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Updated: October 31, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Jones gives Golden Eagles new lead in Japan Series
TOKYO (Japan) - Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles has taken a renewed lead in the best-of-seven Japan Series by winning 4-2 in 10 innings vs. Yomiuri Giants on Thursday-evening (October 31) in Game 5. Andruw Jones batted in an insurance run in the tenth inning of the game in the Tokyo Dome. The Eagles now lead the Series 3-2 and can capture its first championship at home in Sendai, where Game 6 will be played on Saturday.

...Andruw Jones in the Tokyo Dome in March...
...during the World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Tetsuya Utsumi started for the Giants and didn't encounter problems in the first two innings. He retired the side in the first at bat, then walked the lead-off batter in the second, but the Giants then turned a double play.

In the third inning, Utsumi gave up two runs. Kazuo Matsui and Motohiro Shima led off with singles. The latter was then forced out on a grounder by pitcher Wataru Karashima, which brought Matsui to third base. He then scored the first run when Takero Okajima also singled. With two outs, Ginji Akaminai doubled to make it 2-0, but it also led to the third out in the inning.

Utsumi then gave up two singles with two outs in the fourth inning, but this time the Eagles left the two runners behind.

In the next five innings, the Golden Eagles reached base only three times. After the fourth inning, the team was held hitless in four innings, then Ryo Hijirisawa singled with one out in the ninth inning, but was left behind.

Golden Eagles-starter Wataru Karashima struckout four batters and gave up only one basehit in the five innings he pitched. He was relieved by Takahiro Norimoto, who took over in the sixth inning. The rookie retired the side in the sixth inning, but then gave up an one-out homerun to Shuichi Murata in the seventh inning.

Norimoto then struckout three batters in the eighth, but ran into problems in the ninth at bat. Pinch-hitter Yoshinobu Takahashi led off with a double and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Hayato Sakamoto. Shinnosuke Abe was then pitched around and walked, but Shuichi Murata (who had homered two innings earlier) followed with a single to tie the score. The Giants left two runners behind, as a foul-out and groundout followed, leading to extra innings.

The Golden Eagles re-took the lead in the top of the tenth inning off of Kentaro Nishimura, who had taken over the pitching for the Giants in the ninth inning. Nishimura walked lead-off hitter and pitcher Takahiro Norimoto, who remained in the game and wasn't replaced by a pinch-hitter. Norimoto advanced on a sac-bunt by Takero Okajima, then Kazuya Fujita was hit on his left leg with a pitch. Moments later, Norimoto scored the go-ahead run when Ginji Akaminai followed with a single, which brought Fujita to third base. But there, the second baseman was troubled with pain due to the hit by pitch and was replaced by pinch-runner Toshihito Abe. The latter then scored an insurance run when Andruw Jones also delivered an RBI-single. Casey McGehee added another single which loaded the bases and brought in new pitcher Takahiro Aoki. He ended the inning with a groundout, but the Giants were now facing a 4-2 deficit.

Norimoto then retired the side in the bottom of the tenth inning to seal the win, meaning the Golden Eagles return to Sendai with a 3-2 lead, needing one win for their first-ever championship.

(October 31)

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