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John E. Gibson

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Marines make history

by John E. Gibson (Oct 21, 2010)

The Chiba Lotte Marines made history on Tuesday in Fukuoka, where they wrapped up the Pacific League Climax Series with a 7-0 victory over the league champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Despite the Hawks having an automatic one-game advantage in the best-of-seven series and hosting all six games at their home park, Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome, the underdog Marines took the series 4-3.

Marines southpaw Yoshihisa Naruse threw a four-hit shutout for his second complete game victory in the series against the Hawks.

"Because we were victorious and I got to experience the doage [being tossed in the air in celebration], this is the greatest," first-year Marines manager Norifumi Nishimura said. "Naruse had to go on four-days rest but pitched great ball for us.

"I believed in the players, and they responded well."

The Marines reached the Japan Series for the first time since, 2005, when they won the PL title in a playoff victory over the Hawks in Fukuoka.

SoftBank southpaw Toshiya Sugiuchi, who was the Japan Series MVP in 2003--the last season the Hawks reached the autumn classic, allowed three runs in 6-1/3 innings to fall to 1-4 in playoff action.

This is the third time the Hawks have failed to reach the Japan Series after winning the regular season.

"I think the guys played hard," Hawks manager Koji Akiyama said. "In terms of results, the Marines proved to be stronger. We simply weren't able to play our usual game."

The Marines, who scraped into the postseason by winning their last three regular season games at home, have gone 6-2 on the road since the postseason began.

The Japan Series will begin on Oct. 30 at the home park of the Central League Climax Series champion, either the Chunichi Dragons or Yomiuri Giants.


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