Yakult Swallows-4 Yomiuri Giants-0

His walk up music is TI's "Whatever You Like"...nuff said.
After yesterday's four and half hour marathon, today's two hour and forty minute contest seemed even shorter than it was. I have no one but Shohei Tateyama to thank. Tateyama cruised through the Giants lineup, mowing down 10.

Tateyama received all the support he would need in the second inning when Wladimir Balentien drove in Kazuhiro Hatakeyama with a sac fly. 1-0 Swallows.

The Swallows had another chance to score when Norichika Aoki and Hiroyasu Tanaka hit back-to-back singles. Yasushi Iihara let the team down by striking out, however (an all too common occurrence).

After Shingo Kawabata singled, the Giants pitcher, Hirokazu Sawamura recorded a throwing error on Tateyama's bunt attempt, allowing both runners to be safe. Aoki followed with a single to drive in Kawabata. Again, Iihara had a chance to further extend the lead but grounded into a fielder's choice (Hayato Sakamoto made a nice play). 2-0 Swallows.

Balentien added some more insurance in the 6th with his sixth home run on the year. He is tied for the league lead along with Swallows teammate Hatakeyama and Termel Sledge of the Baystars. 3-0 Swallows.
Shinya Miyamoto extended his hitting streak to ten games and added a little more unneeded security for Tateyama by driving in Kazuki Fukuchi, who was pinch running for Hatakeyama. Tateyama grounded into a double play with bases loaded to end the threat. 4-0 Swallows.

Tateyama had a an easy ninth inning, typical for the night, to get his second straight complete game shutout. That is absolutely unheard of and he completely toyed with the hitters tonight. He allowed just two hits, and one hit batsmen, meaning he faced just three batters over the minimum. This was not a typical 120+ pitch Japanese baseball shutout either. Tallying just 102 pitches, this was a truly masterful performance.

3 hitter watch- I'm going to start this segment to document just how badly our #3 hitter plays. It's been a revolving door and today was a bit of an irregularity, with Iihara making his second straight start in left, and because of Junji Ogawa's insistence that the LF=3 hitter, his second straight start in the three hole. He struggled mightily, leaving runners stranded while going 0-4 with two strikeouts. Grade: F

Hero- Too easy. Tateyama's second straight CGSO was more impressive than his first, considering it came against the Giants, who we hate, and were hitting considerably better than the Dragons were in his first CGSO. Balentien had his second straight big game at the plate with 2 RBI and a homer.

Goat- Also easy. Iihara better get it together if he wants to keep starting in left. He still has no hits on the season.

Notes: The Swallows travel to Koshien to face the Hanshin Tigers tomorrow. Series preview will be up shortly.

© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise


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