He proved in one game why he’s the biggest name in the game. Orix Buffaloes “ace” Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitched a perfect game to lead his team to victory.
The Oryx defeated the Hanshin Tigers 5-1 in Game 6 of the best-of-seven Japan Series (JS-7) of the 2023 Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) postseason on Thursday at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan, to even the series at 3-3. The winner of the Japan Series trophy will be decided in Game 7 on May 5.
Hanshin lined up in the following order: Koji Chikamoto (center field), Takumu Nakano (second base), Shota Morishita (right field), Yusuke Oyama (first base), Sheldon Noji (left field), Teruaki Sato (third base), Gento Itohara (designated hitter), Seiya Kinami (shortstop), Seishiro Sakamoto (catcher). The starting pitcher was Shoki Murakami.
The Orix lineup was Keita Nakagawa (center field), Yuma Mune (third base), Gotaro Kurebayashi (shortstop), Yuya Oda (right field), Koji Oshiro (second base), Marwin Gonzalez (first base), Yutaro Sugimoto (left field), T-Okada (designated hitter), and Kenya Wakatsuki (catcher). Yamamoto took the mound to save the team from the brink.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, it was Hanshin who struck first. Noiji took advantage of Yamamoto’s first pitch and hit a solo arch over the right field fence.
The Oryx then struck back. In the bottom of the second, a leadoff single by Gonzalez and a double by Sukimoto put runners on the corners, and after Okada struck out, Wakatsuki singled to drive in Gonzalez from third. Then, with runners on 1-3, Nakagawa hit a sacrifice fly to score Fukuda from third. The score was 2-1. 무지개토토
The Oryx weren’t satisfied with the comeback. In the bottom of the fifth, after a leadoff single by Nakagawa, Mune laid down a sacrifice bunt and Kobayashi hit a two-run arch over the left field fence to extend the lead to 4-1.
In the bottom of the eighth, the game-winning run came. Yuma Tongu led off with a 1-1 pitch and took Yuki Nishi’s three-pitch at-bat for a solo shot over the left field fence to seal the victory. In the end, the game ended in favor of the Oryx.
While the bats shined, including leadoff hitter Nakagawa, who went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored, it was Yamamoto who was arguably the star of the game. After giving up a leadoff single in the top of the first, Yamamoto worked out of the inning with runners in scoring position, and in the top of the third, after a leadoff single by Nakano, he struck out two to keep Hanshin’s center fielders at bay.
After giving up back-to-back singles in the top of the fourth inning, Yamamoto got out of the jam with a strikeout and a flyout to end the inning, and kept the momentum going with back-to-back strikeouts in the top of the fifth and sixth innings. The top of the seventh and eighth innings were also scoreless.