You’ve heard of streaky hitters? Mitsuo Yoshikawa is a streak pitcher. On Monday evening in Osaka, the Nippon Ham Fighters lefty survived a dodgy start against the Orix Buffaloes at Kyocera Dome Osaka to earn the win, the Fighters’ 15th in a row. Yoshikawa worked 5-1/3 scoreless innings, but left the game with the bases loaded.
Nine years ago, on June 8, Yoshikawa toed the rubber for the Fighters in a June 8 interleague game at Matsuyama’s Botchan Stadium against the Yakult Swallows. The Fighters entered having won 13 in a row and were en route to their second straight Pacific League championshp. In that game, too, Yoshikawa was seemingly in over his head. He surrendered no runs despite giving up seven hits and four walks. Fernando Seguignol decided the game with a two-run homer off Shohei Tateyama — one of the CL’s most successful interleague pitchers, and the Fighters won a franchise-record 14th straight game. Yu Darvish, of all people, lost the next game to see the streak end.