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Two streaks ended on Sunday, the second day of the Central and Pacific leagues’ Climax Series. In Fukuoka, the SoftBank Hawks defeated the Rakuten Eagles in Game 2 of a postseason series for the first time in three tries, while in Yokohama, the DeNA BayStars snapped the Hanshin Tigers’ win streak at seven.
That left both series tied 1-1 with Games 3 scheduled for Monday.
Hawks 6, Eagles 4
At Yafuoku Dome, Shuhei Fukuda hit a tie-breaking fourth-inning home run and uttered the required disclaimer, “I was the leadoff hitter so I was only trying to reach base.”
Yuki Yanagita and Alfredo Despaigne each homered as well for the Hawks, whose bullpen was solid after Shinya Kayama flubbed his lines in the fourth inning, allowing the Eagles to tie it after starter Rick van den Hurk was pulled.
Hideto Asamura drove in three of the Eagles’ runs for the second-straight day, but starting pitcher Manabu Mima allowed five runs over four innings to take the loss.
On Monday, the Hawks will send rookie side-armer Rei Takahashi against veteran Takayuki Kishi.
Game highlights are HERE.
BayStars 6, Tigers 4
At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA once more blew a late lead only for Tomo Otosaka to hit a game-winning pinch-hit homer in the ninth to beat Hanshin. Otosaka showed bunt on the first pitch before driving the second pitch into the stands to even the series.
This time the hosts lost the lead with closer Yasuaki Yamasaki on the mound. A day after the CL saves leader was left in the bullpen as Hanshin came from behind with two outs in the eighth, Yamasaki was tasked with a two-inning save but surrendered a ninth-inning home run to 42-year-old Kosuke Fukudome.
“Unbelievable,” BayStars manager Alex Ramirez said. “Who was expecting that, especially after he showed bunt on the first pitch? He set the pitcher up. Incredible in that situation. Great job.”
“I wanted him to hit. What he did, he did on his own.”
Game highlights are HERE.
The BayStars will start Kentaro Taira in Game 3 against Tigers lefty Haruto Takahashi.
NPB’s all-time wins leader Kaneda dies at 86
Four-hundred-game winner Masaichi Kaneda died on Sunday at the age of 86 of acute cholangitis at a Tokyo hospital. Kaneda spent 15 seasons with the Kokutetsu Swallows after turning pro at the age of 17 in 1950. He finished his career with the Yomiuri Giants, who retired his No. 34.
Kaneda was a fiery competitor whose last five seasons — coincided with the first five years of Yomiuri’s V-9 dynasty under manager Tetsuharu Kawakami.
Kaneda was famous for mixing it up on the field with opposing players or even going after rude fans in an era when the game was much more violent than it is now. In the early 1970s when the commissioner at the time tried to curb fighting on the field and abuse of umpires, Kaneda argued that it would be bad for the game.
The skipper of the Lotte Orions for two stints, one incident I remember was his going after Kintetsu Buffaloes’ slugger Jim Traber and putting the boot in.
Here’s another where Kaneda instructs Mike Diaz in how to deal with inside pitches by giving the offending battery the old one-two.