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[11/3/2013] Rakuten Eagles blank Yomiuri Giants, 3-0, take Nippon Series Championship

by on Nov.03, 2013 @ 9:53 pm, under NPB

Senichi Hoshino was tossed into the air nine times.

Nippon Series MVP

Manabu Mima (Rakuten)

Top Player Award

Masahiro Tanaka (Rakuten)
Ginji (Rakuten)
Tetsuya Utsumi (Yomiuri)

Fighting Spirit Award

Hisayoshi Chono (Yomiuri)

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Rakuten has started a Championship Celebration sale that runs through to November 7 at 1:59am.

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Post-Game Interviews

Senichi Hoshino

How do you feel right now?

The series went to seven games, there is nothing that could make me happier.

How did it feel to be tossed into the air?

It was great!  Please cheer for the players that helped provide courage to the children in Tohoku, to the children of Japan, to the survivors.

What about the trio of Mima, Norimoto, and Tanaka?

Pitching all three is something no one would have imagined, but Tanaka insisted on pitching.  We got here because of him, so I felt it was best to leave it up to him at the end.

The crowd went wild.

I have been asking them to come since the spring.  In this cold, our players played in the toughest conditions and managed to give Tohoku the gift of a Nippon Series.

This was a first for Rakuten and a first for you.

Who cares about me...  Winning a Nippon Series in the ninth year.  This is all because of the players.  They did a good job holding up to my abuse.  Hopefully the fans can also hold up to it.

Is there anything you would like to tell the players?

I cannot find the words.  We are talking about the mighty Giants.  They are capable of rising to the occasion, and I could not believe it until the very end on the strikeout.  It is not that I did not trust Tanaka.  But things like yesterday do happen.  You never know in life.

You beat the Giants to win the Nippon Series.

We just barely go by the mighty Giants with one win, but our team will get weak.  But this year, the players managed to them.  They put their heads down and just kept at it, until the very end.  Please cheer for the players.

Is there anything you want to say to the fans?

I have had the chance to say messages three times already, so I think I have said everything I can.  When I became manager there was the Tohoku Earthquake and when I saw all the survivors and hardships they were experiencing, I want to provide some comfort by winning a Nippon Series.  I felt that was the only thing I could, and for three years I fought with that in my mind.  There are still many people still struggling.  I hope this can provide some of those people with comfort, if even to the smallest degree.  Thank you!

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/3/2013, Daily Sports 11/3/2013

Manabu Mima

You pitched a good game.

Thank you.

What went through you mind when you took the mound for this game that would decide the Nippon Series?

I was not nervous, but Tanaka lost yesterday so I just wanted the team to pull together to win the Nippon Series and I did my best.

What did it feel like pitching in a Nippon Series game at Kleenex Stadium?

It was great!

You held an explosive Giants offense to zero runs over two games.

Things just worked out too well for me.  Just too well.  Thank you.

Did you feel the fans while you were pitching?

I could really feel the excitement pushing me forward.  Thank you everyone!

You did not allow any runs during the postseason.

It just worked out to well.  I was lucky.

Where did that strength come from?

The team atmosphere and the stadium atmosphere.  It felt like the everyone in the stadium came together as one, more than just the team coming together as one.

Hoshino turned to you even though you were coming off an injury.

I really appreciate how he called me up even though I was not performing [at Ni-gun].

Anything you would like to tell the fans in the stadium, or across Japan?

We are Nippon Series champs!

Would you like to finish things off?

Three, two, one, Burn!

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/3/2013

Masahiro Tanaka

Nice job on pitching.

Thank you.

What was going through your mind as you waited for your turn?

I did a awful job yesterday so I was prepared to go out there if given the opportunity.

What did you think about the intense cheering from the fans in the 9th?

I could feel the energy and I took the mound feeling thankful to my teammates and fans for preparing the stage.

You were on the mound for the last out of the game.  What did you feel when the game ended?

Relief.

You were able to toss Hoshino into the air after a Nippon Series win.

I was really happy that we were able to toss him into the air in Kleenex Stadium in front of the Tohoku fans.

What would you like to tell the fans?

Thank you.

What kind of season was this for you?

It was a great season.

And lastly, any words for the fans?

We are Nippon Series champs!

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/3/2013, Daily Sports 11/3/2013

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Tanaka told coaches that he was ready to pitch if needed.  They had formally decided to use him in the 9th after the 7th inning.  They waited until after the 7th to see how Norimoto was going to do.

Of the fifteen pitches Tanaka threw in the 9th, nine were splitters.  He went with the splitter because his fastball was not as sharp and it was the pitch he felt good about.

"I did feel tired, but when you come this far that is no longer a concern and I just pitched thinking this was the last," Tanaka said.

Source: Sponichi 11/4/2013

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Katsuhiro Nomura:

Congratulations on winning a Nippon Series.  It has been nine years since the team got its start.  It was about time it had to win.  What great timing, and only two years since the Tohoku Earthquake.  To win it at home in front of the warm Sendai fans, and then to have Ma-kun on the mound for the final inning.  You could say that this move was old-school Hoshino.  It was a nice way to end.

Source: Sponichi 11/3/2013

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Some other news and notes:

  • The Eagles are the seventh team in NPB history to win a Nippon Series in their first appearance, first since Yakult in 1978. [Daily Sports 11/3/2013] ... The other six teams: 1950 Mainichi, 1951 Yomiuri, 1954 Chunichi, 1960 Taiyo, 1962 Toei, 1978 Yakult.  Taiyo, Yakult, and Rakuten are the only three that won their first Nippon Series against teams with prior experience.  At nine years after the introduction into the league, the Eagles are the fifth quickest to win a Nippon Series.  The other four: Mainichi (first year), Yomiuri (second year), Chunichi (fifth year), Nishitetsu (seventh year). [Sanspo 11/4/2013]
  • At sixty-six years and nine months, Senichi Hoshino is the oldest manager to win a Nippon Series.  The previous record of sixty-four years and eight month was set by Shigeo Nagashima in 2000. [Daily Sports 11/3/2013]
  • Manabu Mima is the eighth player to win a Nippon Series MVP while playing for a team that won the Series in their first attempt, first since Katsuo Osugi for Yakult in 1978.  Of those eight, only three are pitchers: Chunichi's Shigeru Sugishita (1954), Toei's Masayuki Dobashi (1962), and Mima.  Mima joined Seibu's Takashi Ishii (2004) as the only pitcher to win the Series MVP while winning six or fewer games during the regular season.  He also joined Yomiuri's Akio Masuda (12 IP in 1966), Seibu's Takashi Ishii (13 IP in 2004), and Seibu's Takayuki Kishi (14.2 IP in 2008) as the only pitchers that have not allowed a run in 11.2 or more innings of work during one Series. [Sanspo 11/4/2013] ... Mima is the fifth pitcher in Series history to toss ten or more shutout innings during a series.  The other four: Kishi, Ishii, Yomiuri's Akio Masuda (12 IP in 1966), and Yakult's Kazuhisa Ishii (11 IP, 1997).  Mima did not allow a run in 20.2 postseason innings.  At 169 centimeters tall, he is also the shortest pitcher to win a Nippon Series MVP.  The previous record of 170 centimeters belonged to Hankyu's Takashi Yamaguchi (1975). [Sponichi 11/4/2013]
  • Masahiro Tanaka is the ninth pitcher to lead the regular season in wins and be the pitcher on the mound during the last out of the defining game of the Nippon Series, first since Seibu's Osamu Higashio in 1983.  He is also: the first pitcher to win twenty or more games during the regular season and record a save during the Nippon Series; the seventh pitcher to record a complete game victory and a save during the Nippon Series, first since Yomiuri's Masumi Kuwata in 1994; and joined Seibu's Kimiyasu Kudo in 1987 (two complete game victories and a save) as the only two pitchers to record two complete games and a save during the Nippon Series. [Sanspo 11/4/2013] ... Tanaka is the tenth pitcher (accomplished thirteen times) to throw 160 pitches in a Series game.  He is the first of the ten to also pitch on the following day. [Sponichi 11/4/2013]
  • Takahiro Norimoto's eighteen strikeouts in three Nippon Series games tied Kazuhisa Inao (1956) for second most during a Series by a rookie pitcher. [Sports Hochi 11/4/2013]
  • Interim NPB CEO Shunsuke Takeda attended the game and presided over the awards ceremony at the end of the game. [Sponichi 11/3/2013]
  • The Sendai Athletic Stadium next to Kleenex Stadium was opened to fans for Game 7 (free admission).  Over 10,000 fans filled the stadium. [Nikkan Sports 11/3/2013Sponichi 11/3/2013]
  • About 500 Rakuten employees and various personnel watched the game at Rakuten headquarters in Shinagawa, Tokyo. [Sponichi 11/3/2013]
  • The Eagles prepared 5,000 bottles of beer for the celebrations that took place inside a tent set up in the outdoor parking lot. [Daily Sports 11/4/2013] ... The beer was used up in about seventeen minutes.  Two pump trucks were used to clean up all the beer. [Tokyo Sports 11/4/2013] ... Sponichi mentions 4,000 bottles of beer in about thirty minutes. [Sponichi 11/3/2013]
  • Hoshino received close to 200 congratulatory messages. [Daily Sports 11/4/2013]
  • There were over 10,000 fans outside Kleenex Stadium on Saturday.  A number of tv monitors were set up outside of the stadium for the fans.[Sponichi 11/3/2013]
  • Two big screen TVs were set up near the shopping district close to Sendai Stadion on Saturday -- a sixty-inch screen and a forty-inch screen.  About three hundred fans huddled around to watch the game. [ZakZak 11/3/2013]
  • Ryo Hijirisawa celebrated his twenty-eighth birthday by going 2-for-2 with a walk and a double.
  • The Giants suffered their twentieth Nippon Series shutout loss.  It was also the second time they were shutout in the deciding game of the Series (the other time was Game 4 of the 1959 Series).  Their .182 team batting average over the seven-game series established a new franchise low.  The previous low of .201 was set in 2008.  The .182 team batting average is also the second lowest for a Central League team in Series history.  The 2011 Chunichi Dragons set the CL record with a .155 team batting average. [Sanspo 11/4/2013]