6/6/11 – Tohoku (Home)

June 6th, 2011

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 4

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Won 3   Last 5: WLWWW

(Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium)


Poor Rakuten. Poor, poor Rakuten.


1. Teppei (RF)
2. Hijirisawa (CF)
3. Matsui (SS)
4. Yamasaki (1B)
5. Nakamura (LF)
6. Takasu (2B)
7. Kusano (3B)
8. Nakatani (C)
9. Nagai (P)


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

I really feel bad for Tohoku right now. The fans up north are dealing with what we endured for a couple years leading up to May 26th of last year. Players who are normally very solid are playing like crap. Bad luck breeds more bad luck. Even your opponents feel bad when they score on you yet again.

And score we did.

Tokyo got off to a quick start in the first after Tateyama retired the first third of the Tohoku lineup in order. Whitesell’s two out walk was rewarded with a Hatakeyama homer to center-right. 2-0 Tokyo.

The damage might have continued, but Shiroishi (useless infielder turned third base coach) made a bone-headed decision and urged Balentien home on Miyamoto’s single to left. He was thrown out by a Tsubakurou-and-a-half, and the Swallows were forced to take the field again.

But the Tokyo birds wouldn’t have to wait long for the scoring to resume. In the third, Aoki’s infield single turned into a double on a throwing error by one of Rakuten’s celebrated MLB returnees, Kazuo Matsui. Tanaka’s meat-headed decision to bunt, which was most likely not a decision that he made on his own, was miraculously wiped from memory when the Tohoku defense again failed to complete a clean throw to first. For the second time in as many batters, it was ruled a hit-error, and Aoki was able to saunter home while Tanaka moved over to second. 3-0 Tokyo.

Two strikeouts later, Balentien came through with his second double off the wall in left in as many at-bats. Tanaka crossed home in the process. 4-0 Tokyo.

And then things quieted down a bit. The next four frames flew by in what was probably record time. Before anyone realized what was going on, it was the top of the eighth, and Kusano had somehow hit a ball out of the park for Tohoku’s first run. 4-1 Tokyo.

But Hatakeyama restored the four-run lead in the bottom of that inning with another opposite field shot (number nine of 2011) that would ultimately prove to be the deciding run. 5-1 Tokyo.

Kyuko took the mound in the top of the ninth and got two quick outs. All of this was happening with Lim still warming up in the pen, and many of us, myself included, wondered openly whether or not he shouldn’t just be allowed to sit down after a needless spot of warming up.

But as has been the case so many times since Friday, I was dead wrong. Mind you, it’s not normal for me to be so off the mark so many times in a row for so many days straight. But I’m willing to take the good with the bad and watch my team win in the process. And besides, I think that the shochu I was enjoying might have been a little bit wonky.

It’s still a foregone conclusion that I’ll be the best owner this team has ever seen. You just wait. Not that that’s a major accomplishment considering how low the bar has been set by the current ownership.

Anyway, allow me to interrupt myself here to point out that Kyuko walked the next two batters he faced. And that’s when Lim was called in–a save opportunity finally having presented itself.

Lim promptly allowed not one but two RBI singles that plated three runs to finally make this into a real contest. 5-4 Tokyo.

But it was short-lived as Lim struck out Ishimine to seal the deal and record his 12th save of the year from 19 appearances.

Tateyama took the win of course, and his record improved to 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA.

On offense, Hatakeyama, Balentien and Miyamoto had two hits each with the leader of that group notching two long-awaited homers.

Fujimoto and Aikawa were the only two starters to not reach base.

Tokyo’s next game is against Orix on Wednesday where they will try to defend their first-place standing against the Pacific League’s fourth place team. With Chunichi’s win this evening, the Swallows retain a slim one-game lead over last season’s Central League champs.



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

  • Bob Whitesell

    Does Lim get a save? In MLB this would not be a save because there was a 4 run lead when he entered the game. 

  • Poor Rakuten? We split with them. They hit Yoshinori without any regard for that game being his homecoming.

    Chris, I thought I called owner and you got GM. I’m fatter, I have a three-piece suit, and I make far more uninformed comments about the game. I have even been known to smoke a cigar.
    Scary one by Lim, there. Unlike him.

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