5.01.2011

Yakult Swallows-6 Hanshin Tigers-2

Even after an ominous start, the Swallows were able to salvage a game in their series against the Tigers, and move back into sole possession of first place in the CL. Kyohei Muranaka left the game after facing just three batters due to an apparent right flank injury. He had just been activated so it's a shame to see him miss any more time. He iced it, and the team will decide what to do after they see his progress.

Kosuke Matsui came in to relieve Muranaka and promptly gave up a two-run home run to Takahiro Arai, who absolutely killed us this series. 2-0 Tigers.


Wladimir Balentien got half of it back in the second with his league leading 7th home run of the year. Norichika Aoki also picked up a two out RBI single up the middle that tied the game at 2. 2-2.

The Swallows took the lead for good in the fifth, when Shinya Miyamoto was able to drive in Josh Whitesell with a clutch two out single. 3-2 Swallows.

The seventh inning saw the Swallows put the game away. After Kazuki Fukuchi replaced Whitesell at first as a pinch runner, he did what he does best, stealing his Central League leading 7th bag. The announcers made a point to mention that perhaps he is the fastest man in the NPB. He is certainly in the upper echelon. When he gets on base it's not a matter of if, but when, he will take off. A Kazuhiro Hatakeyama single to center allowed Fukuchi to gallop home from second, giving the Swallows a two run lead. Balentien came up and knocked another one into the stands, pushing the Swallows lead to 4 and strengthening his hold on first place for homers. 6-2 Swallows.

The relievers finished up the game and the Swallows were able to take one game from the Tigers. They enjoy a day off before going on to face the Chunichi Dragons, who are better than the last time we faced them.

After a short run, the 3 hitter watch segment is retiring. This is a good thing, because it shows we have at least a little stability, with Whitesell playing well in the role. 

Heroes: Balentien had his second two homer game of the year, driving in 3 runs. The relievers also get a mention. Every once in a while you get a game like this, where the unsung heroes of the team are called to the spotlight to win a game. Matsui settled down after the homer and did well to link the game to the later innings, where Kentaro Kyuko, Takehito Oshimoto, Kenichi Matsuoka, and Tony Barnette all did their part to keep the Tigers scoreless. They deserve as much credit as anyone for the win.

Goat: Craig Brazell, the Tigers first basemen, went hitless in the series, and has yet to hit a homer this year after cranking 47 last year.

Notes: Balentien was in the 5 spot, finally! He produced big time and We now have a formidable order as long as everyone stays in form, unlikely, but one can hope.


© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise

2 comments:

  1. Good stuff, I have been looking for a reliable place to go for NPB info for awhile now. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Also オウ オウ オウオウ 阪神タイガース.

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  2. @Lynch I appreciate it, things may slow down just a tad as exams have arrived but after I get home on May 13th they will be back in full swing. I will likely do exclusively recaps for the next two weeks though.

    And as for your Tigers...we have a bit of a break before we see you again but we'll be ready next time!

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