9/22/10 – Hiroshima (Away)

September 22nd, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 4

Streak: Won 1    Last 5: WLWLW

(Mazda Zoooom Zooooooooooooom Stadium Hiroshima)

With the Swallows playoff hopes now all but extinguished, and 4th place effectively long since in the bag, the goal of improving on 2009’s one game under .500 finish is all that there is left to fight for. But if there’s one thing this team has possessed in abundance since Ogawa stepped took over the managerial reigns it’s fight , and they showed that characteristic tonight as Hiroshima’s five game winning streak was put to the sword.

  1. Aoki (CF)
  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Hatakeyama (LF)
  4. D’Antona (1B)
  5. Ihara (RF)
  6. Aikawa (C)
  7. Miyamoto (3B)
  8. Kawabata (SS)
  9. Ishikawa (P)

The Swallows opened the scoring in this one in the 4th against Carp starter Soriano, with Ihara reaching on an error, an Aikawa single and a Miyamoto sac-bunt setting the table for Kawabata, who hit a sac-fly to left, 1-0 Tokyo.

But the lead would only last until the bottom of the inning, as a single from Akamatsu was followed up with a single to left from Kurihara, only Hatakeyama botched the throw back to the infield allowing Akamatsu to score for 1-1.

The lead was back in the hands of the Swallows in the 6th, a D’Antona homer to centre (no.14 of the year) making it 2-1 Tokyo. But again, the lead wouldn’t last as Ishikawa let things slip in the bottom of the same inning.

A single, double and a wild pitch let the tying run home for 2-2 before another single made it 3-2 Hiroshima. A sac-bunt followed to leave a runner on second with one out. That was it for Ishikawa, who left the game after 5.1IP/9H/7K/1BB/4ER, the last of those earned runs coming via a two-out single allowed by his replacement Oshimoto (3.00), 4-2 Hiroshima. Masanori’s record remains at 12-8 with his ERA now at 3.71.

The final twist in this back and forth game came in the top of the 7th. Singles for Kawabata, Whitesell (in for Oshimoto) and Aoki loaded the bases for Tanaka. He grounded out to third but it was enough to score a run for 4-3. Hatakeyama then hit one over the infield to centre and two runs scored to hand the lead back to the birds, 5-4 Tokyo.

It was then handed over the the bullpen to try to bring home the win, and Masubuchi (2.72)  got things started by working a one-hit scoreless 7th. The 68th appearance of 2010 followed in the 8th for Matsuoka (2.74), and he got a quick first out before allowing a single and a walk to put two men on. After the prior night’s troubles, he was then seated and Lee (6.75) took his place, striking out Aizawa for out number two before Lim (1.37) came on for another K to end the inning. With Lim then posting a 1,2,3 9th that was that for a 5-4 Tokyo Final.

Oshimoto won the lottery as he was awarded the win to put his record at 3-4, while Lim earned his 32nd save of the year.

D’Antona went 2 for 4 with a walk and is now batting .232. You’ve got to hand it to Jamie, as when he’s been called on to come in for Whitesell he’s done pretty well each time. It would have been easy for him to spit out the dummy after Whitesell’s arrival and subsequent success left him benched, but he’s stayed positive and professional throughout.

Aoki had a 3 for 4 (with a HBP) evening and is now at 196 hits, with his average a NPB leading .362.

The two teams will return tomorrow evening for the rubber game of the series.

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

  • Susan

    Yes, you do have to hand it to D’Antona. He is an amazing young man and ball player. What you are describing is the epitome of a TEAM player – and Jamie is the definition of a TEAM player with such a professional attitude. Check out his stats since his return from his short stay on the farm. He has performed amazingly well as a pinch hitter or in the games where he was given the opportunity to start, and he can play first base or left field. Oh, in a pinch (no pun intended), he can catch too. Any news as to his future with the Swallows? Although I would love to see him come back to the USA, I know how much he loves it there, especially as a Swallow, so I’ll hope your team has room for a power hitting foreigner who is one hell of a ball player and person.

  • Kozo

    After tonight’s games our elimination number against the Giants dropped to 4, while our elimination number against the Tigers stands at 6.