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Chunichi Clinches Third

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Chunichi Clinches Third
The Chunichi Dragons defeated the Yomiuri Giants 4-3 at Tokyo Dome this afternoon (October 4) to secure a worst case scenario of 71 wins with a .511 winning percentage.

Meanwhile, at Yokohama Stadium, the BayStars broke their club record losing streak at 14 by pounding Hiroshima for 14 runs on 18 hits while allowing just 5 runs to Hiroshima. Best case scenario for Hiroshima now drops to 70 wins and a .504 winning percentage. The whole issue about a tie breaker is now moot, the Carp are eliminated.

While it was previously reported that Hiroshima's Brown-kantoku could only renew his managerial contract if the team made it to the Climax Series, Matsuda-owner had clarified that to be a .500 winning percentage or a Climax Series berth. Marty finds his Carp a game under .500 right now and out of the running for the CS.

Hiroshima's Colby Lewis was reportedly asked to stay on next season before going out against the BayStars. But in 4 innings, Lewis, who's been golden against most of the Central League all season, gave up 8 runs - half of them to Uchikawa who knocked in a run on a ground out in the first, then hit back to back home runs (solo and 2-run) in a 3 for 5 afternoon (he also doubled in a run later, raising his average to .377 on the season). Against Central League teams on the year, Lewis is now:
        W  L ER   IP    ERA
vs YOK 0 3 14 18.0 7.00
vs CHU 0 2 9 18.0 4.50
vs YOM 3 1 9 35.0 2.31
vs HAN 2 1 4 27.0 1.33
vs YAK 5 0 5 37.0 1.22
Yokohama couldn't get to Chunichi pitching for more than several innings scattered over the previous few days, but hit the leading Central League pitcher pretty well. Lewis' ERA went from 2.33 to 2.68, still ahead of Ishikawa (Yakult - 2.72) and Utsumi (Giants - 2.77 - both going into today's action). That actually makes the Central league pitch race fairly tight.

Back at Tokyo Dome, though, it was Kroon that the Dragons were finally able to capitalize off of. Kroon came in to throw the ninth tied up 1-1. His first pitch of the afternoon hit 160kph (100mph). While he had the velocity, he didn't have the control. He walked the first two batters he faced, then got Woods striking out swinging. But Nori came through with a home run to straight away center to take a 4-1 lead.

Iwase wasn't his usual self, though. Iwase gave up two runs on a pair of hits and a pair of walks, making the game a little more close than it should have been. (Maybe Yokohama shook him up with a run off of him in the 10th inning a couple of days ago?) Nonetheless, Iwase came though with the save as the Dragons downed the Giants 4-3, clinching a spot in post season.

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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