NAGOYA - The Hiroshima Carp will head to their first Climax Series after beating the Chunichi Dragons 2-0 Wednesday.
Bryan Bullington (11-9) pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Carp to victory, which secured Hiroshima a top-three finish in the Central League.
Brad Eldred went 3-for-3 including a two-run homer, his 13th of the season, that broke the deadlock in the eighth inning at Nagoya Dome.
“It took a while, but I just want to enjoy tonight,” Carp manager Kenjiro Nomura said. “There have been good times and bad times, but everyone worked hard to get this far.”
Fourth-place Chunichi missed the postseason for the first time since the Climax Series was incepted in 2007.
Hiroshima is currently third and in all likelihood will finish there. With six games left in the regular season, the Carp are 4½ games behind the second-place Hanshin Tigers with a 67-69 record.
With the Yomiuri Giants having won the pennant on Sunday, Hiroshima and Hanshin are all but set to meet in the first stage of the Climax Series from Oct. 12.
The Carp are in their fourth year under Nomura. The last time they finished as high as third was in 1997 and they have not won the Japan Series since 1984.
Swallows 7, Giants 6
At Jingu Stadium, Yakult rocked Yomiuri’s Ryosuke Miyaguni (6-7) for six earned runs over four innings and Wladimir Balentien went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
BayStars 4, Tigers 2
At Nishinomiya’s Koshien Stadium, Hitoshi Tamura’s go-ahead, three-run home run in the eighth inning won it for Yokohama, which dealt Hanshin’s Blaine Boyer (2-1) his first loss in Japan.
Lions 4, Eagles 2
At Seibu Dome, first-place Tohoku Rakuten allowed Seibu a walk-off win for the second straight night but could still capture its first pennant Thursday after Lotte lost to Hokkaido Nippon Ham.
The Eagles saw their magic number shrink to two, and if they beat the Lions and the Marines lose to the Fighters on Thursday, the league title is theirs.
Fighters 10, Marines 7
At Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido Nippon Ham seized a 25-hit slugfest against Lotte to end a five-game losing streak. Brian Wolfe (9-6) earned the win despite allowing six earned runs on eight hits and a pair of walks in seven-plus innings.
Buffaloes 3, Hawks 2
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Orix beat Softbank for the second straight game thanks to Ryoichi Adachi’s sixth-inning RBI single.