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The most unpredictable of pennant races ended with among the most predictable of results: The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, once again, on top of the Pacific League and looking toward the Climax Series and possibly a fourth straight Japan Series title.

Japanese baseball’s reigning dynasty wrapped up the 2020 pennant with a 5-1 win over the Chiba Lotte Marines Tuesday night, getting six shutout innings and eight strikeouts from 39-year-old veteran Tsuyoshi Wada and a two-run homer from catcher Takuya Kai. The Hawks win so much it’s easy to forget this is their first PL title since 2017, despite their recent dominance of the Japan Series.

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