9/6/11 – Yokohama (Away)

September 6th, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 8

Yokohama BayStars 3

Streak: Won 1  Last 5: WWWLW

(Yokohama Stadium)

If Tokyo have any pretensions of taking the Central League title this year, then they need to win a majority of their six games with Yokohama in September. And tonight they made a pretty good start on the road to that aim. Oh, and did I mention I F@*!KING LOVE THE YOKOHAMA BAYSTARS!!!???

Us:

  1. Aoki (CF)

    Masubuchi

  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Kawabata (3B)
  4. Hatakeyama (1B)
  5. Takeuchi (LF)
  6. Miyamoto (3B)
  7. Balentien (RF)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Masubuchi (P)
Them:
  1. Shimozono (LF)
  2. Ishikawa (SS)
  3. Fujita (2B)
  4. Murata (3B)
  5. Tsutsugoh (1B)
  6. Kinjoh (CF)
  7. Naito (RF)
  8. Kurobane (C)
  9. Takasaki (P)

Balentien made a return to the starting lineup given his propensity to feast on Yokohama pitching, while Takeuchi held onto his starting leftfield slot following his recent run of good form.

After Masubuchi and Baystars’ starter pitched two hitless innings apiece to get the game underway, Tokyo did what would turn out to be the majority of their damage in the 3rd. Balentien got things started with a six pitch walk before Aikawa singled to right to put two men on. Masubuchi put down a superb bunt to move both runners into scoring positions and also bring up out number one.

Next up was Aoki who hit up the middle, just out of reach of the glove of the diving Ishikawa, which brought home Balentien for 1-0 and put men on the corners for Tanaka. Given a rare non-bunting outing, he chipped one up the middle to score Aikawa for 2-0. With men now on first and second, Kawabata hit a double up the third base foul line which scored Aoki from second, 3-0, and left men on second and third.

Kawabata does damage in the 3rd

Up stepped Hatakeyama, and he proceeded to hit a sharp drive to second, which was stopped by a diving Fujita, but the ball got away from him. Tanaka scored easily from third, while Kawabata just beat the throw home and was called safe after a collision with the catcher for a healthy 5-0 Tokyo lead.

That was all for starter Takasaki as Yokohama turned to their bullpen, never a bad situation to be in. And so it proved as the Swallows added two in the 5th. Aoki led off the inning getting on via an error from first baseman Tsutsugoh. Tanaka was back on bunt-monkey duty as he moved Aoki along for out number one. Kawabata then hit to centre to bring home Aoki and it was 6-0. After Hatakeyama drew a walk Takeuchi hit up the middle which brought home Kawabata for 7-0.

After a pretty decent performance through five innings, giving up just three hits (one in each of the 3rd, 4th and 5th),  Masubuchi got into a pickle in the 6th. Shimozono was issued a four-pitch walk to get things started in ominous fashion before an Ishikawa single prompted a supremely careless error in the field from Aoki to put two men in scoring positions with no outs for Yokohama. Three singles and three runs followed for the Baystars as they narrowed the scores to 7-3. 

Oshimoto was then called in with two outs and men on the corners to try to put out the fire Masubuchi had got burning. And he did that with the strikeout of pinch hitter Harper to get out of the inning without too much damage having been inflicted.

Tokyo added their final run in the 9th (Aoki reached base on an infield single, and was brought home later by a Hatakeyama sacfly) to make it 8-3.

Meanwhile the Swallows bullpen, now minus an injured Tony Barnette (fractured right wrist), did their job as Oshimoto (3.02), Matsuoka (3.20), and Lim (2.46) worked a hitless inning each (the last two innings took just 17 pitches) to close out the game for a 8-3 Tokyo Final.

Masubuchi got the win (5.2IP/7H/3K/2BB/3R/2ER) for his decent turn as he also benefited from the run support that a meeting with Yokohama often generates. His record is now at 7-7/4.78.

Balentien’s normal service against the Baystars wasn’t resumed as he was hitless with a walk in his three plate appearances, before being replaced by Ihara in the second half of the game.

Tokyo outhit the opposition 8-7 with Aoki (.285) and Kawabata (.274) slapping two hits each, while Hatakeyama was the RBI king with three to Kawabata’s two.

The two teams will return to do it again tomorrow evening. With the Giants also winning in Nagoya, the lead at the top remains at 3 games, with Hanshin a further game behind that after their win at home to Hiroshima. Let’s hope that Chunichi, and particularly Hiroshima, can do us some favours over the next two evenings.

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

  • Tokyo lead the season series with the ‘Stars 10-2 and are in the midst of a 4 game winning streak against them.

  • Anonymous

    Any updates on when we’re expecting to see Tateyama pitch again?

    • Looks like he may be back either for the last game of this Yokohama series, or for one of the Hanshin games this weekend.

      Very good news indeed.

      • Anonymous

        Great news.  Need a few steady wins from him in September to keep things ticking over….

  • Yes, that is awesome news! We need the man!