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Buffaloes Yoshihisa Hirano One Save Away from 250 : NPB News

 Conor Liguori  |    Apr 29th, 2024 8:51am EDT

Nippon Professional Baseball League Logo (1000logos)

Orix Buffaloes closer Yoshihisa Hirano is one save away from 250 in his NPB career. The 40-year-old recorded his 249th save on Sunday in a 5-4 win against the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.  

Hirano has 15 years of pitching experience in NPB with the Orix Buffaloes and pitched three seasons in Major League Baseball from 2018-20 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners, recording eight saves in 150 games.  

 

Saitama Seibu Lions Lose 15th Consecutive Extra-Inning Game  

 

The Saitama Seibu Lions lost 3-2 in 12 innings on Sunday against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, their 15th consecutive extra-inning game loss, an NPB record.  

Sunday was the Lions’ second consecutive extra-inning loss to Fukuoka, dropping Saturday’s game 2-1 in 10 innings. The Saitama Seibu Lions offense scored just 10 runs in five games from Tuesday, April 23, to Sunday, April 28.  

 

BayStars Rookie Ryuki Watarai Hits First Career Grand Slam  

Yokohama DeNA BayStars rookie outfielder Ryuki Watarai hit the first grand slam of his NPB career on Friday in a 7-2 win against the Yomiuri Giants.  

Watarai hit the grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning, where Yokohama scored six runs to take a commanding five-run lead.  

Earlier this season, Watarai became the first rookie in NPB history to hit home runs in the first two games of a season. The 21-year-old is hitting .227 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 23 games.  

 

This Day in Japanese Baseball History  

On April 28, 2012, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters outfielder Atsunori Inaba recorded his 2,000th career NPB hit, the 39th NPB player to 2,000 hits.  

With the hit, Inaba joined the Meikyukai, which a player joins if they reach 2,000 career hits, 200 career wins as a pitcher, or 250 saves in NPB and Major League Baseball.  

 

NPB Standings as of Sunday, April 28   

Central League  

  1. Hanshin Tigers (14-9)
  2. Yomiuri Giants (13-10) 
  3. Chunichi Dragons (11-11) 
  4. Hiroshima Toyo Carp (10-10) 
  5. Yokohama DeNA BayStars (10-13) 
  6. Tokyo Yakult Swallows (9-14) 

Pacific League  

  1. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (16-6) 
  2. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (12-9) 
  3. Orix Buffaloes (13-12) 
  4. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (10-13) 
  5. Chiba Lotte Marines (10-13) 
  6. Saitama Seibu Lions (8-16) 
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Conor Liguori