BASEBALL

Hawks sweep Lions, Dragons down Swallows in Climax Series

The Softbank Hawks clinched a berth in the Japan Series with a 2-1 victory over Pacific League rivals Seibu Lions on Saturday at Yahoo Dome. In the Central League, the Chunichi Dragons downed the Yakult Swallows 5-1 to take a 3-2 lead in their Climax Series.

The Lions and Hawks were scoreless through nine innings before Seibu broke through in the 10th on back-to-back doubles by third baseman Takeya Nakamura and pinch hitter Jose Fernandez. Needing just three outs for the victory, Lions reliever Hideaki Wakui gave up a tying RBI double to center fielder Yuya Hasegawa in the bottom of the 10th.

The Hawks clinched the victory when the score remained tied through the top of the 12th, and Hasegawa added an RBI in the bottom of the inning to make the final score 2-1

The Dragons needed no late-inning heroics for their victory at Nagoya Dome. Right fielder Ryosuke Hirata smacked a bases-clearing double in the first inning to stake the home team to a 4-0 lead. Chunichi starting pitcher Yudai Kawai and a quartet of relievers held the Swallows to just single run on five hits.

The Dragons can clinch a spot in the Japan Series with another win on Sunday night.

  • 0

    Tokyoz

    Whooooooo! Let's go HAWKS!!!

  • 0

    jinjapan

    climax series. cool name anyhow .

  • 0

    pawatan

    Hopefully the Hawks get destroyed by whomever wins the CL, then Wada and Kawasaki bolt for free agency. Giants of the PL, I tell you, and they should be rooted against at every opportunity.

  • 0

    calm down

    pawatan,I hope you're right..but that's a million to one and you got to start living with it.

  • 1

    multitasker

    looks like it`s dragons vs. hawks. Boring series, boring (no double entendre) headlines.... Oh well, could be a good series.

  • 0

    pawatan

    calm down

    I hope you're right..but that's a million to one and you got to start living with it.

    Dragons are a good team. They're loaded with veterans, have a title in recent years and were fighting in game 7 last year. Hawks have tons of experience as chokers, and their big offseason acquisition (Uchikawa) knows nothing of playoff pressure as he's toiled in Yokohama for years.

    I like Chunichi's chances, for sure. If only Ochiai would STOP using Iwase as closer, he's way over the hill! Almost blew the game tonight before Ochiai came to his senses and brought in Asao.

  • 0

    Clément Delestrade

    He knows nothing of playoff pressure but he was named MVP of the series against the Lions ... Uchikawa will be fine as he is a tremendous hitter.

  • 0

    calm down

    If the Hawks were in choke mode they wouldnt have come back from the grave on Saturday night,Uchikawa is in sensational form as Clement pointed out....Yakult are ordinary and Chunichi only squeaked past...another 4-0 coming up

  • -1

    multitasker

    Pawatan and Calm Down: We gotta challenge! Woo Hoo!! I really cant compare these 2 teams. H were clearly the class of the PL (.657), while Dr were ... let me check... only decent (.560) Im hoping for a 6 or 7 game series. For me, the end of baseball every year is the beginning of winter, and a bit depressing... although I also love hockey.

  • 0

    pawatan

    Softbank just swept the very crappy Lions. The Lions have no strength other than Okawari-kun, Nakajima, Wakui, Hoashi. Consider me underwhelmed.

    Uchikawa had a great season and a great 3 games against the crappy Lions. We'll see what happens when he faces a veteran team like Chunichi. The rest of the Hawks have a habit of coming up very, very small in the playoffs, which is why they are in the Nippon Series for the first time in 8 years despite being huge spenders with lots of names. Witness Sugiuchi crying in the dugout last year.

    Chunichi had to beat a Yakult team that was in first most of the year. Softbank got to snooze against a Seibu side that was in 6th almost all year. Hawks winning 4-0 is ludicrous.

  • 0

    calm down

    We'll see..the form guide doesnt do Chunichi any favors..the 2 sides played 4 games this year in May and June..3-1 Hawks...and you've got to try a little harder to forget that miserable day in September when it was Hawks 18 and a really crappy Lotte 3....the fact that Yakult lead the C-League for so long is a clear indicator of how poor the other sides were-are...softbank snoozed against seibu ??Saturday nights get out of jail doesnt really support that..chunichis old and balding geriatrics against the best young athletes in the country,I would rather back a 4-0 than a 4-1(consider luck factored in)but honestly your dreaming if you think its going to get any closer.

  • 0

    pawatan

    and you've got to try a little harder to forget that miserable day in September when it was Hawks 18 and a really crappy Lotte 3

    Really crappy Lotte won that series 2 games to 1, ne? Not to mention Naruse, Imae, Ohmatsu, and everyone else making Hawks fans (and the players!) bawl last year. Let's see, 2 Lotte titles in the past 6 years, Hawks have... oh yeah, haven't even made it since 2003. Sad, really, given how much they spend!

    chunichis old and balding geriatrics

    Absolutely

    against the best young athletes in the country

    HAH! Still batting 40 year old Cabrera in the cleanup spot? 40 year old Kokubo in the 6th spot? Surprised they aren't playing 'eternally young' Matsunaka more than they are.

    honestly your dreaming if you think its going to get any closer

    Right. Sorry but I am still feeling warm and fuzzy over last year's victory.

    http://www.marines.co.jp/expansion/climax2010_champion/img/wallpaper/10climax_champion_1280_1024.jpg

    Gee, wasn't that in Fukuoka, too?

  • 0

    Clément Delestrade

    Matsunaka certainly didn't feel old when he hit a grand slam off rookie submarine pitcher Makita. Hawks veterans are great ! Ok maybe not Cabrera but Kokubo and Matsunaka had a good season. I think he was more referring to Hasegawa (who was MVP caliber against the Lions), Honda, Matsuda or Fukuda.

  • 0

    pawatan

    I know, I was just yanking his chain a bit. Makita wasn't looking so hot in that series, was he?

    Hasegawa was awesome for sure. Honda may be great but I vomit in my mouth every time I hear his ouenka start up at every single at bat. Worse than Ibata for Chunichi, even.

  • 0

    Clément Delestrade

    Makita was overused, it was his rookie season, yet they made him a starter, then a reliever and why not a closer after all ... 130+ innings was too much. The problem is that the rest of Seibu's bullpen falters too easily under pressure.

  • 0

    calm down

    I'm in no way a Hawks fan-Orix actually,knocked out of contention by the Hawks when we had everything to play for and they had the pennant all sewn up- and will be very amused if Chunichi get remotely close..history wont mean a thing-this could well be the beginning of a dynasty,wouldnt want to be your family dog next week.

  • 0

    pawatan

    this could well be the beginning of a dynasty

    Hawks could very well destroy Chunichi. They are looking strong despite my hatred of them.

    But I don't think it's a dynasty - Wada is probably gone, Sugiuchi and Kawasaki may also be leaving. As I mentioned Kokubo, Matsunaka, and Cabrera are old. That's pretty much the core of the team. Is Settsu going to be the ace in that case? Yamada?

  • -1

    multitasker

    Always hate the Hawks because they usually trounce the Lions, but like Cabrera and Hosokawa still. I wonder if the Hawks payroll is higher than the Giants? Go Dragons! Btw, JT, good work keeping up with JAPANESE baseball.... NOT!!

  • 0

    pawatan

    Last link I saw said that both Hanshin and Softbank have higher salaries than the Giants....

  • -1

    multitasker

    Since JT hasn`t updated their BB lately, can anyone tell me when the JS is starting?

  • 0

    pawatan

    Saturday, 13:00. Sat-Sun, travel, Tue-Wed-Thu, travel, Sat-Sun.

  • -1

    multitasker

    Thanks!

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