8/11/10 – Yomiuri (Home)

August 11th, 2010

Yomiuri Giants 5

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 7

Streak: Won 8   Last 8: WWWWWWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo displayed their tenacity in spades as they came from behind to win their eighth straight game. This is the first time in seven years the Swallows have put up eight wins on the bounce. Let me repeat that: this is the first time in seven years the Swallows have put up eight wins on the bounce. Exciting times are afoot, and with Tokyo now just 3 games under .500, and a mere 3.5 games out of a playoff spot, let’s take a moment to think about the depths from which we’ve come in such a short space of time.  And let’s also thank the lord of your choosing that this man is no longer with us. Finished? Good, then let us begin.

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

With tonight’s game seeing a matchup between the two teams’ traditional aces, with Ishikawa facing of against ultimate bitch-boy Utsumi, neither starter covered themselves in glory early on as both were eminently hittable. One manager would show faith in his man and the other would not, and no prizes for guessing which.

Ishikawa had himself an early lead as a 1st inning Tanaka walk was followed up by Yasushi Ihara’s ninth homer of the year, the ball sailing into the sea of the mentally challenged in leftfield to make it 2-0 Tokyo.

However, the lead would not last as Yomiuri slithered back into it in the top of the 2nd. Pig-boy Abe led off the inning with a solo homer to right for 2-1, before a double, a walk and a Miyamoto error at 3rd loaded the bases for Utsumi. He could only manage to ground out to short with one out being made at home which left the bases still juiced for Matsumoto. He dribbled one up the middle to score two and turn the scores around at 3-2 Yomiuri. Two groundouts then let Ishikawa escape with the deficit at just one.

But things would get worse for Ishikawa in the top of the 3rd, a single from your and my favourite Venezuelan Ramirez and another pig-boy homer extending the lead to 5-2 Yomiuri.

At this point it looked like the game could be running away from Tokyo, but this version of the 2010 Swallows simply doesn’t lie down and die like earlier incarnations of the team.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Aoki got things underway with an infield single (sliding head-first into first, the silly boy). Tanaka was then spared his usual Tak-bunt duties and he repayed the confidence with a single to right to put men on the corners for Ihara. He grounded out to short, the out was made at second with Aoki scoring to make things 5-3. Whitesell then singled to right and it was as you were with men on the corners, this time with two outs. Hatakeyama hit to right which brought home another run and things were getting closer at 5-4. That was it for Ustumi as he was replaced by Nomaguchi, and the starter retired to the bench, where he no doubt blubbed into his towel before Hara likely called for the hookers and coke from the Yomiuri stockpiles to cheer him up and take his mind off the fact that he is a complete and utter bitch.

Ishikawa finally found his rhythm in the top of the 4th, putting up his first 1,2,3 inning of the contest so far, and the bats once again did their part in the bottom of the inning. Kawabata singled to begin the inning, and was moved along by an assured sacbunt from Ishikawa. Aoki flew out to centre for out number two before Tanaka knocked one up the leftfield foul line to bring home the tying run and it was 5-5. But they weren’t done yet as Ihara slammed one into almost the exact same gaggle of morons in left for his second homer of the game (and tenth of the year) and Tokyo found themselves up 7-5.

Ishikawa let two men reach scoring position in the 5th, but after that didn’t give up another hit through the 7th inning, after which Matsuoka (1.63) pitched a perfect 8th in relief. Which of course meant that Lim took the mound for the 9th, and despite the umpires best attempts to help out their heroes in orange (Sakamoto was called safe at first after a grounder to short when he was clearly out) Lim struck out Ogasawara to end the game and take their first series against the Giants since opening weekend.

Ishikawa, fresh from being named the CL’s MVP for July won his 6th straight start after his gutsy 7IP/8H/5R(4ER)/7K/1BB performance, and his record is now tied up at 8-8/3.64.

Lim earned his 24th save of the year and his ERA is now at 1.45.

Aoki (.342), Tanaka(.313), Ihara (.287) and Hatakeyama (.309) all had two-hit evenings, with Ihara the star of the show with his two homer-five RBI performance.

Tokyo will seek what would be the most satisfying of sweeps tomorrow evening, but I’ll say no more for fear of the jinx.

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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

  • Andy G

    Ultimate bitch-boy, pig-boy, sea of the mentally challenged or gaggle of morons……. Hard to pick a favourite. Baseball reporting at its best!