NPB Japan Series Report
Thanks to the Philadelphia Phillies dispatching the upstart Tampa Bay Rays, baseball is over on this side of the world, but in Japan, the NPB version of the World Series is just heating up.
The Seibu Lions and Yomiuri Giants are engaged in a good old fashioned barn burner, with the series squared at a game piece and Game Three on tap Tuesday night.
Game One brought back memories of last season’s Japan Series finale when two Chunichi Dragon hurlers combined to toss a no-hitter as they eliminated the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
When it took until the fourth inning before the Giants snapped Hideaki Wakui’s no-no, it looked like the improbable of improbables was shaping up – back-to-back Series no-hitters.
But a fourth-inning error by Seibu brought Giant slugger Alex Ramirez to the plate and he hit a ball to right that looked catchable, but Lion right fighter Hiram Bocachica, after making a diving catch, had the ball roll out of his glove for an RBI double.
“The ball was in my glove, but then my glove got stuck in the turf and I almost broke my wrist,” Bocachica told The Daily Yomiuri.
Bocachica’s shame for making the only mistake of the game ended when Takuya Kimura hit a leadoff single in the ninth off Lion closer Alex Graman, but that’s all the Giants could accomplish in dropping the opener, 2-1.
In Game Two on Sunday night, The Giants pulled one out of the fire when Ramirez went yard with one out in the ninth inning to give Yomirui a 3-2 win and a 1-1 series tie.
If Seibu hopes to gain control of this series, it needs to manufacture a run in this series; all five of its runs so far have come via the home run.