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The wonder years …

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The wonder years …

Yamamoto tosses 8 scoreless, becomes oldest pitcher to win CL game

At 46 years, 8 months and 4 days, the Chunichi Dragons' Masahiro Yamamoto makes the normal crafty old lefty look like an up-and-coming stud.

He made the hot-starting Hanshin Tigers look kids at play in a 3-0 win on Sunday at Koshien Stadium.

Yamamoto handcuffed the 7-4 Tigers, carrying a one-hitter into the eighth to become the oldest pitcher to win a Central League game. The lefty yielded two hits and two walks with 3 Ks over eight innings to move past Kimiyasu Kudo, who won a game at 46 years, 1 months as a member of the Yokohama BayStars in 2009.

He became Japan Pro Baseball oldest starting pitcher to win a game, replacing Hankyu’s Shinji Hamazaki (46 years, 8 months exactly), who set the mark in 1948.

It was also the 211th win for Yamamoto, tying Shigeru Sugishita's record for the most in club history.

"Well, that's mostly because of longevity, but it's an honor to up there with a person of that stature," said in the hero interview. “I tried just to go out today and climb the stairs one step at a time.”

Ryosuke Hirata cracked a two-run homer to break up a scoreless pitchers’ duel in the fifth inning, and a sac fly by Kazuhiro Wada in the eighth provided insurance.

Yamamoto got into trouble in the eighth, allowing a hit and a walk before Hidenori Kuramoto tracked down pinch-hitter Kentaro Sekimoto's two-out drive to left.


Norihiro Nakamura smacked his first walk-off homer in four years -- and the 10th of his career -- as Yokohama notched its first sayonara victory under new ownership and it first home win of the season, albeit at a regional site in Niigata Prefecture.

It was Nakamura’s first homer since June 17, 2008, and it gave reliever Takayuki Shinohara (1-0) his first win since Aug. 4, 2010.


Katsuki Akagawa (1-1) twirled seven scoreless innings and Hiroyasu Tanaka drove in the game’s lone run with a third-inning single as Yakult shut out Hiroshima

Tony Barnette gave up a leadoff single but retired the next three for his fourth save.



Rookie lefty Takahiro Fujioka (2-1) scattered four hits and two walks while fanning 10 in his first complete game, and one of Tadahito Iguchi’s two hits keyed a four-run third as Lotte topped SoftBank to take two of three -- with a tie -- at FYJ Dome.


Hiroshi Kusanuki (2-0) held Seibu to one run over six-plus innings, and Mitsutaka Goto launched his first homer of the season as Orix topped the Lions at Seibu Dome.


Sho Nakata slugged a walk-off solo shot minutes after Luis Garcia’s two-run shot in the top of the ninth had pulled Rakuten even, and Nippon Ham won the rubber game of its series at Sapporo Dome.


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