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It took the Hiroshima Carp winning their first Central League pennant in 25 years to get veteran pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to drop his steely public facade. Kuroda, so business-like and methodical on the mound, couldn’t hold back the tears on Saturday night after the Carp defeated the Yomiuri Giants to clinch the seventh CL title in franchise history.

He shared a long embrace with fellow veteran Takahiro Arai as the team celebrated around them. After Carp manager Koichi Ogata was tossed in the air seven times during the traditional doage celebration, the Carp players, all of them younger than the 41-year-old Kuroda, grabbed the grizzled veteran and sent him airborne five times.

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