9/18/10 – Chunichi (Home)

September 18th, 2010

Chunichi Dragons 1

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

Streak: Won 2   Last 5: LLLWW

(Meiji Jingu)

The Swallows keep their slim playoff hopes alive behind the bend-but-don’t break pitching of  Tateyama.

The Lineup

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

The Dragons struck first in the top of the second inning, when Blanco lead off the inning with a homerun to right. 1-0 Dragons

Thw Swallows faced a major scare in the bottom of the third when Masa Yamamoto, the Dragons’ oyaji pitcher, drilled Aoki in the right kneecap. Aoki was slow to get up and was visibly hobbled for the rest of the night. No word yet on Aoki’s prognosis.

The Swallows tied the game in the next inning when Yamamoto surrendered a walk, dead ball, and a wild pitch to put Hatakeyama and Whitesell on third and second. Iihara managed to cash in Hatake with a sac fly to right. Aikawa followed with a single but was caught trying to get to second, killing the Swallows momentum. Kawabata ended the inning by flying out to left, stranding Whitesell on third. 1-1 All

The Swallows finally took the lead in the fifth. Yamamoto got two quick outs from Tanaka and Tateyama, but even with a bum knee Aoki managed to keep the inning alive with an infield single to first base. Miyamoto doubled to left to put Aoki on third. Aoki was clearly not comfortable running the bases. Hatakeyama managed to cash in the runners on a controversial triple to right. Hatake looked hit a foul ball into shallow right field, but when Fujii attempted a diving catch he booted the ball further into foul territory. The umpire ruled that the ball was going fair, and Hatake made it to third as Fujii thought the ball was foul. Ochiai came out argue the call and was calmly ejected from the game for his troubles. 3-1 Swallows

After the inning, Fukuchi came out to replace Aoki in center. Throughout all the game Tateyama kept allowing base runners in each inning, but beyond his one mistake to Blanco, he kept the Dragons from touching home.

The Swallows kept the scoring going in the six. Iihara lead off the inning with a single. Aikawa caught the defense napping by pushing a bunt past Yamamoto on the first base-side into no-man’s land to get a safety bunt. After Aikawa’s display of effective bunting, Kawabata showed the crowd how it shouldn’t be done. Kawabata began the at bat showing bunt, and dropped the ball hard into left allowing Yamamoto to throw Iihara out at third. At this point the Dragons pulled Yamamoto in favor of Suzuki. Tanaka effectively did Kawabata’s job one at bat too late, by grounding out to second, allowing the runners to advance. With 2 out and the pitcher’s spot up in the order, the Swallows decide to bat Yuichi in place of Tateyama. Suzuki plunked Yuichi on the right foot with his first pitch to load the bases. Fukuchi managed to do his best Aoki impression and drilled a single into center field, allowing Aikawa to score. Unfortunately Kawabata was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second. Although for the shots I saw I wasn’t sure if Kawabata was actually tagged, nor was I sure if Kawabata actually touched home plate. 4-1 Swallows

Oshimoto came in to replace Tateyama and managed the first 1-2-3 inning, for either team. After a harmless bottom of the seventh, the Swallows opened the top of the eighth with Lee on the mound. After getting the first two batters out, Lee handed the ball to Matsuoka who struck out Wada to end the inning.

The Swallows put an exclamation point on their win in the bottom of the eighth. Aikawa started things off by singling to left. Kawabata bunted him to second. The bunt was made moot when Tanaka )hopefully) broke out his slump by hitting a triple into deep center. Tateyama closed the scoring by hitting a single into left, cashing in Tanaka. 6-1 Swallows

Matsuoka finished the game without his cardiac arrest inducing antics, getting the Dragons to go down in order.

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.