Nippon Series Game 1 – Tigers Roar!


Graphic created by Used with permission. Thank you!

History was made at Koshien Stadium tonight. For the first time ever, two foreigners were named starting pitchers of Game 1 of the Nippon Series. This one was supposed to be a low-scoring battle between Randy Messenger and Jason Standridge. Both had great seasons, and Standridge even shut out the Tigers at Koshien earlier this year. It turns out, another foreigner stole the show as this one had more offence than many expected.

Both pitchers looked dominant early, and this one looked like it could be a repeat of the Tigers-Carp series. Through three innings plus the top of the fourth, there were only two hits recorded. Standridge got beaten by his buddy Matt Murton, and Messenger allowed a bloop single to Imamiya.

Then things opened up in the 4th. Hiroki Uemoto opened the inning with a single, making up for his error in the bottom of the previous frame. Two batters later, Central League RBI champ Mauro Gomez came up and smoked the first pitch he saw to deep left, bringing Uemoto home easily. That first run had the crowd ecstatic, but that was merely the run that broke open the floodgates.

Murton got the best of his buddy Standridge, driving in 2 in the fifth. Photo taken from

Murton got the best of his buddy Standridge, driving in 2 in the fifth. Photo taken from

In the next inning, with two runners on, Standridge was starting to lose his control. He walked Toritani, loading the bases for the most dangerous hitter in Japan. Gomez struck again, this time sending a ball back between short and third, scoring two. Murton avenged his fourth-inning strikeout, sending a ball to the deepest part of center field, bringing Toritani and Gomez home. Standridge left, but that was not the end of it. Kosuke Fukudome singled, and the Tigers built up a 6-0 lead.

With just twelve outs left in them, the Hawks started to mount a little comeback. Messenger got in a little trouble as he allowed three singles in the top of the sixth. A sacrifice fly brought in SoftBank’s first run, and the first walk for the visitors loaded the bases back up again. Fortunately the damage was limited to that. Then in the seventh, a leadoff double (which looked foul but went off Nishioka‘s glove) was followed by a sacrifice and a single, but Messenger settled down to get the next two runners and the score was 6-2 after 7.

Messenger lets out a shout as he escapes a jam in the 7th.

Messenger lets out a shout as he escapes a jam in the 7th.

That was all for either side, as no one put a man on base in the last two frames. Shinobu Fukuhara pitched a clean eighth, and Seung-hwan Oh closed things off in the ninth, ending it with a strikeout. Great game all-around.


Word has it that tomorrow’s starters will be Atsushi Nohmi for the Tigers and Shota Takeda for the Hawks. This is still unconfirmed so we’ll have to wait until game day to find out for sure. Let’s see what happens in Game 2… same time, same place! GO TIGERS!

12 thoughts on “Nippon Series Game 1 – Tigers Roar!

  1. Great win for us! It’s usually good to take Game 1 to make a statement to the opponent and today’s statement is, WE ROAR!!!

    3 more wins to go!

    • For sure man! A baseball expert (former manager?) said today on Japanese TV that actually, Game 2 is more crucial than Game 1. Not sure how much I agree with that but it was an interesting theory he presented. I’m just glad we took Game 1 with such authority!

  2. Perhaps the expert is right. Referring to the ongoing “American” Series (I won’t buy that USA = World), Royals got beaten up in Game 1 but took Game 2 and sneaked Game 3, so let’s hope tomorrow we’ll get the crucial Game 2 W!

    • True. I wonder what the data tells us (about past Nippon Series, even American Series)? I love seeing the Royals win, though it has to be a set: Royals + Hanshin Tigers! That’ll bring more attention to this team, I think, that both clubs went exactly 29 years between championships and won together both times. What are the odds? (Keeping fingers crossed)

      • an american sportscaster said yesterday that in a 1-1 WS tie, the winner of game 3 went on to win the championship 87% of the time.
        i dont have in-depth numbers (like how many times the game 2 winner has gone on to win it all), but quick math from wikipedia’s nippon series results since 1950 result in:
        4-0 series happens 7.80% of the time
        4-1 25.00%
        4-2 26.50%
        4-3 39.00%
        wish i had more data to pull from, but odds are in favor of a long series.

    • How do you figure? Games 3-5 are being played in Fukuoka, so if the Tigers win Game 2 they just have to take two of three on the road to finish the series. I, for one, would like to see it come back to Koshien!

  3. I don’t want us to jump ahead of ourselves despite a good game from the guys. Game 2 will be key and let’s hope we keep up the momentum!

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