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The Orix BlueWave finished ahead of the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Pacific League in 1995 before losing to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in the Japan Series. The BlueWave won the PL again in 1996 and then finished the job against the Yomiuri Giants in the Japan Series.

The Orix Buffaloes edged the Marines for the pennant last season before losing to the Swallows in the title series. Now the Buffaloes, led by pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto and outfielder Masataka Yoshida, will try to match the 1996 team by getting back to the Japan Series and winning it.

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