8/20/11 – Yomiuri (Away)

August 20th, 2011

Yomiuri Giants 7

Tokyo Swallows 2

Streak: Lost 2  Last 5: WDWLL

(Tokyo Dome)

The lead at the top of the Central League shrank to five games after yesterday’s frustrating loss to the Giants.

Yoshinori looked determined to make the lead shrink a game further early on in this contest.

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W: Tohno (5W, 8L, 2S; 3.22 ERA) L: Yoshinori (6W, 5L; 3.01 ERA)

 Tokyo Yomiuri
1Aoki CF1Sakamoto SS
2Fukuchi RF2Fujimura 2B
3Kawabata SS3Chono CF
4Hatakeyama RF4Takahashi RF
5Whitesell 1B5Ogasawara 1B
6Miyamoto 3B6Abe C
7Tanaka 2B7Kamei LF
8Aikawa C8Furuki 3B
9Yoshinori P9Tohno P

Yoshinori was disaster personified in the first. He generally got ahead in the count and then lost the strike zone shortly thereafter. He found himself facing a full count no less than four times in that first frame, and nothing positive came of any of it. The first three times he faced a full count, he issued walks. Bases loaded, thanks to those three walks, and one out.

The fourth time he let the count get worked full in that inning, Ogasawara smacked a double off the wall that

Junji Ogawa (L) reacts to Yoshinori's magnificence.

scored two. 2-0 Gomiuri.

And then, thanks to Yoshinori leaving a fastball up in the zone, Abe added a double of his own to make it 4-0 Gomiuri.

Yoshinori added a fourth walk in that dark first inning as Aikawa made him pitch around Furuki in order to get to the pitcher, Tohno. The gambit paid off, and Yoshinori finally got out of the inning after throwing a laughable 41 pitches.

Yoshinori ended up making it through the next four innings without giving up any more hits, but he was forced to walk Furuki a second time when a runner reached second in the fifth care of Hatakeyama’s fielding error in left. That’s a total of six walks in five innings of work.

Yomiuri starter, Tohno, was a different story altogether. Despite struggling with his control at times, he had a no-hitter going through five and  two-thirds innings. Pinch-hittter, Morioka, finally broke up the no-hit bit with an infield single with two outs on the board.

Making his first ever top-team appearance in the bottom of the sixth innings was second-year RHP Tetsuya Yamamoto. And he was one of the only bright spots that Tokyo had during this game. He struck Sakamoto out looking, got Fujimura to fly out harmlessly to right, and then made Chono flail away at a whole bunch of pitches before grounding out to second.

Tokyo finally got a runner past first base on Kawabata’s double over Takahashi’s head in right. It was the third time that Kawabata made solid contact in this game. The only difference was that he didn’t hit the ball near center fielder, Chono, this time.

Hatakeyama’s high bouncer to second advanced Kawabata to third, and Whitesell’s two out rocket off the wall in center brought Kawabata home from third. Unfortunately, Whitesell was thrown out easily while trying to stretch his hit into a double, and that ended the inning. 4-1 Gomiuri.

Watanabe took the mound for the Swallows in the bottom of the 7th, and he sat the Giants down in order.

But Tanaka hit into another double play to keep the team from building on the momentum that was started in the seventh.

Watanabe wasn’t quite as sharp in the eighth as he let a pair of runners get on base with two outs. Matsuoka was brought in to face the pinch-hitting Ramirez, but he walked him rather quickly to load the bases. And that set the stage for Kenichi “Mr. Two-Run” Matsuoka (as he is known by some Swallows fans) to live up to his moniker.

He outdid himself, actually. Chono smacked the second pitch he saw, a high forkball, off the wall in center to score three and officially put the game out of reach. 7-1 Gomiuri.

As is so often the case, Tokyo showed a little life when their backs were against the wall in the top of the ninth. Takeuchi, pinch-hitting for Matsuoka, marched a slow grounder up the middle into shallows center. He was then moved over to second on Aoki’s single.

Fukuchi finally got on base when he hit an awkward grounder to short that forced Aoki out at second, but both Takeuchi and Fukuchi were safe at the corners. Fukuchi then stole second on the first pitch that Tohno threw to Kawabata.

Kawabata managed  to hit a sac fly to right, but Fukuchi got caught trying to sneak over to third. 7-2 Final.

Tokyo will attempt to salvage some pride tomorrow in game three of this series.

Notes:

Miyamoto has now hit into 10 double plays. However, that’s only good enough for second place on the team. First belongs to Balentien who has hit into 13 vibe-killers.

The Swallows now lead the Central League by a mere four games.

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

  • Mac

    I was there, as I was the night before. That first innings was trauma with a capital $hite.

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