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Regular work pays off for Murton

by Jim Allen (Oct 7, 2010)

Outfielder Matt Murton came to Japan wondering what he might be capable of if he played every day.

The Tigers gave him that chance and Hanshin fans are now sharing in his revelation. In his first season here, Murton has had more hit records than Marvin Gaye.

Murton set the record for hits by a first-year foreign player and the record for most three-hit games by a Tiger before equaling the single-season hit record of 210 on Sunday and shattering it on Tuesday with three hits.

Early in the season, he told The Daily Yomiuri of his quest.

"I haven't had 500-plus at-bats in one place in a season ever," he said. "It will be the first time to do that and I'll find out what kind of a player I really am.

"You play 200 at-bats here, then you go down for 100 at-bats and you never find that rhythm. You never really know wht you're fully capable of."

The Tigers entered play on Wednesday in second place, leading the Yomiuri Giants by winning-percentage points.

Finishing second will allow the Tigers to host the Giants in the best-of-three first stage of the CL Climax Series. The winner will move to Nagoya, where the newly crowned champs, the Chunichi Dragons will host the second stage. The winner of that best-of-seven series advances to the Japan Series.

Murton was a key addition to a Tigers team that finished fourth last year, missing the CL playoffs for the first time in the format's brief three-year history.

He finished Tuesday's game against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows with a .351 average, third in the Central League. He leads the league in runs scored (105) and batting average with runners in scoring position.


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