‘Former ML’ 39-year-old veteran becomes Japan’s oldest PS save…”I have no intention of retiring yet”

The Nippon Professional Baseball Oryx Buffaloes won Game 1 of the final stage of the Pacific League Climax Series. Ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto gave up five earned runs, but the offense came back to win the game.

Closer Yoshihisa Hirano, 39, set a new Nippon Professional Baseball record for the oldest postseason save in history.

Game 1 between the Orix and Chiba Lotte at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan on April 18. With the Orix leading 8-5 in the top of the ninth inning, Hirano took the mound.

He got the first batter, Ogino, to fly out to right field on a forkball and then got Fujioka to ground out to the first baseman on a 149-kilometer fastball. He issued a walk two batters later, but got Polanco, the fourth batter, to ground out to first base to end the game. 메이저사이트

Hirano earned the save at the age of 39 years, 7 months. He broke the record for the oldest save in the first stage of a Climax Series (39 years, 2 months), previously held by Fujikawa (Hanshin) in 2019.

Hirano, who made his professional debut with the Orix in 2006, appeared in 549 games through 2017, compiling a 48-69 record, 139 holds, 156 saves, and a 3.10 ERA. He posted three straight years of double-digit wins as a starter after his debut, and has been a bullpen arm since 2010.

After the 2017 season, he signed a two-year, $6 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his first year in the big leagues, he went 4-3 with a 2.44 ERA in 75 games, 32 starts, and seven saves.

After two years in Arizona, he signed with Seattle in 2019 and struggled in 13 games, going 1-1 with a 5.84 ERA and four saves.

After returning to the Orioles in 2021, Hirano posted 29 saves and three shutouts in 46 games and 28 saves and eight shutouts in 48 games over two years. This season, he has appeared in 42 games, posting a 3-2 record with five saves and a 1.13 ERA in 29 appearances. He reached the 200-save, 200-hit milestone this season and reached the 250-save mark in his career the past two days.

Yamamoto, who started Game 1 of the Final Stage for the second straight year in 2021-2022 and pitched 17 scoreless innings, struggled in the first inning, allowing three runs. Yamamoto, who set four career records (wins, ERA, strikeouts, and winning percentage) for the third straight year, allowed five runs on 10 hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in seven innings.

After back-to-back singles in the first inning, a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third. He gave up a two-run double to Polanco. An infield single and a single up the middle loaded the bases, and a grounder to shortstop allowed a third run to score.

He settled down in the second inning. He gave up two singles in the second and two walks in the third, but got back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning with runners at first and second. In the fourth, he gave up a hard-hit ball with two outs, but got out of the inning unscathed.

The Oryx tied the game in the fourth inning. With two outs, Gonzalez drew a walk to load the bases. With runners on first and second, Kotaro Kuribayashi hit a two-run double to cut the lead to 2-3, and Yuma Mune followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 3-3.

Chiba got back at Yamamoto in the sixth inning. Yamaguchi led off with a single, a sacrifice bunt put runners on first and second, and two batters later, Ogino hit an RBI single to make it 4-3.

The Orix turned the game around in the bottom of the sixth. Cedeño led off with a walk and Yutaro Sugimoto followed with a double to center to tie the game at 4-4. A walk put runners on first and second, and Kuribayashi followed with an RBI single. A sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third, and a pitcher’s interference and an RBI single plated two runs for a 7-4 lead.

Yamamoto allowed back-to-back singles in the seventh to put runners on first and third with no outs, and a sacrifice fly plated the fifth run. A grounder to second base with one out ended the inning. The Oryx added a run in the eighth to make it 8-5.

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