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Leonys Martin hit a ball that looked like it might land in Osaka.

A happy coincidence, because that’s exactly where he and the rest of the Chiba Lotte Marines are headed.

Martin connected on a deep solo home run to right to even the score in the seventh inning and that was enough for the Marines, who advanced to the final stage of the Pacific League Climax Series after a 4-4 tie with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Game 2 of the first stage.

The Marines’ walk-off 5-4 victory in Game 1 meant a tie was as good as a win in Game 2 and Martin’s blast put them in position to get it.

Reliever Chihaya Sasaki retired the side in order in the eighth and Naoya Masuda closed out the series in the ninth.

”These were two really tough games,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “We also had games like this during the season and the players fought until the end.”

The Marines advance to a matchup against the PL champion Orix Buffaloes in the final stage. Orix edged Lotte for the league title in a pennant race that went down to the wire. Now the clubs will now meet for the right to play in the Japan Series. Game 1 of the final stage is scheduled for Wednesday night at Osaka Dome. The Buffaloes will begin with a 1-0 advantage as the pennant winners.

“They have the advantage,” Iguchi said. “I think the games are going to be just as tough as these two games were.”

Before thinking about the Buffaloes, the Marines had to take care of the Eagles.

Koki Yamaguchi did his part with a big night at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with a solo home run and coming up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the heroes of Game 1, went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.

Kazuhisa Ishii’s first year as the Eagles’ manager/general manager concluded with a loss in the postseason after a third-place finish in the regular season.

The Eagles’ season also ended without Masahiro Tanaka taking the mound in the playoffs. Takayuki Kishi got the start in Game 2, and allowed two runs over five innings.

The Eagles struck first for the second straight day, taking an early lead on an RBI single by Ginjiro Sumitani in the second inning. Daichi Suzuki was originally ruled out at the plate, but the call was reversed after a review. Tsuyoshi Yamasaki drove in another run with a single to make the score 2-0.

The Marines put runners on the corners with a pair of singles to start the bottom of the second and Hechavarria scored as Hiromi Oka hit into a double play.

Hechavarria drew a one-out walk in the fourth and scored from first on a double by Yamaguchi to even the score at 2-2.

Yamaguchi broke the deadlock with a home run in the sixth, his third hit of the day, off reliever Tomohiro Anraku.

The lead didn’t last long, as Sumitani homered to center to lead off the seventh and tie the score at 3-3. Yamasaki followed with a double and moved to second on a ground out. Hiroaki Shimauchi drove him in with a tiebreaking single to make the score 4-3.

Pinch hitter Katsuya Kakunaka and Takashi Ogino struck out to begin the seventh before Martin’s big two-out blast helped send the club to Osaka for the final stage.

“We had regret that we couldn’t win the title after 143 games in the regular season, but we were able to readjust for the Climax Series,” Iguchi said.

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