Chunichi Dragons-6 Yakult Swallows-2

It was a matter of time before the Dragons' bats woke up, and we're lucky it happened in the final game of the series and not the first. The top 6 hitters in the lineup went a combined 13 of 27 with 3 homeruns and 8 RBIs. Some of it had to do with a poor performance by Kenichi Matsuoka, but they were already smacking the ball around before the eighth inning.

Shohei Tateyama picks up the loss after an average performance. This was on the heels of two straight complete game shutouts. The scoreless inning streak was stopped in the second inning after Morino broke out of his slump to drive in Araki. 1-0 Dragons.

The Swallows got the run right back after Kazu Hatakeyama finished a great at bat with a single in the 5-6 hole to drive in Aoki. 1-1.

Tateyama pitched around a lot of baserunners and didn't give up another run until the sixth. Ironically it had nothing to do with baserunners, Tony Blanco just decided to wallop a ball off the center field back screen. 2-1 Dragons.

In the following inning, the baserunners caused some real harm. Tateyama allowed a double to Ibata before walking Morino. A RBI single by Kazuhiro Wada chased Tateyama out of the game. Tony Barnette did well to limit the damage to just that one run. 3-1 Dragons.

The Swallows did their best to claw back. Shingo Kawabata led off with a triple in the bottom half of the seventh, and he was driven in on a failed double play attempt by the Dragons. Whitesell hit a humpback liner to second to end the comeback attempt. 3-2 Dragons.

Matsuoka came into the game in the eighth and extinguished any hope that the Swallows had to come back. He gave up homers to Araki and Wada, mixed in with hits to Morino, Ibata, and Iwasaki. 8-2 Dragons. Morino's double was a near replay of Aoki's amazing catch from yesterday but this time it glanced off his glove, into the wall.

Thoughts: The Dragons are a contender again now they're bats have awoken. We will see if this performance was the exception or the norm. Lost in the offensive explosion was a quiet, but effective performance by Yoshimi. He calmly sent down the Swallows lineup while only allowing two runs. Ibata and Araki, the sure-handed fielders, had an off day today, with Araki commiting two throwing errors while Ibata let a grounder roll under his glove. Luckily, it didn't hurt their team.

Also, it is important that the Swallows took two of three from a Dragons squad that had been playing well before coming to Jingu. They must continue to win series in order to remain at the top of the standings. The Swallows have a day to regroup before a quick two game series with the Carp.

Hero: The Dragons lineup finally showed up. They racked up 15 hits, and showed how scary they can be when they perform at their peak level.

Goat: Matsuoka played like garbage. Everything was over the plate and he did not look like our ace setup man today.

© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise


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