ERAKazuhisa Ishii (Swallows) 2.60
Most games wonMelvin Bunch (Dragons) 14
Most strike outsKazuhisa Ishii (Swallows) 210
Most savesEddie Gaillard (Dragons) 36SP
Highest hitting averageTatsuhiko Kinjo (Bay Stars) .369
Most base hitsBobby Rose (Bay Stars) 168
HomerunHideki Matsui (Giants) 42
RBIHideki Matsui (Giants) 108
Most on baseHideki Matsui (Giants) .438
Most bases stolenTakuro Ishii (Bay Stars) 35

It was learned on Oct 4 that Koji Yamamoto will replace Mitsuo Tatsukawa as the Carp's manager. Yamamoto was the star player of the Carp, and home run king. He was dubbed "Mr. Akaheru" meaning Mr. Red Helmet. He was the skipper of the team for 5 years from 1989.

The BayStars secured third place by defeating the Swallows 7 to 1 on Oct. 9. It's new skipper was unveiled. It'll be Masaaki Mori, who took the Seibu Lions to win the Pacific League several times. The sad news was, Bobby Rose, who's played in Japan for 8 years was not able to come to an agreement with regards to his contract with the BayStars after the game. He tearfully said that he will not only leave the team, but will no longer play in Japan.

On Oct 11, the Swallows Kazuhisa Ishii pitched just 1 1/3 innings to improve his ERA and to clinch the title. And he succeeded. But his team lost 1 to 2 to the Carp. This was the final game of the season for the Central League.

The final standing of the season
1. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
2. Chunichi Dragons
3. Yokohama Bay Stars
4. Yakult Swallows
5. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
6. Hanshin Tigers

The Giants on Sept 1 played against runner up Dragons and defeated the opponent 14 to 6. The Dragons no matter how much they win no longer has a chance for the pennant victory unless the Giants loses. Kimiyasu Kudo in this game clinched his 12th win, and Hideki Matsui homered his 36th. The Giants clinched another win in a 5 to 0 game the next day. Akira Eto homered in 3 straight games.

Sept. 6 was filled with records. Tokuhiro Komada of the BayStars became the 29th played in Japan to mark his 200th hit. Shingo Takatsu of the Swallows clinched his career total of 150th save. That means he's with the 3rd more saves after the legendary Yutaka Enatsu and currently Seattle Mariners closure Kazuhiro Sasaki. The Giants Hideki Matsui that day slugged his 38th and 39th homere to take the team to a 5 to 3 victory. The Giants won its 7th game in a row.

The Giants winning streak was stopped by the Swallows on Sept 8 in a 2 to 3 game. Giants killer Kazuhisa Ishii hurled a distance. The Giants lost again the next day

A number of Giants members'patience was tested. They were stranded in the bullet train over the night from Sept 11 due to torrential rain as they headed for Koshien Stadium between Osaka and Kobe. The game on Sept 12 was rained out. The Dragons game was dropped too at the Nagoya Domes because the flood was seeping inside. The typhoon victims lost on Sept 13. The Giants 1 to 4 to the Tigers, and the Dragons 6 to 8 to the Carp. The Giants and the Tigers game on Sept 14 was a tense, and competitive one. It went into the 10th inning,and the Giants managed to win 8 to 7.

On Sept 15, the Giants after reversing the game with Akira Eto's 30th 3 run homer, it faced defeat afterall to the BayStars 4 to 6. The Dragons lost though a shut out game to the Swallows helping the Giants come closer to clinching the league pennant. Giants' Masaki Saito earned his 178th career win the next day--the most among active pro pitchers. And he homered too to help the team win 7 to 4. On Sept 17, Koji Uehara and catcher Shinichi Murata helped the team win 5 to 1.

The countdown for the Giants pennant victory, at 3, it faced the Carp on Sept 19. Kazuhiro Kiyohara grand slammed, and the mood seemed to be great. But the Carp's Luis Lopez crushed the Giants mood with his 2 homers for his team's 8 to 7 victory. The Dragons beat the BayStars that day, so the countdown was halted there. And the next day, the Giants lost again 3 to 8. But the Dragons lost too. So the Giants need to win only 2 games on its own, or one if the Dragons loses too. On Sept 21, the Giants won and the Dragons won too. So it needs to win another game for the pennant victory.

The 2-game series began on Sept 23 at the Tokyo Dome between the Giants and the Dragons. At any point the Giants win, it means a league victory. In the first game though, the Dragons won 7 to 2. On Sept 24, the game did not look too good for the Giants. The Dragons were ahead 4 to 0 in the 9th inning. However, in the bottom of the inning, the Giants filled the bases. Akira Etoh grand slammed to bring the game to a tie. And then Tomohiro Nioka homered too. The Giants clinched its pennant league victory for first time in 4 years! This was in the Giants' final game at the Tokyo Dome. It's the first time skipper Shigeo Nagashima secured the league at his home ground.

The Giants' played its last game of the season on Sept 29 against the Swallows. It lost 1 to 6, but the good news was, Hideki Matsui blasted his 42nd homerun, giving him hope to win the homerun title.

League standing as of September 30
1. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
2. Chunichi Dragons
3. Yokohama Bay Stars
4. Yakult Swallows
5. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
6. Hanshin Tigers

The Giants continued to take a big lead in the league. On Aug.1, sluggers Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Hideki Matsui both homered. The Giants defeated the BayStars 4 to 2. Then again the 2 plus Yoshinobu Takahashi homered to take the team to a 8 to 7 win. And on Aug. 3, the Giants won 3 to 1 with Kimiyasu Kudo collecting his 11th win. Meanwhile Dragons, the runner up lost 2 games in a row against the Tigers. And the distance between itself and the leader spread to 8 games.

The Swallows stopped the Giants from stretching its winning streak on Aug. 4. Kenjiro Kawasaki hurled 8 innings giving up 2 runs and he clinched his 7th win. Then the next day the Giants could not get back at Tomohito Ito and lost again 1 to 4. The Giants at last won on Aug. 6, 4 to 1 with Hideki Matsui's 2 run homer his 28th of the season. On Aug. 8, the BayStars lost to the Giants 0 to 9 and with its 7th straight defeat, plunged to last place in the league. The next day, the BayStars managed to defeat the Giants 7 to 1. The game on Aug. 10 was outrageous. It saw 11 homeruns in all, mostly by the Giants including Hideki Matsui. But the BayStars clinched the game 12 to 11.

The Giants continued to hit well. On Aug. 11, Hideki Matsui smashed his 30th and 31st homers. The Giants in the end defeated the Carp 16 to 1. Then the following day, the Giants won 7 to 2. By the way, the BayStars players wore a black ribbon during its game agains the Swallows. It's to pay respect to Noboru Akiyama, a former star pitcher of the Taiyo Whales as the BayStars used to be called. Mr. Akiyama died that day at 66. Back to the Giants performance. On Aug. 13, Hideki Matsui homered again to take the Giants to a 7 to 3 win over the Carp.

On Aug. 15 the Giants played a game involving a squeeze and speed. And it defeated the Tigers 4 to 3. The Dragons lost 4 to 12 to the Swallows thus separating itself with the Giants by 8 games. On Aug. 16, the Giants won with a whooping score of 12 to 6. The next day, the Giants was behind the Tigers until Takayuki Shimizu slammed a 3 run homer to catch up and Akira Etoh to reverse. It gave Giants its 6th straight win with the 4 to 3 game. The winning steak, however, ended on Aug. 18 with a 3 to 7 loss against the Dragons. The Giants recovery was fast. The next day, with Kazuhiro Kiyohara's homerun and his school mate Masumi Kuwata's swift 2 inning relief, won 3 to 1. Last year's rookie award winner Koji Uehara was back starting for the Giants on Aug. 20 after being out a month and a half due to an injury and for committing a car accident. But, the game resulted a loss of 3 to for the Giants.

The Giants' suffered another defeat on Aug. 22. This time, it's to the Carp 6 to 9. And the Dragons won 2 to 0 to the BayStars to narrow down their distance. The next day, the Giants' former ace pitcher Masaki Saito pitched for the first time this season. And he did well, giving up only a run during 7 innings. The Giants were ahead 3 to 1 when Masami Kuwata was appointed to finish the game after 2 outs in the 9th inning. But, Eddy Diaz homered a 3 run to reverse the game. The Giants lost 3 to 4. The Giants, however, on Aug. 24 managed to play a dramatic game. The game was a tie when Hideki Matsui came to bat in the 10th inning. And he slammed his 33rd homerun to clinch the game 4 to 3.

On Aug. 25, it was Kuwata again who gave up a game losing run to the BayStars. The Giants faced a 2 to 4 defeat. Meanwhile, the Dragons' Leo Gomez help the team clinch a 10 inning game against the Swallows 5 to 4. The Giants lost again the next day in a competitive game of 9 to 12, and then the day after 1 to 10. Things have not gotten any better on Aug. 29. The Giants lost to the Tigers 1 to 3. But the team that's doing good is the BayStars. It's marked its 6th straight win in a 3 to 2 game ove the Swallows.

On Aug.30, the Giants at last won. Yoshinobu Takahashi homered twice, to take the Giants to a 5 to 2 win over the Tigers. Darrell May tied with the league's most win of 11. And the next day, the Giants won 15 to 1. Masaki Saito picked up a win for the first time in about a year.

League standing as of August 31
1. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
2. Chunichi Dragons
3. Yokohama Bay Stars
4. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
5. Yakult Swallows
6. Hanshin Tigers

On July 1, the Giants clinched a competitive game against the Carp in the 12th inning. It ended 5 to 3. The Dragons won to keep itself the runner up. It lost the next day to the Swallows 5 to 10 and because the Giants won again to the Carp, this time 10 to 8, the Dragons was 4 games apart though it kept 2nd place. On July 4, while the Giants' game was rained out, the Dragons defeated the BayStars 7 to 4 to inch closer to the leader.

The Swallows against which the Giants has not been doing well clinched the game on July 5, 4 to 3 in the final inning. But it went the other way the next day. The Giants scored in the 11th inning to win 2 to 1. On July 7, Kazuhiro Kiyohara was back at last after 45 days of recovering from an injury. He homered causing a frenzy at the Tokyo Dome. The Giants won 9 to 1.

Although the Giants were the first to score with Akira Etoh's homer, the Dragons Masa Yamamoto pitched well to take the team to a 3 to 2 win in a 10 inning game on July 8. The next day, the Giant's Junichi Kawahara shut out the Dragons in a 5 to 0 game.

The Giants' Kazuhiro Kiyohara was in the starting line up on July 11. And he worked up to his skipper's expectation by blasting his 400th career home run and another too to take his team to a whopping 18 to 3 victory over the Carp in Sapporo. The next day, his teammate Hideki Matsui recorded his 1000th base hit, but the Giants lost 2 to 4.

Back in Tokyo, the Giants faced the team it hasn't been playing well against. And it was only able to score a run on July 14. But thanks to Kimiyasu Kudo's shut out pitching, it won 1 to 0 over the Swallows. The Giants actually won all 3 games of the series. The one on July 16 was especially dramatic. Kazuhiro Kiyohara slammed a 2 run homer to take the lead, but his high school mate Masumi Kuwata succumbed to a run tying the game. In the end, Tomohiro Nioka drove in a game winning homerun.

The Giants had a rough time winning on July 18, The Tigers caught up in the 7th inning with Hiroshi Yagi's homerun. But in the 10th, Naoki Sugiyama swung in 2 runners with bases full to give the Giants a 9 to 7 win. The next day, the game again went into the 10th inning, but Masumi Kuwata gave up a game losing run to the Tigers. The game ended 2 to 3.

The season resumed after the all star break on July 28. The leader Giants faced runner up Dragons. Fans were thrilled to see the Giants catch up with the Dragons from null to 5, but in the 10 inning, Leo Gomez finished the game to win 6 to 5. Tony Tarasco was the star for the Tigers that night, also finishing the game in the 10th with a base hit over the Carp. The next day, the Giants defeated the Dragons 6 to 4. Both Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Hideki Matsui homered. On July 30, Akira Etoh's homer, the only run batted in and Junichi Kawahara's third shut out game of the season gave the Giants a 1 to 0 win.

League standing as of June 30
1. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
2. Chunichi Dragons
3. Yokohama Bay Stars
4. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
5. Yakult Swallows
6. Hanshin Tigers

The Giants dropped to 3rd place with its 3rd straight defeat on June 1. It lost to the Carp 5 to 7. But, the next day it defeated the Dragons with Hideki Matsu's two homeruns, 6 to 3, then the day after Akira Etoh slammed a three run for a 11 to 4. And since the Swallows lost it's 2 game in a row, the Giants emerged back to first place. The result was reversed on June 4. The Swallows defeated the BayStars 9 to 4, while the Giants, despite the fact that Etoh and Matsui both homered, lost 3 to 4.

On June 7, the Bay Stars marked a tie in the number of runs batted in an inning. It succeeded in 13. The game ended 16 to 9 against the Carp. The Giants won its 2nd straight game over the Tigers to keep first place. But the next day, it lost 5 to 6, and the Dragons won 7 to 4 over the Swallows. The Dragons replaced the Giants. Even more shocking for Giants' that day, pitcher Darrell May was ordered 10 days out of games as a penalty for deliberately hurling the ball towards Yutaka Wada the day before.

The Giants lost for the 3rd straight time--a shutout defeat to the Swallows on June 11, falling further in league standing. The Dragon's meanwhile retained 1st place by defeating the Carp 7 to 6.

The Giants suddenly revived on June 13. Domingo Martinez yielded a grand slam, and Hideki Matsui his 19 homer for a 7 to 4 victory over the BayStars. Then the next day, the Giants tried something unusual. It prohibited musical instruments from the stadium. Only voices and sounds of the game itself was heard. Matsui hit another homer and so did Akira Etoh. South Korean Chung Min Chul won his first shut out game in Japan defeating the BayStars 11 to 0. And on June 15, the Giants were back on top winning 6 to 1. The BayStars on the other hand, faced its 6th straight defeat.

The Giants' Matsui homered again on June 18 and Koji Uehara hurled a distance for his 7th win in a 3 to 1 game over the Tigers. The Giants on June 20 played the Dragons and won 5 to 1 to further its lead from the others in the league. Kimiyasu Kudo clinched his 8th game. The following day, the Giants winning streak reached 7 in a 16 to 3 game. The Dragons with its 3rd straight loss dropped to 4th place.

From June 23, the Giants lost 3 straight game against the BayStars. On June 27, Darrell May helped the Giants win by hurling a shut out game over the Tigers for his 7th win. On June 28, Yoshinobu Takahashi swung the ball into the stands in the 9th to take the Giants to a 6 to 5 victory. The BayStars also clinched the game that day against the Dragons in the 9th inning 5 to 4.

The Giants reversed a game which it was behind by 4 runs on June 30. It defeated the Carp 13 to 9 with homers by Hideki Matsui and Domingo Martinez. The Dragons was 2nd winning 8 to 4 over the Swallows.

League standing as of June 30
1. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
2. Chunichi Dragons
3. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
4. Yakult Swallows
5. Yokohama Bay Stars
6. Hanshin Tigers

The Swallows clinched its 5th win in a row on May 1. Roberto Petagine belted his 6th homer, a 2 run to take the team to a 4 to 1 victory over the Carp. The team in bad shape, the Tigers faced its 4th straight defeat, and to the Bay Stars in particular its 11th since last year in a 0 to 2 game. The Giants too lost its 4th game in a row, this time facing a 0 to 4 defeat to the Dragons. Shigeki Noguchi, last year's MVP earned his 1st win.

The man baseball fans were waiting for finally did it. The Giants' Kazuhiro Kiyohara was in the starting line-up for the first time this season on May 3. At his first try at bat, he homered a low pitch off Masa Yamamoto. Kiyohara was elated. And his former high school mate, Masumi Kuwata who pitched the game earned his 2nd win in a 9 to 4 game over the Dragons.

The Carp which lost its 4th straight game with a 0 to 6 defeat against the Swallows was replaced by the Bay Stars for first place on May 4. The Bay Stars overpowered the Tigers who faced its 6th loss in a row in a 0 to 3 game. The Swallows by the way marked it's 7th straight victory to come in 3rd in a 6 to 0 game. Then on May 5, the Swallows won again, this time over the Giants 3 to 1. Roberto Petagine homered his 8th. Meanwhile, the Tigers escaped from its nightmare. It reversed a game against the Carp to win 9 to 6, and stopped his losing streak at 6. The Carp, on the other hand is playing in darkness. As of May 6, it's lost 6 in a row.

The BayStars were caught up by the Dragons 3 to 3 but it didn't go any further after Kazuyoshi Tatsunami struck out. Tatsunami attacked the umpire for calling a strike out, and Senichi Hoshino exploded too. Later it was discovered that the umpire broke his rib bone. In all, 3 were dismissed from the game. And the BayStars clinched the 10 inning game 6 to 3 on May 6. Manager Hoshino was commanded to pay a fine of 500,000 yen and imposed a 5-day suspension. In the first game without him, the Dragons lost to the BayStars 1 to 3.

The Giants players, including Domingo Martinez who replaced Kazuhiro Kiyohara in the starting line-up blasted homers to win 12 to 2 over the Swallows on May 6. Koji Uehara struck out 13 for his 3rd win and stopped the Swallows winning streak at 8. Then, on May 7, rookie Hisanori Takahashi shut out the Swallows, and Akira Etoh swung a grand slam to give the Giants a 4 to 0 win. The same day, the Carp's winning streak ended at 6 with a dramatic 9 to 5 win over the Tigers.

On May 9, the top team was challenged by the Giants. The Giants Hideki Matsui drove in 2 homers and defeated the BayStars 6 to 2. The Giants won the next day too, 3 to 2. The Dragons losing streak stopped at 3 with its 5 to 0 win over the Tigers. The Dragons are still without its manager Senichi Hoshino.

After 3 straight wins, the Carp on May 11 faced defeat before the Swallows 3 to 5. The Swallow's losing streak came to an end at 4.

The Dragons' celebrated the return of its manager Senichi Hoshino on May 12 defeating the Carp 14 to 7. Kazuyoshi Tatsunami who was also suspended from games was back and homered. Even the next day, the Dragons clobbed the Carp 13 to 2. And the next day too, even better was that Kenshin Kawakami at last marked his first win this season.

The Tigers Keiichi Yabu collected his 5th win in a 11 to 3 game over the Giants on May 12 but the next day, the Giants' Koji Uehara hurled a shut out game over the distance to win his 2nd game. On May 14, the Giants reversed the game to win 3 to 2. And because the Carp was not playing due to rain, the Giants rose to first place. The Giants' first place was secured on May 16 defeating the Carp 5 to 1. The Carp's string of losses reached 5.

The Dragons extended its winning streak to 5 on May 16 in a 9 to 4 game over the Bay Stars. And it won the following day, securing the game in the 13th inning 7 to 2. Leo Gomez slammed 2 homers. That day, the Giants' Darrell May completed a shut out game against the Carp 4 to 0. The Carp succumbed to its 6th straight defeat. It was only the next day its losing streak ended in a close 3 to 2 game. Still the Giants kept first place.

On May 19, Giants' Korean pitcher M.C. Jung started for the first time, and managed to pitch into the 8th inning against the Swallows. Hideki Matsui homered twice to lead the league with a total 13 homer runs as well as RBIs and batting average. The Giants won 7 to 2. The BayStars losing streak was ended at 5 by winning over the Tiger 10 to 5. The Dragons are still winning. It's won 4 to 2 over the Carp, and then again 3 to 2 the next day. On May 21, it's 5 to 1 win has tied the team for first place with the Giants. However. on May 23, the Dragons faced defeat in the 11th inning by the Tigers 0 to 1 and dropped from the top place while the Giants won 5 to 3 over the BayStars and Kimiyasu Kudo clinching at his former franchise, his 5th win. On May 24, the Giants faced its first loss over the BayStars in a shutout game hurled a distance by Satoru Komiyama. Then it lost again the next day 0 to 1.

The Dragons, on May 24 defeated the Tigers in a 15-inning game exceeding 6 hours, the 4th longest game in Japanese pro baseball. It lost the next day 1 to 2, keeping itself tied with the Giants in the league ranking. On May 27, the 2 top teams faced eachother. The Giants clinched the first of the series 11 to 3. The next day, the Dragons won a see-saw game 9 to 8 although Domingo Martinez homered, and Yoshinobu Takahashi twice. As a result its tied with the Giants for first place.

On May 30, the Giants lost to the Carp 2 to 8. The Swallows defeated the Dragons' 3 to 1. All 3 runs were batted in by pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii who also marked his 3rd win. The Swallows with its 4th straight win clinched emerged to first place.

League standing as of May 31
1. Yakult Swallows
2. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
2. Chunichi Dragons
4. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
5. Yokohama Bay Stars
6. Hanshin Tigers

On Mar. 31, the Central League opened. At the Tokyo Dome, Giants' starter was last year's rookie and top winner, Koji Uehara. He's collected 4 wins from the Carp last season. But already in the 2nd inning, he lost a homer to Tomonori Maeda, and in the 6th, to Tomoaki Kanemoto. In 7th inning, he gave up 4 runs. In the bottom of that inning, Domingo Martinez homered. But the Carp in the 8th scored again at Maeda's sacrifice fly. Then Hideki Matsui blasted a 2 run homer, still, the Giants lost 4 to 5. The Giants lost to the Carp again the next day 1 to 3 even though Balvino Galvez was not bad. The popular team at last won in the 3rd game. Masumi Kuwata pitched 6 2/3 innings giving up 3 runs, but Hideki Matsui, Yoshinobu Takahashi batted in runs, and former Carp Akira Etoh blasted a homerun for a 7 to 3 game. The Tigers lost its 10th straight opener. The BayStars Shindo batted in a winning run in the 11th to snatch the game 7 to 6. The Tigers also faced defeat in its second game where BayStars Bobby Rose blasted a homerun. Rose had 2 more homers that next day to take his team to a 10 to 2 victory. The Swallows' Kazuhisa Ishii who in Mar. married a popular TV announcer struck out 11 in 7 innings and then he left the game up to relief pitchers. The Swallows defeated last year's league champion 4 to 2. The next day though, the Dragons' new pitcher Melvin Bunch did well and led the team to a 2 to 0 victory.

On Apr.4 Swallows' Kenjiro Kawasaki gave up only 2 runs, but lost to the Tigers 0 to 2. The Swallows marked its 4th straight loss on Apr.6 losing 3 to 5. The BayStars newly acquired pitcher from the Marines, Satoru Komiyama did well and gave his team a 4 to 1 win over the Carp. Giants' too had a new face start. He's Kimiyasu Kudo, last year's MVP with the Hawks. the 36-year old hurled 7 innings, giving up a run and striking at 13. The Giants with 3 homers defeated the Dragons 8 to 2. The Giants'winning streak began there. On Apr. 5, Hideki Matsui fired 2 homers including a grand slam to take the team to a 8 to 0 victory. Meanwhile rookie Hisanori Takahashi pitched well the next day to help the team win 2 to 1. The Carps' Tomonori Maeda homered already his 6th on Apr. 6 and so did opponent Bobby Rose of the Bay Stars. Better yet, Rose blasted a grand slam--his 150th career homerun. And the winner was the Bay Stars-- 7 to 5.

The Dragons' new starting pitcher Melvin Bunch celebrated on Apr.7. That's because he marked a no-hitter game. Other non-Japanese teammates supported him by belting in homeruns. They're Leo Gomez and Dave "Dingo" Nilsson, for a 8 to 0 victory over the Bay Stars.

The Giants and the Swallows played a competitive game on Apr.8, with pitchers Koji Uehara and Kazuhisa Ishii giving up only a run each until the 8th inning. But in the 9th, with bases loaded Giants' Tomohiro Nioka drove in a hit to give the team its 5th win in a row. The Giants' winning streak was killed the following day. Masumi Kuwata gave up 5 runs, and the game finished 2 to 4. Carp's Tomonori Maeda, meanwhile, continues to hit mighty well. That day, he belted in a grand slam to take the Carp to a 7 to 5 victory over the Tigers. For Maeda that marked his 150th career homerun.

Last year's homerun king Roberto Petagine is at last showing his stuff. He homered twice on Apr. 11 and took the Swallows to a 7 to 1 victory over the BayStars. The Dragons faced its 3rd loss in a row in a 2 to 1 game against the Carp and its losing streak reached 4 the next day in a 2 to 4 game. But it captured a sensational game on Apr.13, 3 to 2 and Melvin Bunch clinching his 3rd win. The Giants, in its first game against the Tigers overwhelmed 10 to 3 with Kimiyasu Kudo collecting his 2nd win. Then on Apr. 12, pitcher Darrell May played a revenge game against his former team and took the Giants to a 7 to 1 victory. The Tigers at last won the next day 3 to 2.

Kazuhiro Kiyohara was back on Apr. 15 and he announced on the day that he was wedding a former model. However, he was not given a chance to play. Still, the Giants reversed the game to 4 to 3 against the BayStars thanks to Yoshinobu Takahashi's 2 run homer. The Giants with this win had tied for first place with the BayStars. The Giants at last became the sole leader the next day winning 6 to 4. Domingo Martinez belted 5 runs including a 3 run homer. The Tigers are in better shape. It's marked its 3rd win in a row in a 2 to 0 game over the Dragons thanks to Toshiro Ufune's shut out victory.

The Tigers continued its winning streak on Apr. 18 by keeping the Giants from scoring-- batting in 5 runs. It won again the next day 2 to 1. The Giants with that loss tumbled from the top post while the Carp who's game was rained out replace them. On Apr. 20, the Tigers stretched its win to 6 in a row in a 5 to 2 game over the Giants. The Carp that day showed that it deserved the top spot by defeating the Dragons in a shut out game 3 to 0.

On Apr. 21, the Giants' 2 players were after a ball flying towards the edge of the field, and they crashed. Masahiro Kawai and Koji Goto were both carried into an ambulance--a bad omen for the Giants. That game ended a 4 to 5. The Carp with the victory marked its 4th straight win. The next day, the Carp again won 8 to 6. The Carp's Tomonori Maeda homered twice. The Tigers' meanwhile clinched another win crushing the Swallow's ace pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii in a 5 to 4 game. On Apr. 23, the Tigers' winning streak reached 8 thanks to Nobuyuki Hoshino who was the ace pitcher for the BlueWave. He hurled a shut out game against the Swallows, 1 to 0. Meanwhile, the Giants on that day blasted hits after hits, including Domingo Martinez outrageous homerun to win 14 to 3.

Hideki Matsui's base hit, and Yoshinobu Takahashi' 2 run homer helped the Giants clinch the game on Apr. 25 in the 10th inning to win over the BayStars 5 to 2. The Tigers did not win nor lose either that day. It played a 15 inning game against the Carp to finish 4 to 4. The Swallows with its 3 to 4 defeat against the Dragons fell to the bottom post. Most games were rained out the next day, and on Apr. 27, the Swallows winning streak was halted with a game winning base hit over the Dragons finishing 5 to 4. The Giants' Hideki Matsui tripled his 4th homer to take his team to a 10 to 2 win over the BayStars. The Tigers clinched the game against the Carp 1 to 3, and Keiichi Yabu earned his 4th win. And the team replaced the Carp for first place. But the next day, the Carp won 8 to 3 against the Bay Stars and the Tigers lost 3 to 4 against the Dragons, so they changed places in the standing. The Tigers faced defeat again the next day 2 to 3.

On Apr. 29, the Giants lost its 2nd straight game to the Swallows. At one point the Giants was actually ahead by 3 runs, due to homers by Hideki Matsui, Toshihisa Nishi and Akira Etoh. But the Swallows caught up with Roberto Petagine's 3 run homer. And in the 10th inning, pitcher Masumi Kuwata who came up as a reliever got runners on all bases, and the game was ended with the Swallows base hit. The next day, the Swallows clinched its 4th win in a row, in a 7 to 3 game.

League standing as of Apr. 30.
1. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
2. Hanshin Tigers
3. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
4. Yokohama Bay Stars
5. Yakult Swallows
6. Chunichi Dragons