5th place in the Central League standings.

All in all a very sloppy game, and one we can hopefully write off as an aberration. The Swallows continue their trip away from Jingu, and will face the Tigers in a 3 game series starting Tuesday.

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.