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NPB Roundup – 10/10: Yomiuri Giants clinch Central League!

by on Oct.10, 2008 @ 9:08 am, under NPB

I haven't written up my round-up yet, but I did want to go ahead and mention that the Giants have clinched first place in the Central League.

UPDATE: And here it is...

Central League

The Yomiuri Giants beat the Yakult Swallows, 3-1.

The Giants made three key acquisitions this offseason they felt would help put them over the top. And each of those acquisitions have contributed heavily to their success down the stretch. Alex Ramirez has been a huge presence in the lineup with his .322 batting average, 44 home runs, and 124 RBI (although he went 0-for-4 tonight). Seth Greisinger has 5-1 over his last 7 games and has won 17 overall (both figures include tonight's results). And Marc Kroon has given the Giants a reliable closer to turn to in the 9th.

Kind of makes you wonder what the Swallows were thinking about seeing two of those key acquisitions sitting across the field from them during tonight's game. A day that would ultimately see the Giants celebrate their 32nd first place finish and second consecutive first place finish (the last team to do it was, coincidentally, the '92-'93 Yakult Swallows).

Shinnosuke got the Giants started with his 24th home run of the season in the top of the 4th. The Swallows answered back with a run in the bottom of the inning. But after losing last night's game against the Bay Stars, this was a game the Giants didn't want to lose. The Giants scored 2 more runs over the next 2 innings to take a 3-1 lead they wouldn't surrender.

NOTES: The Giants trailed the Tigers by as many as 13 games on July 9. But a 12-game winning streak in September helped close that gap. ... Norichika Aoki went 0-for-4 with a strike out (.351).

Code:
     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9    R   H   E
YOM  0  0  0  1  1  1  0  0  0    3   10  0
YAK  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0    1   4   0

WP: Seth Greisinger (17-9)   SV: Marc Kroon (41)
LP: Dicky Gonzalez (1-5)
HR: YOM: Shinnosuke Abe (24). YAK: None.

Yomiuri Giants
                     IP   BF  NP   H  HR  K  BB  HBP  ER  R
Seth Greisinger   W  8.2  29  102  4  0   8  0    0   1   1
Marc Kroon        S  0.1  1   2    0  0   0  0    0   0   0

Yakult Swallows
                     IP   BF  NP   H  HR  K  BB  HBP  ER  R
Dicky Gonzalez    L  5.0  22  77   5  1   6  2    0   2   2
Mikinori Kato        1.0  5   16   2  0   0  1    0   1   1
Takehiko Oshimoto    1.0  4   15   1  0   1  0    0   0   0
Masao Kida           1.0  3   7    1  0   0  0    0   0   0
Kenichi Matsuoka     1.0  4   15   1  0   0  0    0   0   0

The Yokohama Bay Stars beat the Hanshin Tigers, 4-3.

So the worst team in the NPB has managed to beat the two teams with the best records in the NPB, two nights in a row. And in beating the Tigers tonight, the Bay Stars gave first place to the Giants. Looks like the Giants owe the Bay Stars a nice dinner as well.

For a while, it did appear as though the Tigers would stave off elimination from first for at least one more night, as they led the game 3-0 going into the bottom of 6th. But an overworked bullpen couldn't hold the fort down. After Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi got the first batter he faced to ground out to third, he gave up a walk and two consecutive singles, shrinking the Tigers lead to 2. Scott Atchison then came in to relieve Shimoyanagi and promptly gave up the lead by serving up a 3-run bomb to Shuichi Murata.

The Tigers couldn't get their offensive act together after that inning -- they couldn't take advanage of a runners on first and second situation with 1 out in the 7th, nor could they do anything when they got two runners on base with 2 outs in the top of the 9th. Earlier in the season, the Tigers probably would have managed to score at lease one run in one of those innings. Instead, the Tigers took the loss and will finish in second -- a horrible finish considering where they were just a couple months back.

NOTES: Seiichi Uchikawa went 1-for-4 (.377). ... Shuichi Murata now leads the CL with 45 home runs. Alex Ramirez trails by 1.

Code:
     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9    R   H   E
HAN  0  0  2  0  1  0  0  0  0    3   7   0
YOK  0  0  0  0  0  4  0  0  x    4   6   1

WP: Futoshi Kobayashi (6-5)   SV: Hayato Terahara (21)
LP: Scott Atchison (7-6)
HR: HAN: Tomoaki Kanemoto (27), Kentaro Sekimoto (5).
YOK: Shuichi Murata (45).

Hanshin Tigers
                     IP   BF  NP   H  HR  K  BB  HBP  ER  R
Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi 5.1  21  71   3  0   2  2    0   3   3
Scott Atchison    L  1.2  7   32   2  1   4  0    0   1   1
Fujikawa Kyuji       1.0  4   20   1  0   0  0    0   0   0

Yokohama Bay Stars
                     IP   BF  NP   H  HR  K  BB  HBP  ER  R
Futoshi Kobayashi W  6.0  25  104  5  2   6  1    0   3   3
Hiroki Sanada        1.0  5   17   1  0   0  1    0   0   0
Shun Yamaguchi       1.0  4   23   0  0   2  1    0   0   0
Hayato Terahara   S  1.0  5   20   1  0   1  1    0   0   0
Code:
                   W   L   T  WPCT  GB
Yomiuri Giants     83  57  3  .593  -
Hanshin Tigers     81  58  3  .583  1.5
Chunichi Dragons   71  67  5  .514  11.0
-----------------------------------------
Hiroshima Carp     69  70  5  .496  13.5
Yakult Swallows    65  73  4  .471  17.0
Yokohama Bay Stars 47  93  2  .336  36.0

Pacific League

The regular season is over.

Code:
                   W   L   T  WPCT  GB
Seibu Lions        76  64  4  .543  --
Orix Buffaloes     75  68  1  .524  2.5
Ham Fighters       73  69  2  .511  4.0
-----------------------------------------
Lotte Marines      73  70  1  .510  4.5
Rakuten Eagles     65  76  3  .461  11.5
Softbank Hawks     64  77  3  .454  12.5