8/31/10 – Yomiuri (Away)

August 31st, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 12

Yomiuri Giants 8

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: LWLLW

(Kanazawa)

After being fairly well beaten in the last two games against the Tigers this weekend, the Swallows took some of the bad taste from their mouths with a win against our other favourite CL brethren.

  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)

Tokyo got the wheels turning in the 1st against Yomiuri starter Tohno who’d lost in his last start against the birds. A leadoff single from Aoki, a Tanaka flyout for out number one, another single from Ihara were followed up by a timely single from Whitesell to right to make it 1-0 Tokyo. Hatakeyama’s letters then received a brush from a Tohno pitch inside and the bases were loaded for Aikawa, and the catcher singled to left to bring home another run for 2-0. Miyamoto then hit one to Sakamoto at short, but he couldn’t hold onto it, allowing one more to score on the error and the bases to remain loaded with the score now at 3-0. Tohno was then spared further embarrassment by Kawabatya hitting into an inning ending double play.

Muranaka gave up a run off the one hit, a leadoff solo shot from Sakamoto, in the bottom of the 1st for 3-1.

Fortunately, the let’s all laugh at Tohno party continued in the 2nd unabated.  A leadoff walk for Muranaka, an Aoki double and a Tanaka hit to centre made it 5-1 and that was it for Tohno, off for his trademark red-eyed blubfest on the bench. What. A. Bitch. He. Truly. Is.

Replacing him on the mound was 19 year old Lin, but he didn’t fair much better, allowing singles for Ihara and Whitesell (6-1) before Hatake grounded out to third for out number one. A single from Aikawa made it 7-1 and then Miyamoto hit a liner to short that was caught for out number two. One up the middle from Kawabata added yet another run (8-1) before Muranaka earned his second walk of the inning to load the bases. And it was another walk, this time for Aoki, that would score the final run of a big inning leaving the score at 9-1 Tokyo.

Muranaka joined in with the walk-parade in the bottom of the 2nd as a single and three walks scored Yomiuri’s second run for 9-2, but he escaped the inning without further damage as Tani struck out with the bases juiced.

Three more Tokyo runs followed in the 3rd, with singles from Ihara, Hatake and Aikawa (10-2) and a two-run double from Kawabata making it 12-2.

With the Swallows shooting their load so early before being kept quiet by a procession of Yomiuri relievers, it was a case of trying to stem the inevitable Yomiuri fightback. Muranaka gave up two runs in the 4th and three more in the 7th before being replaced. His final pitching line read 6.2IP/12H/9K/3BB/1HBP/7ER as he left the game with the score at 12-7. Oshimoto (3.45) came in and got the final out of the 7th.  Matsuoka (2.59) gave up a run in the 8th (12-8) but it was of the unearned variety after the eventual run scorer Matsumoto reached base on an error from substitute shortstop Araki.

After that Lim (1.50) did his thang in the 9th to earn his 27th save of the year and that was that, 12-8 Tokyo Final.

Muranaka took the win, his record now standing at 10-7/3.33.

Tokyo outhit the opposition 18-13 with 14 of those hits coming in the first three innings. Aoki (.350), Ihara (.282), Aikawa (.297) and Kawabata (.336) all had three hit evenings while Aikawa and Kawabata both led in the RBI stakes with three each.

They will now travel to Toyama for the final game in the quick two-game countryside series, then get a day off Thursday before the weekend series in Yokohama.

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