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John E. Gibson

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Obispo pulls off minor miracle

by John E. Gibson (Nov 4, 2009)

Call Wirfin Obispo's run to Japan Series Game 3 winner a minor miracle.

After all, Obispo started the season on Yomiuri's minor-league squad and only got a chance to start on the big club in July when the Giants needed to fill the cracks in the rotation.

Obispo on Tuesday took center stage at Tokyo Dome and performed well over six innings in the spotlight, walking away with a 7-4 win.

"Honestly, up until the start of the game, because it was the Japan Series, I felt nervous," said the third-year right-hander, who surrendered three not-so-painful solo homers.

"But when I took the mound and the game started, I was able to relax and throw," said the 25-year-old, who made just seven starts in the regular season.

Obispo, who began the season on the developmental roster, yielded just four hits, while walking two and fanning a half-dozen.

"In that kind of game situation, where they were getting to him, he did well to keep us in the game," skipper Tatsunori Hara said of Obispo.

"He gutted it out, and I think that's where you see his growth this season," the skipper said of his young starter, who also some overcame issues with the home plate umpire.

"He didn't agree with some of the ump's calls, but he rose above it."

He had to work out of a hole in doing so. Atsunori Inaba clubbed a solo blast in the first inning to get Nippon Ham the lead, and Eiichi Koyano went deep in the second for a 2-0 advantage.

The Giants, though, answered with long balls of their own to get the hard-throwing Obispo even. They got him a short-lived lead in the third, but the Fighters tied it in the fifth.

Two more Yomiuri runs in the bottom of the fifth gave Obispo the lead for good, and the bullpen protected it.

"I saw Nippon Ham in Games 1 and 2, and those guys do a good job of putting hits together," Obispo said. "And they don't miss mistakes. They were intimidating, but we had to fight together.

"I believed the guys would put some runs up, and I'm satisfied I was able to keep us in the game."

Obispo made his first career start with the big club on July 2, beating Hiroshima 4-1 at the dome.

He held the Carp to a run over 6-2/3 innings and earned another chance. That led to another chance, and another and more, until the Dominican had compiled a 6-1 mark and a chance to throw in the postseason.

He beat the Chunichi Dragons 6-4 in Game 1 of the Central League's second-stage Climax Series, and now has a Series win to go with it.


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