Japan’s postseason began Saturday afternoon, and the two teams in each Climax Series first stage who were better at scoring and preventing runs all season were better at scoring and preventing them in Game 1.
In Yokohama, the Hanshin Tigers, who finished three games below .500 after outscoring their opponents 489-429 took on the second-place DeNA BayStars, who were five games over .500 despite being outscored 534-497. But because DeNA finished ahead in the standings, they need only a win and a tie to advance despite being down a game.
Tigers 2, BayStars 0: Koyo Aoyagi didn’t allow a runner to third base over six innings, Takumu Nakano had four hits, and Koji Chikamoto had three, the third driving in two runners off Shota Imanaga, including Aoyagi, in the fifth inning. The Tigers didn’t really have a chance until Suguru Iwazaki made a lousy throw for a one-out eighth-inning error. He walked pinch-hitter Tyler Austin but popped up Keita Sano.
Twenty-three-year-old Atsuki Yuasa, who possesses one of Japan’s most effective fastballs fell behind Shugo Maki 0-2 before striking him out on a forkball that missed badly. Yuasa came back out for the ninth to record the save.
Hawks 5, Lions 3: At Fukuoka Dome, Masaki Mihara and Ukyo Shuto each singled and scored a run, Yuki Yanagita miss-hit a fat pitch from Kona Takahashi and still hit a three-run home run that made it 4-0 in the third. Kodai Senga went eight innings, allowing three runs, two earned, and Livan Moinelo shut the Lions down in the ninth.
Game 2 in Yokohama will be DeNA’s Shinichi Onuki against Hanshin’s Masashi Ito. In Fukuoka, the Hawks will send Nao Higashihama against Seibu’s Tatsuya Imai.