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Bobby Valentine wins Japan League championship


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Marines No. 1: Valentine wins Japan SeriesAssociated Press

OSAKA, Japan -- Bobby Valentine became the first foreign manager to win the Japan Series when his Chiba Lotte Marines completed a four-game sweep of the Hanshin Tigers with a 3-2 victory Wednesday.

AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine is walking on air Wednesday after his team wins the Japan Series.

South Korean Lee Seung-yeop drove in all three runs as the Marines won their first Japan Series title in 31 years.

"We started in spring training with a dream to be here for the last game," Valentine said. "We wanted to win the last game and we did."

Since Japanese baseball went to a two-league system in 1950, only six teams have swept the Japan Series.

Valentine, who took the New York Mets to the World Series in 2000 where they lost in five games to the New York Yankees, is in his second stint with the Marines. He guided the team to a second-place finish in 1995.

Lee hit a two-run homer in the second inning at Koshien Stadium to give the Marines a 2-0 lead, then had a run-scoring double in the third.

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