HIROSHIMA – Kosuke Tanaka broke the ice with a two-run, tiebreaking single in the fifth inning, as the Hiroshima Carp opened the Central League playoffs’ final stage with a 3-0 win over the Yokohama BayStars in a game called after five innings because of rain.
The Carp, who began the Climax Series’ final stage with a one-win advantage by virtue of winning the league, now lead the six-game series 2-0.
The Carp did not have a hit off lefty Kenta Ishida until the fifth inning, when Takahiro Arai singled after Xavier Batista drew a leadoff walk in the rain at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium. After a sacrifice, a walk and a strikeout, Tanaka fouled off a 2-2 pitch before Ishida hung a high slider and the Carp leadoff man lifted it into center.
Ryosuke Kikuchi followed with an infield single that made it 3-0, and the umpires stopped play after the third out.
Carp starter Kazuki Yabuta allowed two hits and a walk, while striking out two over five innings, while Ishida surrendered three hits and three walks, while striking out three.
“Even under intense pressure, Yabuta expertly executed hid pitches,” said Carp skipper Koichi Ogata, whose club is looking to return to the Japan Series for the second straight year.
“Because our opponents came in here with momentum, winning the first game was huge.”
The game was delayed for 36 minutes before the umpiring crew decided to call it off.
The winner of the CL Climax Series will advance to the Japan Series against the winner of the Pacific League’s final stage in Fukuoka between the PL champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Eagles 3, Hawks 2
At Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome, Eigoro Mogi hit the first of Tohoku Rakuten’s three home runs, leading off the first inning with a solo shot, as the Eagles held off league champion SoftBank to win their third-straight playoff game.
Japhet Amador and Zelous Wheeler also homered for the visitors, who got six solid innings from Takahiro Shiomi.
The win evened the series 1-1 after the Hawks received a one-win advantage for being PL champs.
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