BASEBALL | BayStars Lefty Shota Imanaga throws a no-hitter at the fighters

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Japanese Racing Association

Shota Imanaga of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars threw a no-hitter on Tuesday, June 7, recording another impressive performance for a pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball this season.

The 28-year-old left-hander netted nine hits and just one walk for nine innings on a 117-pitch effort at the Sapporo Dome to lead the BayStars to a 2-0 win over the Hokkaido Nipponham Fighters.

“I never thought I could throw a no-hitter,” said Imanaga, who is in his seventh season with Yokohama. “I’m just a normal pitcher. Everyone drew for me.”

The only walk Imanaga (3-0) gave up was Kotaro Kiyomiya in the second inning.

After Yokohama hit both runs in the top of ninth place with a double from Toshiro Miyazaki, Imanaga knocked out two batsmen before tricking Yuki Nomura into flying to right field to end the game.

It was the 96th no-hitter in Japanese professional baseball and Imanaga became the 85th player to achieve the feat.

Current no-hitters in NPB

Imanaga’s no-hitter is the latest standout result for a pitcher in the NPB, coming just under a month after Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks veteran Nao Higashihama threw a no-hitter against the Saitama Seibu Lions on May 11.

Roki Sasaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines became the 16th NPB pitcher and the youngest ever to throw a perfect game against the Orix Buffaloes on Sunday, April 10.

In that game, he hit a record 13 consecutive batters and set a Japanese record for a total of 19 strikeouts.

A week later, Sasaki almost achieved the same feat, retiring all 24 batters he faced against the Fighters before being taken out after eight innings.

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Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a veteran journalist who has covered sports in Japan for more than 25 years. You can find his articles here.

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