In a surprising Nippon Series, in which the two ugly ducklings of Japanese baseball are facing each other, the Yakult Swallows are one win away from clinching their first title since 2001.
The Yakult Swallows reached the finals by sweeping the Yomiuri Giants 3-0 in the Climax Series, the semi-finals of the NPB. The opponent of the Swallows in the Nippon Series, the Orix Buffaloes, reached the championship series by sweeping the Chiba Lotte Marine 3-0.
Both Nippon Series participants are evenly matched as all games were very close so far.
Game one was won by the Orix Buffaloes 4-3. But in the following three matches, the Yakult Swallows prevailed (2-0, 5-4, and 2-1).
In today’s game, both teams collected six hits but the Swallows stayed at the right side of the score. The Swallows took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a solo home run by Domingo Santana. But the Buffaloes got back in the game in the top of the sixth inning. Playing hit and run with Shuhei Fukuda at first base, Yuma Mune hit a single to right field that was bobbled by right fielder Domingo Santana, which allowed Fukuda to score the game-tying run.
But in the bottom of the sixth, the Swallows would regain the lead again. A grounder up the middle by Jose Osuna drove in Domingo Santana from second base.
Trailing 3-1 in the series, tomorrow’s game is a must-win for the Orix Buffaloes.
Here is a summary of today’s game.