The Carp extended their lead to 7.5 games over the Giants today. After letting it drop to 4.5 games only a few days ago, their continued strong pitching and timely hitting have been enough. It seems very unlikely that the Giants can overcome such a large lead with so few games left in the season. If the Carp play even .500 baseball, the Giants would still face the difficult task of going 25-11 just to tie. Anything is possible but more and more, it looks like this is the season for the Carp to capture first place going into the League finals. I never thought they would be able to do this after losing Maeda to the Dodgers. If they pull it off, it has to considered one of the bigger surprises in Japanese baseball in a while.