Dutch right-hander Rick van den Hurk has reached the Nippon Series in his first year in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). His Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks swept the Chiba Lotte Marines 3-0 in the best-of-five Climax Series. Van den Hurk started game two, allowing five hits, a run and a walk in six innings. They are now facing the Tokyo Yakult Swallows Wladimir Balentien in the best-of-seven Nippon Series, which starts on Saturday. The Hawks have home field advantage in games one, two, six and seven. Alessandro Maestri and his ORIX Buffaloes had missed out on the playoffs.
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