Marines win Japan Series-opener
NAGOYA (Japan) -
Chiba Lotte Marines opened the best-of-seven Japan Series on Saturday, October 30 with a 5-2 win vs. Chunichi Dragons at the Nagoya Dome, the home of the Dragons.
Chiba Lotte Marines qualified for the Play-Offs on the last day of the season, then reached the Japan Series by winning the Pacific League Climax Series vs. the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.
The Chunichi Dragons eliminated last years champion Tokyo Yomiuri Giants in the final of the Central League Climax Series.
The Marines took an 1-0 lead in the second inning on a double by Shoitsu Omatsu off starting pitcher Kazuki Yoshima, but the Dragons answered with two runs in their second at bat.
Lotte-starter Yoshihisa Naruse first gave up a lead-off homerun to Kazuhiro Wada, then Motonobu Tanishige also homered later in the bat.
But that was all lefthander Naruse allowed, as he gave up only four hits and struckout six in five innings.
Hereafter, four relievers gave up only two more basehits.
The Marines tied the score in the third inning when rookie Ikuhiro Kiyota homered.
For Kiyota, this was his third homerun in the postseason after he had hit only two in the regular season.
Later in the inning, Toshiaki Imae (who was 3-for-3) added an RBI-single to put the team ahead off starter Kazuki Yoshima, who threw three innings.
In the sixth inning, Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled in another run, then Tadahito Iguchi (who was 3-for-5) added a solo-homerun in the seventh to make it 5-2.
Iguchi is a veteran, who already won the Japan Series twice with the Fukuoka Daie Hawks, but also won the World Series with the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.