Central League 10
Pacific League 8
Norichika Aoki hit a 9th inning two-run homer that saw the All-Central team come from behind to snatch a late victory in Pacific League territory.
Aoki went 2 for 4 with a walk, scoring three times with two RBIs as he was named the game’s MVP. Now if only he can start producing more regularly for the Swallows.
Shohei Tateyama pitched the 3rd and 4th innings for the CL, and as has been his way of late he gave up five hits but managed to escape with only the one run crossing home plate.
Ryouji Aikawa donned the catcher’s mask for most of the second half of the game, striking out his only time he came to bat.
Yoshinori, who was present but not able to pitch due to his continuing blister problems on his right hand, kept himself busy by being the CL’s first-base coach.
In addition to the Swallows interest, it was a pretty entertaining game. Things were tied up at 2-2 before consecutive doubles from Aoki and Ogasawara put the CL ahead 3-2 in the 6th. But the PL added six runs over the next two innings to take a 8-3 lead as it looked as though they would run away with it.
The CL then added four runs in the top of the 8th to bring it to 8-7 going into the 9th, which set the stage for Aoki to hit his two run shot, with Chunichi’s Tony Blanco later hitting a RBI single to make it 10-8. Those three 9th inning runs all came of Nippon Ham’s Hisashi Takeda, which did silence the home crowd somewhat.
The TV commentators were then salavating about Aoki’s teamate Lim Chang-Yong coming in to close the game out in the bottom of the 9th, but in the end Yokohama’s Daisuke Miura (who had pitched the 8th) stayed out to get the final three outs and that was that.
Game two will be tomorow evening at Hiroshima’s Zoom Zoom Stadium, so expect to see the All-Central starting lineup dominated by all those Carp fan-vote picks.