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.