Yakult Swallows-8 Hiroshima Carp-3

Going....Going....Gone!!! courtesy of 47News.com
 This was the best kind of game. The Swallows took an early lead, gave it up, got it back, then pounded the Carp into submission. And for a game with 11 runs, it was over in 3 hours. Great stuff.

In the fourth, after two quick outs, the Swallows loaded the bases. Captain clutch, Shinya Miyamoto, came through with a line drive single to right field that drove in two. I have yet to see Miyamoto have  a bad at-bat this season. The 40 year old third basemen is a top notch leader and the best situational hitter I have seen in this young season. In a crucial at-bat he is the player I want at the plate. After him, my preferences lie with Kazuhiro Hatakeyama and Norichika Aoki.

Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi followed up on his stellar first start with a rather subpar performance. He gave up a lot of deep fly balls and although he came out unscathed through 5 innings, I felt a big inning for the Carp lurking. In the 6th it came; they loaded the bases with one out. Chad Tracy and Kenta Kurihara came through for the carp, driving in 3 runs to take the lead.

The Swallows didn't take long to answer. After Aoki led off with a single he was bunted over to second. After watching Ryohei Kawamoto go down on strikes,  Hatakeyama, who is competing for title of "clutchest" player, crushed a pitch into the left field seats. 4-3 Swallows.

 In the 8th, Yakult extended the lead after Aoki's タイムリ scored the runners on second and third. 6-3 Swallows.

 After, a 1-2-3 bottom go the eighth by Kenichi Matsuoka, the Swallows tacked on two more runs. The bench-warmers Masayoshi Miwa and Yuji Onizaki scored the runs. 8-3 Swallows. Chang-Yong Lim came in and worked an easy ninth inning to give the Swallows an unbeaten run of 7 straight games.

 Hero: I'm going to give this to Hatakeyama. It could have gone to a bunch of players but he had a go-ahead homer late in the game. Aoki had a notable game as well. He went 4-5 with 2 RBI. Hopefully he keeps this up as this production is much more in line with what we expected going into the season.

Goat: Tough to pin it on the youngster but Masubuchi gets this one. His 5.1 innings of work with 3 ER is below average but what gives the goat award to him is his 3 strikeouts at the plate. I know he's a pitcher, but c'mon man! Put the ball in play! If I'm saying the worst performance of the day was a pitcher striking out at the plate, you know that it was a pretty good all-around performance by the team.

Notes: With the win, the Swallows move into first place in the Central League. The Swallows have a day off before heading home to take on the hated Yomiuri Giants.

 © 2011, copyright Julian Jowise


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