9/7/10 – Hiroshima (Home)

September 7th, 2010

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 5

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

Streak: Won 1    Last 5: DWLDW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

After a desperately disappointing series in Yokohama at the weekend, Tokyo looked to keep alive their faint hopes of a playoff spot against the 2010 CL’s other doormat outfit. And keep those hopes alive they did, but boy, did they do it the hard way.

Tonight’s lineup saw a rare start for Jamie D’Antona, who replaced Whitesell at first and in the cleanup spot:

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

After giving up seven runs in his last start, Muranaka had another one to forget this evening as he allowed the Carp to get ahead early. A double, two walks and a timely single put two on the board for Hiroshima in the 1st, and a 3rd inning solo homer made it 3-0 Hiroshima.

Meanwhile Carp starter Shinoda kept the Swallows bats quiet until the 4th. Ihara reached on an error from third baseman Kurihara and D’Antona marked his return to the first nine with a huge one to centre to put Tokyo back in it. 3-2.

But Muranaka allowed the gap to widen again in the top of the 5th, with his third walk of the game followed by a Kimura double which put the score at 4-2. That would be the last inning for Muranaka (5IP/5H/4K/3BB/4ER), but fortunately for him, his teamates would spare him his 8th loss of the year.

In the bottom of the 7th, after two scoreless innings in relief from Masubuchi (2.58) back-to-back doubles from Aoki (after which Shinoda was replaced by Chulk) and Tanaka pulled one back for 4-3. Ihara then walked, but D’Antona struck out on three pitches leaving the runners stranded. Jamie appeared to be flustered by the first called strike, on a ball way low and way inside, and he then whiffed on two high fastballs.

Oshimoto (3.35) allowed a solo homer from Kurihara in the 8th which again gave the Carp a two run cushion, 5-3, but this Swallows team just don’t lie down to die like the Takada version, and they fought back in the 8th.

A Hatake single, a grazed hand for Aikawa from a pitch inside and a Miyamoto sacbunt put two men in scoring position for Kawabata. He deftly chipped one up the middle to narrow the score to 5-4, and then pinch hitter Whitesell hit to right to bring home the tying run for 5-5.

Lim (1.33) worked a one hit scoreless 9th before Ihara capped off the comeback with a sayonara solo homer to the backscreen, and it ended at 6-5 Tokyo Final. Cue D’Antona racing for the drinks cooler and Ihara being drenched on his return to homeplate. Job done.

Lim took the his 1st win of the season to go with his 2 losses and 28 saves.

D’Antona had a good return to the starting lineup going 2 for 3 with a walk and his 2RBIs and is now batting .223. Having an in-form D’Antona to go alongside Whitesell should be invaluable down the stretch.

Tokyo will look to maintain the pressure on third placed Yomiuri as they continue the Carp series tomorrow night. With a tricky (to say the least) away series at Koshien coming up this weekend, we really could do with a sweep of this very poor Hiroshima side before that.

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

  • Kozo

    Jamie’s start today makes sense when looking at his lefty/righty splits. Prior to tonight’s game, Jamie was hitting .337 in 86 ABs against left handers with 7 HRs. His average drops to .158 in 165 ABs against righties. Jamie actually has more total hits against left-handers than he has against right-handers. Against the lefty Shinoda, D’Antona went 2-for-2 with a walk, but the righty Chulk made him look silly striking him out. It was a good way to give Josh some rest, but I’m not sure I’m ready to count on Jamie against right handers.

    The Swallows’ toughest challenge against the Carp awaits tomorrow, as the young phenom Kenta Maeda is scheduled to start.

  • Do you think there are any chances of either Jamie or Josh playing the outfield, so we can use both of them at the same time?
    How ’bout putting Hatake at third, and give Shinya-san some deserved rest, so we can have the lethal clean-up of Yasushi, Whitesell, Hatake, Jamie.
    That would be a dope line-up, offense-wise.

    Great win, by the way. Great team effort.

  • Kozo

    Beyond occasional rest days like today, I don’t think the team will be tinkering too much with the lineup that got them this far.