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Nippon Series: Giants take pivotal first game against Fighters

by on Nov.01, 2009 @ 12:00 am, under Game Summaries, NPB, Postseason

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Yomiuri Giants 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 4 8 0
Nippon Ham Fighters 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 12 0

Sapporo Dome | Attendance: 40,650 | Time: 3h 18m | Giants lead series, 1-0

The Giants took game 1 of the Nippon Series from the Fighters, 4-3.

Yoshitomo Tani's (3-for-4, HR, 3 R, RBI) 2-out home run in the top of the second gave the Giants a 1-0 lead.  Terrmel Sledge (2-for-4, BB, HR, R, RBI) quickly tied the game in the bottom of the inning with a home run of his own.

In the top of the 5th, Tani and Shinnosuke Abe (2-for-4, R) started the inning off with singles.  A sac bunt and a strike out later, with runners on second and third, Hayato Sakamoto (1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) nailed a 1-1 change-up down low for a double off the top of the left field wall to give the Giants a 3-1 lead.

The Fighters returned a run in the bottom of the 6th on a pinch hit, 1 out, RBI single by Tomohiro Nioka (1-for-1, RBI) after Sledge and Eiichi Koyano (1-for-5, R) led off the inning with singles.

That run quickly disappeared in the top of the 7th when Seung-Yeop Lee (1-for-2, RBI) came in to pinch hit for a pinch hitter and hit a single into center with runners on first and third and 1 out.

Marc Kroon came on to pitch in the bottom of the 9th and gave up a lead-off bunt single to Kensuke Tanaka (2-for-5, R).  A ground out and a fly out later, with Tanaka now on second, Shinji Takahashi (2-for-4, BB, 2B, RBI) hit a double that pulled the Fighters to within a run of tying the game.  Kroon then walked Sledge on 8 pitches to put the go ahead run on base.  After Sledge was replaced by pinch runner Kazuya Murata, Kroon bore down and struck out Koyano for the final out of the game.

Missed Opportunities
Giants
5th: runner on second, 2 out > Matsumoto flied out
7th: runners on first and third, 1 out > Sakamoto struck out and Matsumoto grounded out
8th: runner on second, 1 out > Kamei flied out, runner to third, Tani flied out

Fighters
2nd: runners on first and second, 2 out > M. Kaneko struck out
3rd: runners on first and second, 2 out > Sledge grounded out
5th: runners on first and second, 1 out > Inaba struck out and Takahashi grounded out
6th: runners on first and second, 1 out > M. Kaneko struck out and Tanaka flied out
9th: runners on first and second, 2 out > Koyano struck out

Giants: 5 LOB, 0 DP
Fighters: 12 LOB, 0 DP

News
The Fighters outhit the Giants, 12-8. ... Sho Nakata was not in the dugout for the game tonight. ... M. Kaneko struck out twice with runners on first and second. ... Sledge became the 14th person in Nippon Series history to hit a home run in his first at bat. ... Tateyama made his first appearance since 10/6. ... There was a key play in the 5th that could have changed the course of the game: with runners on first and second and no out, Kimura Takuya laid down a bunt that Masaru Takeda should have been able to field.  But since he was intent on trying to get the runner out at third, but he botched the play and the out went to first.  In watching the replays, he may have actually been able to get the out at third.

Yomiuri Giants

Name G W L S IP NP BF AB H HR K BB HBP SHF WP BK R ER ERA
Gonzalez, Dicky W 1 1 0 0 5 1/3 96 25 25 9 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 3.375
Yamaguchi, Tetsuya H 1 0 0 0 1 2/3 29 7 6 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Ochi, Daisuke H 1 0 0 0 1 15 4 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Kroon, Marc S 1 0 0 1 1 25 6 5 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 9.000

Nippon Ham Fighters

Name G W L S IP NP BF AB H HR K BB HBP SHF WP BK R ER ERA
Takeda, Masaru L 1 0 1 0 6 64 23 22 5 1 3 0 0 1 0 0 3 3 4.500
Tateyama, Yoshinori 1 0 0 0 0/3 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 *
Hayashi, Masanori 1 0 0 0 1/3 10 2 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Ejiri, Shintaro 1 0 0 0 1 2/3 26 7 7 1 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.000
Miyanishi, Naoki 1 0 0 0 1 10 3 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000

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...Tetsuya Utsumi will likely start game 2 of the Nippon Series.

...Hayato Sakamoto on his 2-run double in the 5th:

We had runner in scoring position so I wanted to be proactive. I was off-balance a little, but I was thinking off-speed pitch so I was able to get down and make contact.  When I first hit it, I thought it was going to be caught, but since I was able to get a full swing on the ball, it kept going.

...Sakamoto went 3-for-18 in 7 games last season during the Nippon Series; Tani went 1-for-9 over 5 games.

...Seung-Yeop Lee on driving in the Giants' 4th run of the game:

First base was open but I knew they would pitch to me.  I had a feeling that the next run would be big so [my hit] ended up helping us out.  The fact that they used me in such a big spot made me feel like they trust me.

...Terrmel Sledge and Dicky Gonzalez are former roommates (albeit for a very short time) from when they were on the AAA Expos in 2002.

...Tatsunori Hara on the Giants' victory:

We were able to set the tone of the game and that helped a lot.  We took advantage of the few scoring opportunities we had and still managed to score 4 runs and hold the opposition to 3.  We won the game 4-3 in much the manner I've been talking about all season.  The Nippon Series is very unique.  I'd like to keep playing gaming at our own pace.

...Masataka Nashida on the Fighters' loss:

We couldn't win, but we hung in there 'til the end.  It's too bad we couldn't take better advantage of the early scoring opportunities.  We couldn't keep the innings going.  The run in the 7th ended up killing us.  A start by Darvish?  I haven't seen him pitch so I can't say.

...The Giants won their 99th Nippon Series game.

...It was the first Nippon Series game where the winning pitcher (Dicky Gonzalez) and closer on record (Marc Kroon) were both foreign pitchers.

...The last time these two teams met during the Nippon Series was back in 1981.  The Giants won the series back then 4-2.  The series is well-remembered by many fans because the entire series was played at Korakuen Stadium (the home field for both teams).  Tatsunori Hara hit two home runs for the Giants during the series.

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