Walkoff tie? Never heard of such a thing? You have now! Because the Hiroshima Carp failed to score in the top of the 12th inning, the bottom of the inning was not played and the score remained 0-0 as the game entered the record books. Why, you might ask? For those unaware of Japanese baseball rules, games still tied after 12 innings end that way. The lone exception is the deciding game of a playoff series. For that, rules are different. More on that should such a situation ever come to be. In the meantime, a little more explanation as to why a tie was good enough for the Tigers to take the series. It is a best-of-three, and this was just Game 2, but because the Tigers won Game 1, it meant they had a win and “at least” a tie, meaning all the Carp could theoretically do is tie the series, 1-1-1. In the event of a tie after three games, the team that finished the regular season advances to the next round by default. Therefore, after the top of the 12th inning, when the Tigers had guaranteed themselves at least a series tie, the game was called. For the record, starter Atsushi Nohmi pitched masterfully, going 8 innings and allowing just 5 hits, essentially duplicating yesterday’s starter’s line. Great job!
The Tigers will advance to play six games at Tokyo Dome against their longtime rival, the Yomiuri Giants. To advance to the Japan Series, the Tigers need to win four of six games. (This statement does not factor in tie games, which would further complicate things.)
For now, we congratulate the team and wish them all the best in Tokyo! Game 1 is Wednesday, and one has to think they will put Shintaro Fujinami on the mound. Perhaps Game 2 will feature Randy Messenger on short rest, and after that, well, let’s see where manager Yutaka Wada’s strategy will go from there. GO TIGERS!