7/18/11 – Yokohama (Away)

July 18th, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Yokohama BayStars 2

Streak: Draw 1 Last 5: DWLLD

(Yokohama Stadium)



The Swallows were looking to bounce back after consecutive losses against the cellar dwelling BayStars. Both teams started rookies on the mound.

 Swallows BayStars
1CF Aoki1SS Ishikawa
22B Tanaka2RF Shimozono
31B Whitesell31B Harper
4LF Hatakeyama43B Murata
5RF Balentien5LF Sledge
63B Miyamoto6CF Kinjo
7SS Kawabata72B Watanabe
8C Aikawa8C Niinuma
9P Shichijo9P Suda

Both pitchers looked fairly good starting out, issing some walks but never allowing a hit. The Swallows got the first hit of the game in the third from Aoki, but Tanaka wasn’t able to do anything to follow. The Swallows managed to get a hit in every inning from the third to the sixth, but weren’t able to convert them into runs.

Shichijo walks away as he gave up 2 runs

Shichijo finally ran into trouble in the fourth inning when he opened the inning with consecutive walks to Shimozono and Harper. It looked like Shichijo was getting back on track after he got Murata to strikeout and he induced a fly out to left from Sledge. Unfortunately the rookie picked the absolute worse time to allow his first hit of the night, as he gave up a double to Kinjo that scored Shimozono. 1-0 BayStars Shichijo lost it after that, as he gave up back-to-back walks to Watanabe and Niinuma to gift the BayStars another run. 2-0 BayStars Not surprisingly the Swallows pulled the plug on Shichijo after that electing to send out Akagawa. Akagawa managed to get Suda to fly out to left to end the threat.

Akagawa had his share of nervy innings as he allowed hits in both the fifth and sixth, but was saved by double plays in each inning.

The Swallows finally managed to cash in on their hit per inning in the seventh. Kawabata lead off the inning with a double, which probably should have been a single had Sledge not misplayed the ball. Aikawa wasn’t able to advance the runner as he grounded out to short. With the pitcher’s spot up Ogawa elected to send recently recalled lefty Takeuchi to the batter’s box. The BayStars responded by yanking Suda for left-handed pitcher Ohara, a move calculated to induce the Birds to send out a weaker right-handed bat. The BayStars got what they want as the Swallows trotted out Iihara, also recently recalled. Iihara looked absolutely impatient as he quickly grounded out to first, although it did allow Kawabata advance to third. With 2 out, Aoki popped up to shallow center and it looked like the inning would be over as the second baseman seemed to have a good track on the ball. But luckily for Aoki, the Yokohama wind took the ball and pushed it further into center than the second baseman could handle and the ball landed for a run scoring error. 2-1 BayStars Had the center fielder run in to cover as he was supposed to it should have been an easy out. Aoki reached second on the error, but Tanaka wasn’t able to get him around for the tie.

Oshimoto and Kyuko came in to pitch the seventh and eighth innings, and both got 2 strikeouts apiece and kept the BayStars off the board. Meanwhile, the heart of the Swallows’ order went down 1-2-3 in the eighth.

In the ninth inning the BayStars sent out their closer Yamaguchi to face Miyamoto, Kawabata, and Aikawa. Miyamoto lead off with a single to right and was quickly replaced on the basepaths by Miwa. Kawabata came up to the plate a showed bunt, eliciting a groan from this writer, but as Yamaguchi threw his first pitch Kawabata quickly pulled back his bat and slapped a single to center. Miwa ran on contact and easily made it to third base. One pitch later, Miwa stepped on home as Aikawa lined a single to center to tie the game. 2-2 All With no out and men on first and second it looked like the Swallows were poised to take the lead, but a pinch-bunting Noguchi couldn’t do his job and struck out. Aoki followed with a strikeout of his own, and it took Tanaka all of one pitch to ground out. With the 3:30 rule in effect, and around 3:20 already elapsed it was clear the Swallows had lost their last chance to win the game.

The Birds sent out Barnette to preserve the tie, and he did his job efficiently getting 2 straight strikeouts before ending the game on a groundout to second.

The team managed to salvage a tie thanks to some miscues by the BayStars. Chunichi won today shrinking the game differential between the Dragons and the Swallows to 6.5 games. The Tigers also won today and they sit just half a game behind the Dragons. The tie was the team’s 9th of the season.

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.

  • That 3:30 rule is a bit of a bummer.

    Highlights posted: http://bitURL.net/bvuf

  • Stupid

    I gonna sent YOU down Tokyolllini !!!