With 15 games to go, the champagne popped.
The Hanshin Tigers lifted the championship trophy at Anbang Koshien Stadium. They clinched the Central League title with a 4-3 home win over the Yomiuri Giants on Thursday.
They scored in a flurry. The Giants won a season-high 11 straight games and returned to the top of the standings for the first time in 18 years, since 2005. The records piled up. It had been 65 years since Nishitetsu had clinched the title with a double-digit win streak.
Eighteen years earlier, they had also clinched the title at Koshien Stadium against their arch-rivals Yomiuri. Akinobu Okada was the head coach of the current Hanshin team. 카지노
He was entrusted with the baton again in hopes of replicating the victory of 18 years ago, and it worked like a charm. “I didn’t expect the players to play so well in September,” Okada said, “and next up is the Japan Series, which we can’t afford to lose.
Under Okada, Hanshin was swept in the 2005 Japan Series. They were swept in four games by the Pacific League’s Chiba Lotte Marines, led by Lee Seung-yeop. They lost the first game 1-10, 0-10, 1-10, and 2-3.
Okada, who played center field for Hanshin, was a member of the 1985 Japan Series championship team. Hanshin has won the Japan Series only once, in 1985.
With a team ERA of 2.61, Hanshin has the best ERA among the 12 teams in both leagues. Recent pitching performances have made history. A starting pitcher has won 11 consecutive games. This is the first 11-start winning streak in 60 years since 1963.
They’ve won by a comfortable margin. The team has won the league title six times in total, but this time in the shortest amount of time.
The fact that it was against the ‘nemesis’ Yomiuri added to the significance.
The game was tied 0-0 until the fifth inning. Yomiuri was unable to capitalize on their early chances. In the bottom of the inning, they had runners on first and third. In the bottom of the fourth, the first three batters of the inning had consecutive singles, but the bases were loaded with no outs.
In the bottom of the sixth, the big hit finally came. Yuji Chikamoto and Shota Morishita singled. With runners on first and third, No. 4 Yusuke Oyama laid down a sacrifice bunt to score the go-ahead run. Then No. 6 Teruaki Sato hit a two-run home run to center field. 3-0.
Leading 4-1, Hanshin gave up a run in the 8.9th, but held on to the lead until the end. Yomiuri cut the deficit to one in the top of the ninth when Hayato Sakamoto hit a one-run homer. Akihiro Yuto followed with a double to right field to tie the game. That was it. Two batters were retired on consecutive singles to set up Hanshin’s winning run.