It has been a long time coming for the Orix Buffaloes—26 years in fact had passed since they claimed their last Japan Series championship. The Buffaloes overcame a valiant comeback effort from the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5-4 in Game 7 of the Japan Series. Orix won the series 4-2 after a tie in Game 2.
The Buffaloes had a difficult road when they found themselves two games behind in the series before ending Game 2 with a tie after 12 innings. The victory couldn't have come any sweeter as the two teams faced each other in last year's edition of the Japan Series. The Swallows denied the Buffaloes the championship in six games.
"Orix win their first Japan Series title since the Blue Wave in 1996. The Orix Buffaloes (merged in 2004) win their first Japan Series title in team history." - @ Yakyu Cosmopolitan
Orix didn't waste any time with Ryo Ota blasting a solo home run off the glove of former Houston Astros pitcher Cy Sneed in the very first inning. They would tack on four more runs in the fifth inning that were powered by back-to-back bunts.
The lead ballooned to five when Swallows outfielder Yasutaka Shiomi committed a fielding error on Buffaloes slugger Yutaro Sugimoto's line drive. The error gave the Orix Buffaloes a stout advantage.
Defending Japan Series champion the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, however, wouldn't go down without a fight. The Swallows rallied back in the ninth, courtesy of Soichiro Yamazaki and Jose Osuna's three-run home run, cutting the Buffaloes' lead to one.
Buffaloes closer and former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jacob Waguespack was brought in to close out the Swallows in the ninth. He was successful in shutting down the three batters that he faced.
The game ended at 5-4 with the Buffaloes exacting revenge from their 2021 Japan Series opponents. Had the Swallows succeeded in clinching Game 7, the teams would have played a sudden death Game 8.
Orix Buffaloes' Championship History
The Orix Buffaloes claimed their first Japan Series title since the team's rebranding and overhaul. In 2004, the Orix BlueWave and Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes became the Orix Buffaloes during that year's NPB realignment.
The last franchise championship was in 1996, when MLB legend Ichiro Suzuki powered the BlueWave against the Yomiuri Giants. The franchise also won three on the bounce from 1976 to 1978 when the team was still known as the Hankyu Braves.