6/12/11 – Fukuoka (Away)

June 12th, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 1

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: WLDLW

(Yahoo Dome)

 

The birds looked to be in trouble when Tokyo starter, Tateyama, was ejected in the fourth inning after beaning Fukuoka’s third baseman in the head. But Tokyo’s bullpen kept the Hawks offense in check long enough for the bottom half of the lineup to put some run-support together.

Tokyo:

Kyuko, Tokyo's fifth pick in the draft, leads the rookie class with three wins.

  1. Aoki (CF)
  2. Miwa (2B)
  3. Whitesell (DH)
  4. Hatakeyama (1B)
  5. Balentien (RF)
  6. Yuichi (LF)
  7. Miyamoto (3B)
  8. Fujimoto (SS)
  9. Aikawa (C)Tateyama (P)

Fukuoka:

  1. Kawasaki (SS)
  2. Honda (2B)
  3. Uchikawa (RF)
  4. Kokubo (DH)
  5. Matsunaka (LF)
  6. Matsuda (3B)
  7. Fukuda (1B)
  8. Hasegawa (CF)
  9. Hosokawa (C)
    Settsu (P)

Tateyama’s afternoon was cut short after only 58 pitches. Matsuda, the recipient of the errant pitch stayed in the game but was fortunately not able to score as Matsuoka came in to get the final out and strand both runners. It was the second HBP of the game for Tateyama (5-1, 1.43 ERA) and the first ejection of his career.

Matsuoka (0-1, 4.91) stayed in to pitch the fifth and never allowed a base runner. Kyuko took the mound for the sixth and got out of the inning safely after walking the first batter he faced.

Kyuko (3-0, 3.38) ended up coming away with the win in relief as Tokyo was able to get some runners across home plate in the top of the seventh. After Yuichi’s groundout to second to start the inning, Miyamoto doubled to right to put a man in scoring position for only the second time all afternoon for the Swallows.

Third-string shortstop, Fujimoto, then came through with a triple to right which plated Miyamoto for the first run of the game.

And another runner (Noguchi pinch-running for Fujimoto) crossed home plate two pitches later on Aikawa’s sac fly to left. 2-0 Tokyo.

Oshimoto (0-1, 2.70) made an impressive showing with three strikeouts in the seventh, and Barnette (1-0, 1.69) notched two Ks of his own in a scoreless eighth.

In the top of the ninth, with one out, Yuichi singled to left which presented an opportunity for Fukuchi to come on as a pinch runner and swipe his league-leading 10th base of the season. He was successful on the 1-1 pitch with Miyamoto feigning a bunt, and he made it all the way home on the next pitch when Miyamoto doubled to left. 3-0 Tokyo.

Fukuoka got one run back in the ninth off of Lim (13 saves, 1.83) who was looking for his league-leading 13th save of the 2011 season. Matsunaka hit a full count fastball in the middle of the zone over the fence in right. But that was all that the hosts had to celebrate as two successive outfield flies buttoned things up for Tokyo. 3-1 Final.

On offense, Tokyo’s 7-8-9 batters did most of the heavy lifting. Both Miyamoto and Fujimoto had two hits apiece with the former hitting two doubles (1 RBI) and the latter hitting a single and an RBI triple. Aikawa also pitched in with a single and an RBI sac fly.

The loss for Fukuoka was only its second of the interleague schedule which ends next week.

Tokyo has two home games against Saitama on Tuesday and Wednesday (both games start at 6PM) before wrapping up its regularly scheduled interleague games on Saturday (2PM) and Sunday (1PM) against Chiba.

There is a rain-game day built into the schedule on Thursday the 16th if either of the Saitama games get extra soggy. At this point, there appears to be a slight chance of rain on Tuesday, but Wednesday looks pretty clear, so perhaps that rain-game day won’t be used.

If either of the Chiba games gets rained out, then they will be made up during the June 20-23 window that prefaces the return to regularly-scheduled Central League hostilities.

Notes:

Despite the loss, Fukuoka remain atop the interleague standings with a record of 16-2-2.

Tokyo currently sit sixth with a record of 8-10-2. The only Central League team with a better record is Chunichi who sit fourth at 12-8-0.

Tokyo are still in first in the Central League with a 1.5 game advantage over second place Chunichi.

Fukuchi’s 10 steals stand in stark contrast to his three hits this season.

The first five batters in Tokyo’s order, from Aoki to Balentien, managed only two hits in this game.

Tokyo outhit Fukuoka 9-5.

Since taking both games when Tokyo traveled to Saitama at the end of May, the Lions have faltered to a 3-6-1 over the last ten games. Hopefully Tokyo can get some revenge when Saitama comes to town this Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

High-fives all around Tokyo finally beats Fukuoka.

 

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini