Baseball: Marines, Giants reach the final stages of the Climax series

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The Lotte Marines players celebrate their entry into the final stages of the playoffs of the Japanese Climax series on November 7, 2021 at the Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba near Tokyo. (Kyodo)

CHIBA (Kyodo) – The Lotte Marines of the Pacific League and the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League reached the final stages of the playoffs of the Japanese Climax Series on Sunday, the Marines with a 4-4 home game against the Rakuten Eagles and the Giants with a 4- 2 Victory on the road over the Hanshin Tigers.

With Game 2 tied at Zozo Marine Stadium after winning Game 1, second-placed Lotte ensured that the third-placed Eagles couldn’t do anything better than the three-game series hosted by the higher-ranking team and by them in the Case of deadlock.

The Giants, who finished third in the CL, needed a draw or two after their 4-0 win on Saturday to advance to the final leg of the CL.

In Chiba, Naoya Masuda resigned from the RBI leader of the PL, Hiroaki Shimauchi, from close to the Marines to send Lotte to the best-of-seven finals at the Kyocera Dome Osaka against the Orix Buffaloes.

With a 4-3 deficit in the top of the seventh, Lotte savior Yuki Kuniyoshi recovered from a disastrous game on Saturday to beat a two-on-one out of vinegar and Leonys Martin homered to the game tie in the lower third inning.

Chihaya Sasaki scored a 1-2-3 eighth for the Marines, and PL rescuer Masuda finished the job as the front runner.

Marines rookie Koki Yamaguchi went 3-for-3. His double in the fourth inning tied 2-2, and his home run in the sixth inning put Lotte in the lead.

Veteran catcher Ginjiro Sumitani, who joined the Eagles that summer, tied the game again by leading the seventh inning with a home run off Marines starter Kazuya Ojima. With two Shimauchi isolated in the inning in the starting gun to chase Ojima.

The day after giving up three runs and losing a 3-1 lead on Saturday, Kuniyoshi was out of the light.

“I must answer for not bringing Kuniyoshi with me to start the inning,” said Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi.

At Koshien Stadium, the Giants had the chance to return to the Japan Series for a third straight season after securing a spot in the final stages of the CL at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo against the Yakult Swallows.

After a 2-0 in the third game, the Giants loaded the bases with no outs against Koyo Aoyagi with one mistake and two singles. Seiya Matsubara prevailed in one round and Yoshihiro Maru’s two-man singles put Yomiuri in the lead.

“With two outs, I was just looking for a pitch that I could swing on,” said Maru.

The Tigers had 11 hits and five walks but couldn’t bring any more home, while Yomiuri scored his fourth undeserved run of the game in eighth on a Zelous Wheeler victim fly.

Hanshin threatened in the ninth round after two outs against the closer Thyago Vieira. Jefry Marte hit an infield single, and Yusuke Oyama went to base the potential tracking only for Vieira to end the Tigers’ season by beating Mel Rojas Jr. in a dramatic final at the bat.

The Giants are now competing in Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium against CL champion Yakult Swallows. Both finals begin on Wednesday, with the league champions starting with a win lead.


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