8/17/10 – Hiroshima (Away)

August 17th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 2

Streak: Lost 3   Last 5: WWLLL

(Mazda Stadium)

Tokyo travelled to Hiroshima looking to get back on the winning trail after losing a tight series in Osaka this last weekend. But on the losing path they would remain after losing another tight game, this time in extra innings.

  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. Muranaka (P)

This one was dominated by the two starters, Muranaka and Shinoda, who both went deep into the game. Muranaka’s only allowed runs of the game came in the 3rd, with Higashide hitting a deep one to centre, which ended up a triple as Aoki couldn’t pull off the diving catch while running toward the warning track. Kurihara then brought him home one out later with a sacfly to right for 1-0 Hiroshima.

Muranaka went 7 innings (7H/3K/1BB/1HBP/1ER) and was helped out by some stellar plays in the outfield from Aoki and Ihara (who incidentally, is turning into a pretty competent outfielder after his early career troubles in the field) which kept him and the Swallows in the game. He wouldn’t figure in the final decision and his record would remain at 8-7/2.99.

And at 1-0 it looked like it would finish, with the Swallows struggling to get anything going against Shinoda, who allowed just the four hits through the 8th inning, never allowing more than a solitary hit in any one frame. But with just two more outs left in the 9th for his complete game shutout, Ihara slammed one over the fence in left centre for 1-1 and the Swallows had themselves an unlikely reprieve. It was Ihara’s twelfth homer of the season.

After Oshimoto (3.49) had worked a perfect 8th in relief of Muranaka, Matsuoka (1.71) came in to work the bottom of the 9th. Yes, the same Matsuoka who looked so tired and jaded while taking the loss against Hanshin on Sunday. But hey, he got one day’s rest right? He’ll be fine! It’s only appearance 55 of the year! Maybe Yakult’s research department can develop some kind of yogurt-based bionic limb for him when his arm inevitably drops off later in the season. Anyway, he did get two fairly swift outs as it looked like he would have a mercifully short outing, but two singles soon put paid to that. He eventually got the final out, getting pinch-hitting veteran Takuro Ishii to ground out to short.

And so to extra innings, with Hiroshima set-up man Yokoyama making easy work of the 10th inning, though pinch hitter Onizaki was deprived of an extra base hit by an excellent jumping catch at the wall in right from Hirose to end the inning.

Lim took the mound for the bottom of the 10th, and a single was followed by two outs and an intentional walk for Kurihara with first base now empty. Amaya then hit one into the ground that made it to short, Onizaki took the ball and threw to first, but couldn’t muster enough mustard on the throw, the runner was (barely) safe at first and, more crucially, the runner from second had made it home and it was sayonara time. 2-1 Hiroshima Final. Should probably go down as a somewhat of a balls up from Onizaki, but hey, after Kawabata’s two errors on Sunday, trouble at short seems to be the current theme.

Lim took the loss and his record now sits at 0-2-25/1.62.

The Swallows were outhit 11-5, with two hits coming from Tanaka (.319), and the others from Aoki (.335), Miyamoto (.260) and Ihara (.291).

Tokyo’s loss came despite them wearing snazzy throwback threads as part of the “Great Central Old Uniform Series” that’s taking place this week and next.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow evening to do it all again. Hopefully with a different outcome.

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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