8/22/10 – Chunichi (Away)

August 22nd, 2010

Chunichi Dragons 2

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: WWWLW

(Nagoya Dome)

Today’s rubber match against the Dragons seemed to be following the same script as last night’s game, with the Birds taking the early lead and giving it up in one bad inning. However, today the Swallows were able to snatch victory from the clutches of defeat.

Today’s lineup featured the same lineup as last night with Tony Barnette as the starting pitcher:

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

Both Barnette and the Dragons’ starter Nakata were somewhat sloppy throughout as both pitchers scattered hits and walks in most of the innings they pitched. However, both managed to keep damage to a minimum most of the way.

The Swallows struck first in the top of the third inning. Iihara got the offense started with a 1 out double. After Whitesell went down on a foul out, Hatakeyama watched 6 pitches go by and earned a walk without ever swinging his bat. With two out and men on first and second Aikawa came up to the plate. Aikawa managed to take the second pitch he saw from Nakata and put it into center allowing Iihara to score from second. Miyamoto wasn’t able to keep the offense going as he struck out on three straight pitches. 1-0 Swallows

Despite allowing 2 runners in 4 out of 5 innings, Barnette somehow managed to keep the Dragons scoreless through 5 innings. Unfortunately, in the bottom of the sixth inning Barnette’s luck ran out. Barnette managed to get the first batter, Fujii to ground out harmlessly on just two pitches. It was the last out Barnette would manage to get out of the Dragons. Tony walked the next two batters he faced. The next batter up was the pitcher, Nakata. As expected, Nakata came out bunting. Unfortunately,  instead of getting a free out and lowering the Dragons’ chances of scoring, Barnette missed the throw to first allowing a run to come around to score. Still one out with men on first and second, couldn’t stop the Dragons. Barnette allowed a hit to Araki to load the bases, and bring out Ogawa to end his night. In order to match up against the lefty Nomoto, the Swallows brought out Watanabe from the bullpen. Watanabe promptly gave up an infield single to Nomoto on his first pitch, allowing another run to score. Matsui was brought out to face the dangerous Wada, and he finally ended the Dragons’ run by inducing a 5-4-3 double play. 2-1 Dragons

Both sides’ pitching finally settled down in the seventh and eight innings recording perfect innings. The Swallows got their perfect frames from Matsui who continued pitching into the seventh inning, and Oshimoto who came into pitch the eighth. With the Dragons’ closer Iwase due to come up in the ninth, it was beginning to look like yesterday’s game.

Iihara hits the go-ahead single

Today’s Swallows weren’t going to go down without a fight. Miyamoto lead off the inning with a single to left. Kawabata followed with an ultimately useless Tak-bunt to bring Noguchi, running for Miyamoto, to second. Iwase proceeded to walk D’Antona, hitting for Oshimoto, and Aoki to load the bases. Tanaka quickly got behind against Iwase but managed to hit a high chopper to second for an infield single that scored Noguchi from third. With the score tied and the bases still loaded, it was Iihara’s turn to take the lead. Iihara took the second offering from Iwase and poked it into right field allowing the go-ahead run to score. While neither Whitesell or Fukuchi were able to further capitalize on the bases loaded situation, the Swallows went into the bottom of the ninth with a lead. 3-2 Swallows

With a 1 run lead the Swallows handed the ball off to Lim to close out the game. Ever the attention seeker, Lim decided to do his best Iwase impression for the Nagoya fans before he finally dashed their hopes for victory. Lim started off the inning by giving up a 1 pitch single to Araki. Nomoto dutifully lowered his team’s chances of scoring by bunting Araki over to second. Lim then got Donoue the elder to fly out to center. Then, Lim made things interesting by walking Morino and Blanco to load the bases. Up to bat was Fujii, who had 2 hits up to this point in the game. Luckily for Swallows fans, Lim decided to go after Fujii and managed to get him to strikeout swinging to end the game.

The Swallows are once again just 1 game under .500 (53-54-2), and will look to bring their record into positive territory against the Yokohama BayStars at Jingu Stadium starting on Tuesday night.

Notes

  • Oshimoto earned the win for his perfect eighth inning. Lim earned his 26th save for the year.
  • Barnette pitching line read 5.1 IP / 6 H / 5 BB / 1 HB / 2 R / 1 ER.
  • Watanabe’s 1 pitch appearance was his fourth in 7 appearances.
  • Aoki, Iihara, and Kawabata each had 2 hits in the game.

Standings & ResultsPlayer Stats

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.