Baseball: Shingo Kawabata pinch-hit drives Swallows to Japan Series title

Kyodo -- Nov 28
The Central League champion Yakult Swallows clinched their sixth Japan Series championship as Shingo Kawabata's 12th-inning RBI pinch-hit single earned them a 2-1 Game 6 victory over the Pacific League champion Orix Buffaloes on Saturday.

The Japan championship was Yakult's first since 2001 and the first by a CL club since 2012.

With the game tied 1-1 since the fifth inning, the Swallows broke through in the 12th against Orix's sixth pitcher, Ryo Yoshida. A two-out Yasutaka Shiomi single and a wild pitch put the runner in scoring position for Kawabata, whose little flare found space to fall in shallow left for the tie-breaking single.

With Japan Series games only allowed to go 12 innings before being called a tie, Kawabata represented Yakult's last chance to prevent the series from going to Game 7.

Yakult closer Scott McGough (1-2) took the mound with two outs in the 10th and retired five straight before putting the potential tying run on in the 12th by hitting a batter. But the right-hander hung on to get the final two outs and end the PL's long reign of postseason dominance.