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Updated: October 16, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Comeback-win Giants in Japanese Central League Final-opener
TOKYO (Japan) - Yomiuri Giants trailed 2-0, but won 3-2 vs. Hiroshima Toyo Carp on Wednesday-evening (October 16) to open the 6-game Final Stage of the Central League Climax Series. As winner of the regular season in the Central League, the Giants automatically qualified for this round. As season-champion, the team also begins with one victory, which means the Giants now lead the best-of-seven, 2-0. Besides that, the Giants also earned home advantage, meaning they play all games in this series at home. On Thursday, the final opens in the Pacific League between Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and Chiba Lotte Marines.

45,107 spectators attended the game in the Tokyo Dome, the home of the Giants, which in March of this year also was the site of the Second Round in the World Baseball Classic. It was there, that the Netherlands National Baseball Team defeated Cuba twice to reach the semi-final of the event in San Francisco.

After stranding a runner in the first inning, Hiroshima opened the score with two runs in the second inning off of starting pitcher Tetsuya Utsumi. Eishin Soyogi led off with a double, then next batter Tetsuya Kokubo was hit by a pitch. The two then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Jun Hirose and scored when an error was made by 3rd baseman Shuichi Murata on a grounder by Yoshiyuki Ishihara.

...Batting practice in the Tokyo Dome...
...during the World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
With his error, Murata accounted for both runs, but he then also contributed to two runs of the Giants. He went 3-for-4 and two of his three singles led to runs and the victory.

In the fourth inning, Shinnosuke Abe led off with a walk, then moved into scoring position when Murata singled. The bases the got loaded when Yoshinobu Takahashi also walked. With one out, a sacrifice fly by Josť Lopez produced the first run for the Giants.

In the sixth inning, Murata led off with a single, but then a double play followed. The Giants then tied the score when Hayato Sakamoto followed with a homerun.

The Giants then took a 3-2 lead in the home of the seventh inning. With one out, pinch-hitter Itaru Hashimoto walked and moved on a single by Hisayoshi Chono. With two outs, the bases got loaded when Shinnosuke Abe walked. That brought Murata in the batter's box. He delivered his third basehit of the evening, which brought in Hashimoto to give the Giants a decisive 3-2 lead.

Ryosuke Kikuchi, second baseman for Hiroshima, went 4-for-5, but he stranded three times, while also being doubled up once. His four hits tie a postseason record.

(October 16)

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