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Saturday, November 3, 2012

This Former Farmstro is a Japan Series Champion, Again

Early Saturday morning(Minute Maid Park time), the Yomiuri Giants knocked off the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 4-3 in the Tokyo Dome.  The victory gave the Giants a four games to two Japan Series victory over the Ham Fighters, and it gave D.J. Houlton, who began his professional career in the Houston organization, his second straight Japan Series championship ring. 

The Astros drafted Houlton, RHP in 2001, and he spent four seasons in the system.  He played in Martinsville, Michigan, Round Rock, and New Orleans during those four seasons.  The Dodgers selected Houlton in the 2004 Rule 5 draft.  He is the most recent player that the Astros have lost in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft.

Houlton first made the trip across the Pacific to Japan for the 2008 season.  He played for the Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks from 2008-2011.  Houlton was with the Hawks when they won the Japan Series last autumn.

After switching to the Giants for the 2012 season, he was part of that club's starting rotation.  Houlton pitched 158 innings in the regular season, won 12 games and posted a 2.45 ERA.

The title is the 22nd Japan Series crown for the Giants.  They also won nine championships before Japanese baseball went to a two-league system.  Interestingly, however, this year is the first year in which both the Giants of Japanese baseball and the Giants of the USA(San Francisco/New York) claimed their country's ultimate baseball victory in the same year.  As an added bonus for Giant-o-philes, the New York football Giants won the Super Bowl in 2012 as well.

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