TOKYO – Andruw Jones and Ginji Akaminai had run-scoring singles in the 10th inning Thursday, leading the Rakuten Eagles past the Yomiuri Giants 4-2 for a 3-2 lead in the Japan Series.
The Pacific League champion Eagles can wrap up the title Saturday at home when they are likely to start ace Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka went 24-0 this season and has four complete-game wins in four career postseason starts.
The Giants are Japan's oldest and most successful franchise. The Eagles are the youngest team and became the first expansion team in Japanese baseball in 50 years in 2005.
The Eagles are the only professional team in the Tohoku region that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crises.