9/25/10 – Yomiuri (Home)

September 25th, 2010


Yomiuri Giants 3

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WLWWL

(Jingu Stadium)

The Giants and Swallows duked it out in a longest-assed low scoring affair. The 2 teams combined for 20 hits, 8 walks, and 1 dead ball, but managed to only score a combined 5 runs in 9 innings. In total, the game amounted to 4 hours and 11 minutes of heartache for Swallows fans.

Our Starting 9:

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

Muranaka was coming off 2 straight losses, and didn’t look good to start the game. He began the game by giving up a walk to Sakamoto, who was promptly bunted over to second by Yano. Another walk, to Ogasawara, put men on first and second with 1 out for Alex Ramirez. After falling behind Ramirez 2-0, Muranaka gave up a single to left allowing Sakamoto to score. Muranaka managed to settle down and got both Abe and Tani t strikeout swinging to end the inning. 1-0 Giants

In the bottom of the inning, Aoki got 1 hit closer to 200 hits for the season as he singled to center. Unfortunately, Tanaka wasn’t able to put a proper bunt down and Aoki was thrown out at second. Hatakeyama followed with a single to put men on first and second with only 1 out. A Whitesell strikeout and a Iihara groundout to first put an end to the inning. This would not be the last time the Swallows managed to get multiple men on base, but failed to cash them in.

In the bottom of the next inning the Swallows looked to be poised to at least tie the game when Aikawa and Miyamoto began the inning with back-to-back singles to put men on the corners. Unfortunately, Onizaki grounded out sharply to first and Aikawa got caught in a run down as he took a big jump from third.

The third inning was the only inning in which both teams managed to go down in order. Muranaka allowed 2 one-out hits in the fourth, but managed to erase his mistake with another pair of strikeouts. In the bottom of the inning Whitesell lead off the inning by grounding out to second. But apparently he hurt a muscle around his left elbow while checking his swing, and he was replaced by D’Antona in the next inning.

The Giants struck again in the fifth. Sakamoto started the inning off with a single. It looked like Muranaka would be let off the hook when he got Yano to ground out second. Unfortunately (I seem to be using this word a lot), Tanaka fumbled the potential double play ball and allowed Yano to get on base. Muranaka managed to get 2 outs by getting Ogasawara to pop out to second, and Ramirez to fly out to deep right. Sakamoto advanced to third on the Ramirez fly out. It looked like Muranaka escaped the inning when he got Abe to swing through a 1-2 pitch low. Unfortunately (there’s that word again!), the pitch in the dirt got away from Aikawa and Sakamoto was able to score from third. Muranaka would load the bases with a walk to Tani, but managed to escape the inning without further damage. 2-0 Giants

In the bottom of the fifth, Aoki managed to collect another hit, with two outs, but the Swallows weren’t able to get him home. The top of the sixth was relatively uneventful for Muranaka as he managed to get 3 outs fairly easily, with only a walk to Sakamoto ruining what could have been a perfect inning. But having thrown 123 pitches in 6 innings, Muranaka was pulled after the inning. Muranaka pitched 6 full innings, giving up 2 runs (1 earned), 5 hits, and 4 walks, while collecting 9 strikeouts.

The Swallows finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. After Hatakeyama flew out to center for the first out, D’Antona hit a towering shot to the left-center field wall for a double. Iihara followed up with a single to center field, which the fielder misplayed allowing Iihara to get on second. While the crowd was cursing Shiroishi for not sending D’Antona home, Aikawa hit one back up the middle allowing both men to score. Aikawa advanced to second on the throw home, giving the Birds a chance to take the lead with only 1 out. Miyamoto grounded out to short, but allowed Aikawa to advance to third. Takeuchi, batting in place of Onizaki, was intentionally walked to put men on the corners for Kawabata. Kawabata made solid contact on the first pitch he saw, but unfortunately his liner went straight into the pitchers glove for out number 3. 2-2 All

With Muranaka out of the game, the Swallows handed the ball to Lee in the seventh inning. While he managed to get Ogasawara to fly out on 1 pitch, 2 pitches later, he gave up a home run to Ramirez. Ramirez’s shot to straight away center, killed whatever momentum the Swallows had built up in the previous inning. Lee got the next two batters out, but the damage was already done. 3-2 Giants

The Swallows had a chance to tie it up in the bottom of the inning, when the Swallows got back-to-back 1 out singles by Tanaka and Hatakeyama. But while Tanaka was able to advance to third on a fly out by D’Antona, Iihara wasn’t able to get him any further.

The Swallows got their last chance in the bottom of the eighth. Aikawa lead off the inning with a single, his third of the night. Miyamoto dutifully bunted him over to second. Yuichi, pinch-hitting for the pitcher, struck out swinging for the second out. Kawabata managed to draw a walk to put men on first and second for Aoki. Instead of giving Aoki a chance to collect his 200th hit of the season and be a hero, the Giants plunked him instead. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, all  Tanaka was able to do was ground out weakly to short to end the inning.

Kroon managed to get Fukuchi, D’Antona, and Iihara to go down without much trouble to end the game in only the third perfect half-inning of the game.

The Swallows play their next game at home against the Chunichi Dragons tomorrow evening.

Notes

  • The loss guaranteed the Swallows a losing record against their cross-town rivals, with one more game to go.
  • The Swallows’ loss to the Giants, combined with the Tigers’ win against Hiroshima dropped the Birds’ elimination numbers for each team down by 2. The Swallows’ elimination number against the Giants now stands at 2, while their number against the Tigers now stands at 3.
  • Lee took the loss for the Swallows, his first of the year.
  • The Swallows managed only 2 runs on 12 hits, 2 walks, and 1 dead ball.
  • Masubuchi and Oshimoto also pitched for the Swallows.
  • Aoki’s 2-for-4 night with a HBP was his 65th multi-hit game for the season, breaking the Central League record he set for multi-hit games in a season in 2006. The NPB record was set by Ichiro when he had 69 multi-hit games in 1994.
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.