9/11/10 — Hanshin (Away)

September 11th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Hanshin Tigers 2

Streak: Won 2  Last 5: DWLWW

(Koshien Stadium)

The Swallows managed to come from behind yet again to win 2 in a row against the Tigers in Koshien.

Lineup:

  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. Tateyama P

Today’s game was a fierce pitching duel with Tateyama facing the Tigers’ Messenger. Both pitchers located their pitches well and even when they let runners get on they pitched with poise and kept the score blank. So when the Tigers got the first runs in the game, it was because of a defensive miscue. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kanemoto and Johjima began the inning with back-to-back singles to put men on first and second. Tateyama got the first out of the inning when Shunsuke Fujikawa bunted the runners into scoring position. The second out came when Tateyama got Messenger to strike out swinging on 4 pitches. With two out and men on second and third, Tateyama faced the red hot Murton. It looked like Tateyama had managed to get Murton to ground out to third, but the usually sure-handed Miyamoto let the grounder go right through his legs. The error allowed both runners, who were running on contact, to score. Tateyama got the final out of the inning 3 pitches later when he got Hirano to ground out to second. 2-0 Tigers

The pitchers continued their duel for two more innings. The closest the Swallows got to scoring against Messenger was when they managed to get men on the corners with 2 outs in the top of the seventh. Both pitchers pitched 7 strong innings and kept their teams in the game.

Whitesell rounds first as Fujikawa slumps in defeat.

In the top of the eighth inning, the Tigers decided to bring out closer Kyuji Fujikawa to finish off the game. Fujikawa was coming off 2 consecutive save appearances where he pitched 2 innings. Perhaps because of the extra work, Fujikawa looked wild and didn’t exhibit control of his electric fastball. Fujikawa began the inning by hitting Fukuchi, who was pinch-hitting for Tateyama, on his foot. Clearly not where he wanted to put his first pitch. Two pitches later, Aoki took a Fujikawa breaking ball and singled to left. Tanaka bunted the runners into scoring position to bring up Iihara. Iihara brought home the first run for the Swallows by grounding out to second. With 2 outs and Aoki on second, Whitesell came up to the plate. Whitesell was a little late on the first pitch, a 152 km/h fastball, fouling it off. He didn’t make the same mistake on the next pitch, a 150 km/h fastball low and outside, shortening his swing and taking the ball into the left field stands. It was apparently Fujikawa’s first lead-changing homerun given up in hi career. 3-2 Swallows

Clinging to a 1 run lead, the Swallows played musical relievers in the eighth bringing out Masubuchi, Lee, and Matsuoka. Masubuchi allowed a lead-off single to Murton and was quickly pulled. Lee got 1 out from a Hirano Tak-bunt, and should have gotten another from a Toritani ground out to short. Unfortunately, Onizaki bobbled the ball, allowing Toritani to get on first. At which point Lee was pulled, and Matsuoka was brought in. Matsuoka battled Arai for 7 pitches before he got him to foul out to first. The next out came more quickly, as Matsuoka got Brazell to ground out to second in only 2 pitches.

The Swallows were not able to extend the lead in the top of the ninth against Kubota. In the bottom of the inning the Swallows brought out their own closer, Lim, to finish off the Tigers. Unlike the previous night, Lim managed to preserve the victory by getting 3 straight outs from the Tigers.

Notes

  • This series win against the Tigers was the first the Swallows managed at Koshien this season.
  • Tateyama pitched 7 innings, allowed 4 hits and 1 walk. Both runs he allowed were unearned.
  • Whitesell’s homer was his first one in 11 games.
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.