8/10/10 – Yomiuri (Home)

August 10th, 2010

Yomiuri Giants 3

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4

Streak: Won 7   Last 5: WWWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

The birds put their six-game winning streak on the line against Yomiuri in the latest version of the Tokyo derby. And even though they did a few things wrong, they did just enough things right to make sure that they came away with a win.

Tonite’s lineup:

1. Aoki CF
2. Tanaka 2B
3. Takeuchi RF
4. Whitesell 1B
5. Hatakeyama LF
6. Aikawa C
7. Miyamoto 3B
8. Kawabata SS
9. Muranaka P

With two outs in the first, Muranaka allowed Ogasawara a free trip to first. Muranaka would pay for that base as Ramirez then slugged his league-leading 37th home run of the season. 2-0 Yomiuri.

The birds stranded runners galore in the first and second. A bunt was a part of the problem in the first, but all in all the dice just weren’t falling our way. However, it must be pointed out that Muranaka helped kill some of the momentum that had been built in the second when he took a 3-0 swipe at a high offering (ball four?) from Greisinger and ended up popping out in foul territory.

But he made up for it in the fourth when he singled to right. That was after Miyamoto had doubled in Hatakeyama (who had earlier doubled). 2-1 Yomiuri.

The Swallows finally tied it up in the fifth when Whitesell rocked a two out, 1-0 pitch deep into the stands in right. 2-2.

But Yomiuri pulled ahead again in the eighth when Ogasawara took Matsuoka yard to start the inning. 3-2 Yomiuri.

Tokyo might have evened it up again in the bottom of that frame if not for some terrible base-coaching by our beloved Shiroishi over at third. Somebody please remind me why he was given that important job right after retirement. Anyone? No…? Anyway, the threat was quickly extinguished shortly after Shiroishi confused his ‘stop’ and ‘go’ signals when dealing with a hard-charging Fukuchi (Miyamoto single). Fukuchi was thrown out at home by a country mile.

But Aoki saved the team’s collective ass with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. 3 all!

After Lim’s perfect 10th, Masubuchi wobbled a little in the 11th but ultimately got out of a jam without surrendering any runs.

In the bottom of the 11th, D’Antona made a pinch-hit appearance and came through with his first hit since rejoining the team last week. Onizaki took his place on first, and Iihara dutifully bunted him over. Aoki was then intentionally walked, but the gamble didn’t work as Tanaka loaded the bases with a single and one out.

Pinch hitter, Noguchi, grounded out for out number two.

And then Fukuchi got beaned to force the winning run across home plate.

4-3 Tokyo!

It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.

Watanabe actually got the win on only one pitch of work. It was his first win in a Swallows uniform.

Matsuoka (1.66 ERA), Oshimoto (3.44),  Lim (1.49), Masubuchi (2.85), and Watanabe (6.00) made relief appearances in this game.

Muranaka (8-7; 3.09) didn’t factor in the decision even though he lasted seven innings while giving up two earned runs off of only five hits. His four walks were tempered by seven Ks.

On offense, Aoki gets a gold star for reaching base four times (single, walk, HR, intentional walk). Meanwhile, Tanaka and Miyamoto had two hits each, and Whitesell drew a walk in addition to his round-tripper.

Game two of this series is tomorrow night at 6PM.

Random thoughts:

Tanaka was called on to Tak-bunt twice in this contest. Neither worked. The second one was particularly bone-headed as there was already one out. The inning ended quickly as you might have suspected.

Tokyo outhit Yomiuri 12-9.

This was Tokyo’s second walk-off win of the season.

Tokyo’s current seven game winning streak is the longest of 2010 for the team. The last time they managed seven wins in a row was last June.

Standings & ResultsPlayer Stats

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

  • At one point the game was delayed because Hara (?) came out to contest something. Anyone know what was going on there? Was he just trying to buy time so that Greisinger would settle down?

    At any rate, the birds are now 4.5 games behind third place.

    • Eddy

      I just saw the highlights on TV last night. In the game, Swallows runner at first, steals to second. Swallows batter fakes a sac bunt . The batter who I forget the name of does not pull the bat back so it looks like a swing, but umpire calls it ball. Hara argues that it was a strike because the batter did not pull the bat back. From the replay, I think Hara's complaint was legitimate. It looked as if the batter was trying to bunt but missed.

    • On TV, he really seemed to be arguing that Muranaka blocked the throw from Abe when he attempted to bunt. Numerous replays were shown in super slow motion, the sportscasters dutifully tutted and said that Muranaka might have blocked Abe, but the replay clearly showed that Muranaka ducked shortly after the ball was released and that his bat was almost touching the ground before Abe had even caught the ball – he couldn't have interfered less without becoming the Flash. Hara was being an ass and maybe buying Greisinger some time.

  • MooreyTokyo

    Currently in the US, and saw the last 2 innings of this streamed live when I woke up this morning. Very enjoyable win. Thanks for the work on the site guys – it's been especially valuable for the weeks I'm away from Tokyo.

    Baseball question. How are wins awarded to pitchers? What are the criteria? I was interested to read that this win was Watanabe's. Cheers,


  • MooreyTokyo

    Interesting, thanks. I had no idea it could be subjective. Being from the UK and having watched all my baseball in Japan, there are still a few technicalities I am yet to understand!

  • SFBird

    Headed to the game today. Let's hope the birds can keep it up! Go Go Swallows!