Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes), the “ace” of Nippon Professional Baseball, fell just short of the top spot on the strikeout list as he added just five more strikeouts. However, he did manage to set a franchise record that hadn’t been set in 67 years.
Yamamoto took the mound against the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball 2023 at the Bernardome in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, on Wednesday (July 23), throwing 98 pitches over seven innings, allowing five hits, one walk, and striking out five.
In his previous start, on April 16 against the SoftBank Hawks, Yamamoto got no help from his offense or defense, giving up three runs (unearned) in five innings. Of course, he didn’t have much support from his offense today either. But Yamamoto pitched a near-perfect game to remain atop the Pacific League-Central League standings.
Yamamoto got off to a quick start, retiring the top of the Seibu order in order in the first inning. In the second, he gave up a leadoff single to Takeya Nakamura to start the inning, but retired the next three batters in a row to end the inning. In the bottom of the third inning, he overcame a two-out jam by retiring the side in order.
Yamamoto continued to cruise in the fourth, retiring the center field lineup of Takeya Nakamura, Devin McKinnon, and Shuta Tonosaki into a triple play, then shutting down the bottom of the order in the fifth for the second straight inning. Yamamoto was back on the mound for the sixth inning, and once again, he gave up a leadoff single to start the inning.
With a 2-0 lead, Yamamoto entered the bottom of the seventh with a comfortable pitch count, and then came the biggest threat. Yamamoto gave up a leadoff walk to McKinnon, a single to Tonosaki, and a sacrifice bunt to Ryusei Sato to put runners on first and second and third. This is where Yamamoto really came into his own.
After a four-pitch battle with pinch-hitter Aito, Yamamoto induced a swinging strikeout with a 134-kilometer slider that landed low and out of the strike zone. Seibu once again used a pinch-hitter, and Yamamoto got Kento Watanabe to fly out to third base on the first pitch he saw to end the inning, posting a Quality Start+ (seven innings, three earned runs or less) before turning the baton over to the bullpen. The Orix went on to win 3-0, and Yamamoto earned his 12th win.
Prior to this game, Yamamoto had 123 strikeouts on the season, just seven behind Roki Sasaki and Atsuki Taneichi (Chiba Lotte Marines, 130), who are tied for first in the Pacific League. However, he only struck out five batters on the day, so he’ll have to wait until his next start to claim the strikeout lead. Still, he was able to lower his ERA from 1.50 to 1.42 and retain the top spot in wins.카지노사이트
While he’ll have to settle for a third pitching crown, Yamamoto did set a franchise record with his no-hitter. The Ducks will now play six consecutive games of one run or less for the first time since 1956, starting with a series against SoftBank on April 17, followed by a three-game series against the Nippon Ham Fighters on April 18-20 and a series against the Seibu on April 22-23. The Orix also lit up the Pacific League magic number (24 wins).
According to Japan’s Nikkan Sports, manager Satoshi Nakajima said after the game, “He threw well in the elements. I didn’t think the ball was that good,” he said after the game, giving a thumbs-up to his ace, who pitched seven scoreless innings and made the franchise’s first win in 67 years.