Giants even Japan Series again; 7th game needed
SENDAI (Japan) -
In the last few days, the championships of the Taiwan Series, World Series and Korean Series were decided, but the season in Japan is extended for one more day.
On Saturday-evening (November 2), the Yomiuri Giants won Game 6 vs. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 4-2 to even the best-of-seven again Japan Series (3-3) and force a seventh and deciding game to be played on Sunday.
The Golden Eagles took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning, but were unable to enlarge their lead, due to strong pitching of the Giants.
In the fifth, the Giants then rally for three runs and added an insurance run in the sixth.
The Eagles collected only three basehits, while the Giants hit 12.
...Nightgame in Sendai...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
In the first inning, the Eagles had a runner on base with two outs, but then Andruw Jones flied out.
The home team then scored twice in the second at bat.
with one out, Shintaro Masuda walked, then Kazuo Matsui doubled.
Moments later, Masuda scored the first run when Motohiro Shima grounded out.
An error on a grounder by Ryo Hijirisawa then accounted for the second run.
In the following seven innings, the Golden Eagles reached base only two more times.
Giants-starter Tomoyuki Sugano retired the side in the third and fourth inning.
In the fifth inning, he gave up a lead-off single to Motohiro Shima, who advanced on a sacrifice bunt, but stranded on second base.
After retiring the side again in the sixth, Sugano gave up an one-out single to Kazuo Matsui in the seventh, but then the Giants turned a double play.
Tetsuya Yamaguchi took over in the eighth and retired the side.
After getting the lead-off batter to ground out in the ninth, Scott Mathieson was brought in and he ended the game by striking out Andruw Jones and Casey McGehee.
Pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka went the distance for the Golden Eagles.
The righthander was 24-0 in the regular season, was 2-0 in the Play-Offs and also won Game 2 of the Japan Series, but today, he suffered his first loss of the season.
It was the first time this year that Tanaka gave up more than three runs in a game.
Tanaka retired the first seven batters in a row, then gave up an one-out single to José Lopez in the third.
Next batter Takayuki Terauchi then reached on an error, but a double play ended the inning.
In the fourth, Shinnosuke Abe doubled with two outs for the Giants, but then Tanaka followed with a strikeout.
In the fifth inning, the game turned around in favor of the Giants.
Hayato Sakamoto led off with a double, then the Giants tied the score when José Lopez homered with one out.
Hereafter, Takayuki Terauchi and Hisayoshi Chono hit back-to-back singles and the bases got loaded when Yoshiyuki Kamei walked.
A following single by designated hitter Yoshinobu Takahashi then brought in a run and gave the Giants a 3-2 lead.
With the bases still loaded and Shinnosuke Abe in batter's box, the inning ended when the strong hitter flied out.
In 1998, Abe participated in the international Haarlem Baseball Week-tournament in the Netherlands with the national team of Japan.
The Giants added an insurance run in the sixth inning.
Shuichi Murata then led off with a double and advanced on a single by Hayato Sakamoto.
A sac-bunt by John Bowker then moved the latter to second base to get two runners in scoring position.
A grounder by first baseman José Lopez (who tied a Series-record by committing two errors) then brought in Murata to make it 4-2.
In the eighth and ninth inning, the Giants left a runner in scoring position, but the 4-2 lead was enough to win and force a seventh and deciding game in the Japan Series.