Tokyo Dome | Attendance: 46,335 | Time: 2h 44m | Giants lead series, 15-6-0
The Giants beat the Dragons, 5-3, to become the 2009 Central League Champs.
Yoshitomo Tani (3-for-3, HBP, HR, 2 R, RBI) gave the Giants an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd when he banged out his 11th home run of the year off Daisuke Yamai. In the bottom of the 4th, the Giants scored three more runs:
Alex Ramirez (2-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) led off the inning with his 39th home run of the year. Yoshiyuki Kamei (1-for-4, R) hit a single to center and Tani was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Shinnosuke Abe (0-for-3, BB) flied out to second. Shigeyuki Furuki (2-for-4, RBI) drove in Kamei with single; runners on first and third. Wirfin Obispo (1-for-2, RBI) dropped down a bunt and with both the second baseman and first baseman going after the ball and no one to cover first, Obispo reached first safely and picked up an RBI to boot; runners on first and second. Hayato Sakamoto (1-for-3) struck out and Furuki was caught stealing third; strike out-throw out double play.
Meanwhile, Wirfin Obispo was working on a 1-hit shut-out through 3 innings. And then the 4th inning happened: Kazuhiro Wada (1-for-3, R) led off with a single; an out later, Ryosuke Hirata (2-for-3, 2B, R) hit a double to left, runners on second and third; and on a 2-2 pitch, Motonobu Tanishige (1-for-3, HR, R, 3 RBI) nailed his 9th home run of the year.
With only a 1-run lead, the Giants looked to score another run to pad their lead. They got that run in the bottom of the 7th: with pinch hitter Takuya Kimura on first and pinch runner Takahiro Suzuki on third and 2 out, Ramirez hit a single into right and gave the Giants their 5-3 lead.
Marc Kroon entered the game in the top of the 9th and retired the first two batters of the inning before walking Wada on 6 pitches. The Dragons turned to pinch hitter Kazuyoshi Tatsunami to try an extend the inning, but he ending up lining out to Furuki (3B) for the final out of the inning.
3rd: runner on second, 1 out > Yamai grounded out, runner on third, Araki flied out
4th: runners on first and second, 2 out > Sakamoto struck out
7th: runners on first and seocnd, 2 out > Kamei flied out
8th: runners on first and second, no out > Furuki GIDP, runner on third, Suzuki struck out
Dragons: 3 LOB, 1 DP
Giants: 7 LOB, 3 DP
The Giants outhit the Dragons, 12-6. ... The Giants have won have 7 games in a row. ... The Giants swept the series (3-0) and outscored the Dragons 12-6. ... Alex Ramirez is the only player on the roster to play in every game of the season. He has also never once been taken out of the number 4 spot in the line-up. ... Potential trivia? The man retiring at the end of the season (Tatsunami) ended up making the last out of the game. ... For the month of September, Tani is batting over .500 with 6 HRs and 16 RBIs. ... A season high 46,335 fans packed the Dome on Wednesday.
|Yamai, Daisuke L||13||0||3||2||4||73||19||18||8||2||4||0||1||0||0||0||4||4||6.188|
|Takahashi, Akifumi||44||2||2||0||2 2/3||33||11||9||2||0||2||0||1||1||0||0||1||1||3.400|
|Asao, Takuya||64||7||9||3||1 1/3||15||6||5||2||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.589|
|Obispo, Wirfin W||13||5||1||0||7||93||26||26||5||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||3||3||2.664|
|Ochi, Daisuke H||64||8||2||10||1||12||3||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.856|
|Kroon, Marc S||46||1||3||27||1||20||4||3||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.260|
Quote from various players:
Congratulations on winning the Championships. For the first time since V9, it's three straight Championships in a row. I hope you'll get past the Climax Series and go on to become the number 1 team in Japan. I will also work hard on winning the World Series.
- Hideki Matsui
They're 40 games over 500 and they're a power-packed team. Hitting, pitching... they know how to do both. Especially in the first half. I'd like to try and work on playing them one more time this year.
- Akinobu Mayumi
I think their success has to do with the balance they have as a team. Compared to our V9 team, the Giants' team this year is much stronger. I think they can succeed the rest of the way with what they've got.
- Shigeo Nagashima
Hara just keeps getting every year and I think he's really starting to grow. The players from within the organization are doing really well, so I think this team will be strong for quite some time. I'd like them to continue extending their winning ways.
- Sadaharu Oh
I'm speechless. This year is really special. I was a little worried about this season because of the WBC, but the players all grew stronger over the season, and one by one they stood their ground and pulled this team together. Our predecessors (the V9 team) left us something to strive for and I thought if we could even approach them just by a bit... I'd like to think of this as a mid-point as we work harder to go further.
- Tatsunori Hara
...Tatsunori Hara aspired to join the US Senior Golf Tour when he retired from baseball. Perhaps it's a good thing that dream didn't pan out.
...Shinnosuke Abe felt that perhaps it was his regular visits to his family grave that allowed the Giants take the CL Champsionship.
...Hayato Sakamoto, the Japanese Derek Jeter?! Sakamoto is in his third year with the Giants and has been to the post-season in each of those three years.
...Three foreigners have combined to go 32-7 for the Giants this season:
Seth Greisinger - 13-5
Dicky Gonzalez - 14-1
Wirfin Obispo - 5-1
...The Giants clinched their third Championship in three consecutive seasons, and 33rd overall (42 if you include the single league years). The last time a Central League team won at least three consecutive Championships in a row was back when the Giants won 9 consecutive Championship between 1965 and 1973. The last time in the Pacific League was the Seibu Lions with 5 between 1990 and 1994.
...Since the Ikusei Draft system was implemented 7 years ago, the Giants have drafted an NPB high, 15 players. Tetsuya Yamaguchi and Tetsuya Matsumoto are two notables players that have moved up from being Ikusei players.
The Giants also started a program back in 2007 to help strengthen their farm system to help create a better balance between homegrown talent and free agents / foreigners. They have also started a system that ranks their lower level players on a scale from A-D. Players that are ranked A are given at least 600 at bats over the course of a year.
...The CL Champion was decided on 9/23 for the 7th time in NPB history.
...And the big sales are on! Mitsukoshi and a number of other stores in Tokyo will have special sales commemorating the Giants victory between the 24th and 26th.
...Yomiuri Land will be waiving their entrance fees between the 24th and 30th and all Giants' merchandise sold within Yomiuri Land will be 20% off.
Key dates in the 2009 season:
4/3: First game of the season was a loss.
4/7: First victory of the year.
4/7 - 4/11: A 5 game winning streak led to the Giants taking over first and never looking back.
4/7 - 4/15: The first 6 game winning streak (including 1 tie).
4/21: First team to win 10 games in either league.
4/26 - 4/29: For the first time in team history, the Giants were shut-out three consecutive games.
4/30: Hara wins his 400th career game as a manager.
5/6: Hayato Sakamoto hits his first lead-off home run of the season.
5/30 - 6/3: Team first, CL tie, 4 straight extra inning games.
6/5: Dicky Gonzalez wins his 6th straight game in 6 starts, tying Eiji Sawamura's 36 year record.
6/8: Shinnosuke Abe records his 1,000th career hit.
6/21: Taishi Ohta makes his Ichi-gun debut.
7/12: Giants get their first Magic Number for the Climax series: 55.
7/20: Sakamoto's consecutive game streak ends as he's taken out of the line-up with tightness in his back.
7/22: Giants win their 50th game during their final game of the first half.
8/4: Yoshiyuki Kamei breaks a 4-4 tie game with a walk-off 2-run home run.
8/5: The second place Dragons are just a game behind the Giants.
8/7: Alex Ramirez appears in his 1,220th career game, most for a foreigner.
8/8: Kamei hit his 3rd walk-off home run of the year, tying him with Sadaharu Oh's 70 year-old record.
8/12: The Giants recorded a seasonal league high 23 hits and 16 runs against the Hiroshima Carp.
8/25: Ramirez records his 9th consecutive season of 20+ home runs.
8/26: Ramirez records his 1,500th career hit in his 1,236 game to become the quickest to 1,500 hits.
8/25 - 8/27: The Giants take three straight from the second place Dragons. Their Magic Number for becoming CL Champs is 26. Michihiro Ogasawara collects his 1,000th career RBI.
8/28: Yoshinobu Takahashi returns to Ichi-gun for the first time this year and strike outs in his first appearances as a pinch hitter.
8/29: Takahashi decides to go through with surgery on his back.
8/30: Ramirez records his 8th consecutive 150-hit season; a new NPB record.
9/4: The Giants played in the CL's longest game of the year: 5h 27m vs the Yakult Swallows. Takuya Kimura made an appearance behind the plate in the 12th for the first time in 10 years.
9/11: The Giants become the first time in either league to clinch a spot in the Climax Series.
9/21: For the first time in 19 years, the Giants are 40 games over 500 after beating the Dragons.
9/21 - 9/23: The Giants sweep a three game series against the Dragons to clinch their 3rd straight Championship in as many years.