5/28/11 – Saitama (Away)

May 28th, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Saitama Seibu Lions 3

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: LDLWL

(Seibu Dome)

After the brief respite that was the win against Orix on Thursday, normal Swallows Inter-League service was resumed as they lost to the Lions at the Seibu Dome.

Us:

Ishikawa (P)

  1. Aoki (CF)
  2. Fukuchi (LF)
  3. Tanaka (2B)
  4. Hatakeyama (1B)
  5. Balentien (RF)
  6. Whitesell (DH)
  7. Miyamoto (3B)
  8. Morioka (SS)
  9. Kawamoto (C)

Them:

Kishi (P)

  1. Kataoka (2B)
  2. Kuriyama (CF)
  3. Nakajima (SS)
  4. Nakamura (SS)
  5. Fernandez (DH)
  6. Asamura (1B)
  7. Takayama (LF)
  8. Sumitani (C)
  9. Akiyama (RF)

Ishikawa started for the birds and got himself an early lead before throwing a single pitch. In the top of the 1st, Aoki led off the game with a single to right before a Fukuchi strikeout and a Tanaka groundout put Aoki at second with two outs on the board. Hatakeyama then hit a dribbler to second, but Kataoka lifted the simple throw to first over the head of Asamura, the ball headed toward the infield fence while Aoki scored from second with Hatakeyama replacing him on base number two, 1-0 Tokyo. Next man up Balentien drilled a liner to left which brought home Hatake for 2-0, with Balentine thrown out at second trying to stretch the single to a double and the inning was over.

Ishikwa kept the Seibu bats under control for the most part over the first half of the game, while the Swallows wasted chances to extend their lead. In the 4th they left men on second and third (Miyamoto grounding out to end the inning), in the 5th men on the corners were stranded (Tanaka flying out to right for the third out) and the same fate met the men on the corners in the 6th (Morioka grounded out for out number three).

Seibu would punish that wastefulness in the bottom of the 6th as Ishikawa fell victim to the long ball. Kuriyama worked a walk to lead off the inning before Nakajima hit one over the fence in leftfield to tie things up at 2-2.

And the winning run would come from another homer in the 7th as Sumitani hit a solo homer to almost the exact same spot as the inning prior to make it 3-2 Saitama.

But chances to get back in the game still presented themselves to Tokyo, but as has become the pattern of late, they just couldn’t take them. In the 8th Balentien hit a two-out fly to right which landed just between the right and centre fielders, with the ball rolling to the fence allowing the big man to make it to third. However Whitesell would strikeout on three straight sliders to leave another runner stranded.

And in the 9th the final chance would be wasted. With closer Okamoto on the mound, Miyamoto walked on four pitches to start the inning. He was replaced by Miwa at first while Morioka attempted to bunt the speedy runner along. He fluffed his first couple of attempts before he was instructed to swing away by the bench. Which he did, but ended up hitting into a cast-iron double play to leave the Lions needing just the one out to register their come from behind win. Guiel then came in for Kawamoto but he could only strikeout looking and the game was done, 3-2 Saitama Final.

Ishikawa took the loss (7IP/8H/5K/1BB) and his record moved to 3-2/2.34. While not his best performance, if his teamates had took some of their chances post-1st inning he may well have come out of the game with his 101st career win.

Oshimoto (3.29) pitched a hitless inning in relief.

The teams were tied for hits at 8-8 with Aoki (.328) and Balentien (.345) registering two each. The starting 7-9 spots in the order went a combined 1 for 10, with Morioka’s calamitous 9th inning showing illustrating just how lacking in a quality batting shortstop Tokyo still are. And the recent trade of Onizaki didn’t help that dilemma one jot.

The two teams return to the Seibu Dome tomorrow afternoon for the final game in the series.

Ishikawa and co. ponder the loss of the lead in the 6th

 

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