TOKYO (Kyodo) – Wataru Matsumoto held SoftBank Hawks for a six innings run and Kaima Taira set a Nippon Professional Baseball record of 38 straight games without giving up a run when the Seibu Lions 5-2 in Monday won the Pacific League.
Matsumoto (7-3) handed an RBI single in race one for the only run to Ryoya Kurihara before fighting his way back to beat SoftBank starter Colin Rea (1-1), who gave up five runs, earned four, too over six innings at the Kyocera Dome Osaka.
Wataru Takagi’s RBI double in the third equalized before Takeya Nakamura’s solo homer turned the game for Seibu in the fourth. Wu Nien-ting’s base-loaded double and Hotaka Yamakawa’s victim flies in the sixth game made the game out of reach for SoftBank.
Matsumoto allowed five hits and passed three in an effort of 107 pitch for Seibu. Rae gave up seven hits and one walk and Yuya Hasegawa’s RBI single in the eighth game changed little in the course of the game.
The Okinawa native beat two of the three thugs he faced in ninth place, joining former Big Leaguer and Hanshin Tigers star Kyuji Fujikawa for the record.
“I took one step at a time to get here and I am happy,” said the right-handed man chosen for the Japanese team for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. “I got it on a bit, but I was focused on having a goalless inning … I’m not going to change and I will always take one step at a time.”