Baseball: Buffaloes’ Yoshinobu Yamamoto follows no-hitter with 8 shutouts

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes serves against the Lotte Marines in a Pacific League baseball game at Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba, near Tokyo, June 25, 2022. (Kyodo)

CHIBA, Japan (Kyodo) — Yoshinobu Yamamoto fought against the wind but held on to bat nine over eight scoreless innings as defending Pacific League champion Orix Buffaloes beat the Lotte Marines for the second straight day with a 4th on Saturday : 0 win defeated.

Yamamoto (8-3), who hit the fourth no-hitter of the season last Saturday, knocked out the first three batsmen he faced at Zozo Marine Stadium.

The right-hander struggled to hit his spots in the second inning as he spent both walks and gave up one of the four singles he allowed at Bayside Stadium east of Tokyo.

“I came out as usual and tried to find a rhythm early, but the wind was a challenge,” said Yamamoto. “As the game progressed, I adjusted and focused on getting good arm action and things fell into place.”

“It was really hot, but because of the wind it didn’t feel that bad.”

The Buffaloes took a first-inning lead against rookie Shoma Sato (1-4) with a Shuhei Fukuda leadoff double and an RBI single from Orix’ Big Wheel, Masataka Yoshida.

Fukuda hit on a loaded bases run in the second, Koji Oshiro had an RBI single in the fourth, and Yoshida finished the goal in the seventh with his sixth home run and his second in two days.

Closer Yoshihisa Hirano took the mound in ninth place with two outs and two ons, and needed just two pitches to end the game with his 19th save.

Elsewhere in the PL, Jantzen Witte ended a scoreless game with a two-barrel home run in the seventh inning, his first in Japan, and four Seibu Lions pitchers combined for a 2-0 win over the three-hit Rakuten Eagles.

Rakuten fell 1-1/2 games behind PL-leading SoftBank Hawks, who beat Nippon Ham Fighters 3-0 behind a four-hit shutout by rookie Tomohisa Ozeki (5-3).

A day after being defeated 16-6 by the Yakult Swallows, the Central League’s second-placed Yomiuri Giants retaliated, beating the CL leaders 19-5 to take first place within 10 games.

The third-place Hiroshima Carp and fourth-place Hanshin Tigers kept pace, with the Carp defeating the DeNA BayStars 5-4 and the Tigers defeating the Chunichi Dragons 10-0.

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