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Uchikawa lifts PL to win in All-Star Series finale

Kyodo

Seiichi Uchikawa of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks hit a tie-breaking, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth to lift the Pacific League to a 3-1 victory over the Central League in the finale of the three-game summer All-Star Series.

Trailing by a run in the eighth, Yang Dai-kang doubled and scored from third on a one-out single by Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters teammate Shohei Otani. With one out and two on, Uchikawa came through against Tokyo Yakult Swallows right-hander Tetsuya Yamamoto.

“The day before yesterday I hit into a pair of double plays, so I had a chance (to put the team in front), I wanted to get it done,” said Uchikawa, who won the final spot on the PL roster through an Internet vote.

Like most hitters on both teams in the first All-Star game ever played in Fukushima Prefecture, Uchikawa was sitting on the first pitch.

“In any event, that’s my style, to go after the first pitch,” Uchikawa said.

The CL put opened the scoring in the fifth against Hawks reliever Sho Iwasaki. Yoshihiru Maru of the Hiroshima Carp lined a leadoff double to right center and scored on a throwing error by Yang.

Hanshin Tigers catcher Akihito Fujii hit a fly to center for the second out. Maru tagged up and took third. Yang’s wide throw got past Hawks third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda and Maru scored easily.

The PL, which had squandered its only two scoring opportunities, tied the game thanks to hits by three Fighters. Yang led off with a double, and went to third on a deep foul fly to right. With the infield drawn in to cut off the potential tying run at the plate, Otani, a rookie pitcher/outfielder, just barely got a grounder into center to tie it.