Hiromi Ito pitched a tremendous game for Nippon Ham against his WBC teammate Yoshinobu Yamamoto in a game he did not deserve to lose.
Buffaloes 1, Fighters 0: At Kitahiroshima Taxpayers Burden Field: Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (13-5) squared off with Japan World Baseball Classic teammate Hiromi Ito and just barely escaped with the win.
Ito (7-8) was in top form, allowing a run on two first-inning hits while striking out 11 without a walk over the distance against the Pacific League leaders. Orix’s run was as close as can be, with Ryoma Ikeda doubling and barely beating the tag on a good throw to the plate on a one-out Keita Nakagawa single. Ito then retired 24 of the last 25 batters he faced, with the lone batter to reach on an error being caught in a rundown on the play.
Yamamoto (13-5), meanwhile, was often under the gun with runners on base.
“In terms of how well we pitched, Ito was better than me today, but I was able to hang in there when I had to,” Yamamoto said. “Ito is a good pitcher, so I knew today was going to be a battle.”
Yamamoto twice faced two-on no-out jams but both times got three straight outs, and protected his lead for seven innings. He struck out nine and walked three while surrendering four hits.
Soichiro Yamazaki worked a scoreless eighth before veteran closer Yoshihisa Hirano earned his 24th save by following Yamamoto’s lead and stranding two runners, the ninth and 10th left on by the Fighters.Continue reading NPB news: Sept. 2, 2023