The Hanshin Tigers have finally broken their 37-year drought. They lifted their second championship in 38 years. And the city of Osaka went wild.
Hanshin won its second championship in 38 years with a 7-1 victory over the Orix Buffaloes in the Nippon Professional Baseball 2023 Japan Series at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan, on Friday.
Hanshin scattered nine hits over nine innings against Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Oryx), Nippon Professional Baseball’s “ace” who was set to make his Major League debut on April 4. However, he struggled, striking out 14 batters and failing to deliver the decisive blow at every turn, and Hanshin and the Oryx split the series at three games apiece, forcing a best-of-seven series. And finally, Hanshin smiled.굿모닝토토 주소
Hanshin: Koji Chikamoto (center field), Takumu Nakano (second base), Shota Morishita (right field), Yusuke Oyama (first base), Sheldon Noji (left field), Fumihiro Haraguchi (designated hitter), Teruaki Sato (third base), Seiya Kinami (shortstop), Seishiro Sakamoto (catcher), starting pitcher Koyo Aoyagi (8-6, 4.57 ERA).
Oryx: Keita Nagakawa (center fielder), Yuma Mune (third baseman), Kotaro Kurebayashi (shortstop), Tomoya Mori (catcher), Yuma Tongu (catcher), Marwin Gonzalez (second baseman), Yutaro Sugimoto (designated hitter), Tomoya Noguchi (left fielder), Shuhei Fukuda (right fielder), starting pitcher Hiroya Miyagi (10-4, 2.27 ERA).
Tense early game
With just one win remaining to clinch the Japan Series, both teams started the game on a high note. With ‘Ace’ Yamamoto having his worst outing of the series in Game 1, Miyagi, who started Game 2, was in trouble in the first inning when he gave up a leadoff single to Chikamoto and a sacrifice bunt to the next batter. However, he retired the next two batters to end the no-hitter.
Miyagi, who helped Team Japan win the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and will take over as the Orix’s No. 1 starter when Yamamoto leaves for the majors, was solid. Miyagi recorded a triple play in the second inning with two grounders to third base and a strikeout, and in the top of the third, he kept the Hanshin bats in check with two strikeouts.
With Aoyagi, who has won 13 games the past two years in a row but has struggled mightily this year, getting the start in Game 7, Hanshin had an evenly matched performance. Aoyagi started the game with a hit in the first inning, but was able to hold the Oryx bats without allowing a run. Two grounders to the first baseman and a strikeout in the second inning marked the first triple play, and Aoyagi was shaken up in the third inning when he gave up a hit and a walk, but again, no runs.
Hanshin bombed the Oryx Mound, upsetting the balance.
It was in the fourth inning that the tense game cracked. With the bases loaded, Morishita led off with a single and Oyama followed with a walk to put runners in scoring position. From there, Noiji lined a 124-kilometer changeup low and away from Miyagi’s four-seamer and blasted a three-run shot over the left-field fence.
Off-balance, Hanshin pounded the Orix mound. Hanshin kept the momentum going in the fifth inning, as Sakamoto led off with a single with the bases loaded and Chikamoto followed with back-to-back singles. Nagano then grounded out to shortstop to end the threat, and the Oryx made the decision to pull Miyagi and bring in Motoki Higa to put out the fire.
From there, Hanshin’s bats began to wake up. In the top of the fourth inning, Morishita led off with a double to left field off of reliever Higa to make it 4-0. With the momentum in their favor, Hanshin got an infield single to shortstop by Oyama to bring home a runner from third, and a game-winning RBI single by Noiji, who had hit a game-tying single.
After the flurry of activity, the game was rekindled in the final inning. Hanshin had one last chance in the top of the ninth when leadoff hitter Chikamoto hit an infield single to the first baseman. It was a hit that was very likely to be a grounder, but Oryx pitcher Yuhei Azuma got lucky as he was late covering the base. Hanshin then extended the lead to 7-0 when Morishita drove in the game-winning run with an RBI single on a bases-loaded walk by Nakano.
But the Oryx weren’t about to go down on their knees. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Tongu took a 142-kilometer fastball from Suguru Iwazaki, who came on to pitch to tie the game, for a solo home run to left field. The next batter, Gonzalez, followed with a single. But it wasn’t enough to turn the tide. Iwazaki retired Sugimoto on a fly ball to left field to seal the win for Hanshin.
3: It was unthinkable until they lost to the Korean WBC team.
Of course, everything has to be taken with a grain of salt, but Hanshin’s preparation for the season this year was anything but smooth. The Tigers struggled to pick up a single win in practice, and their spirits were low before the start of the exhibition season, when they lost 4-7 against the Korean WBC team, despite fielding their entire first-team squad against an Oryx 1.5 squad that knelt before them. The team also went 8-9 in the exhibition games, leaving them in eighth place in both leagues. However, once the regular season began, Hanshin changed.
Led by head coach Akinobu Okada, who hadn’t worn a Hanshin uniform since 2008, Hanshin started off with four straight wins, including a sweep of the Yokohama DeNA Baseball Club in the opening game. They then went on to sweep a whopping 19 games in May, including a seven-game winning streak, and began to “runaway” to the top of the Central League with a +17 win-loss margin before interleague play.
It wasn’t without its ups and downs. Hanshin faltered in 10th place with 7 wins, 1 draw and 10 losses, and dropped to second place after the exchange after a shocking three-game losing streak against Yokohama DeNA. They looked to be on their way back to the top spot, but after the All-Star break, they lost the lead to Hiroshima. However, Hanshin began to rebound and went on an 11-game winning streak to lift the league championship on September 14, their first in 18 years since 2005.
The regular season title and now the Japan Series. Police in Dotonbori
When the Hanshin Tigers lifted the championship trophy on Sept. 14, beating their “rivals” the Yomiuri Giants, “police” were deployed in Dotonbori, Osaka’s largest downtown area. This was to prevent any wild behavior such as jumping into the Dotonbori River. However, the police presence did not prevent Hanshin fans from jumping into the Todonbori River, and the same was true on this day.
According to NHK Osaka, “If Hanshin wins the Nippon Series, 1,300 police officers will be stationed around Minami Dotonbori. If Oryx wins the Japan Series, 100 officers will be deployed,” and as the game began to shift in Hanshin’s favor midway through the day, a large number of police officers were quickly deployed to Dotonbori. They were stationed on the Minami Dotonbori Bridge and along the river to keep people from getting too rowdy.
The moment Hanshin won the championship. Fans in the Dotonbori area stopped to watch Hanshin win and show their joy. According to the Mainichi Shimbun, more than 1,300 police were actually deployed, but they were unable to stop all the fans from jumping into the Dotonbori River.
There were 33,405 fans at Kyocera Dome that day, with Hanshin fans making up more than half of the crowd. Koshien Stadium also opened that day, with 12,424 fans in attendance, and Nikkan Sports distributed 30,000 “out-of-town” copies of the game to four locations in Osaka, including Umeda, Osaka.
38 years after their emotional victory
It had been 18 years since Hanshin had won a regular season title since 2005, and 38 years since they had won a Japan Series title since 1985. In particular, Okada, who tasted Hanshin’s first title as an active player, returned as manager to lead the franchise to its second title in franchise history.
Hanshin’s victory was not without emotion. We’re talking about Shintaro Yokota. Yokota had been diagnosed with a brain tumor