NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. – Masahiro Yamamoto became the oldest starter ever to win in Japanese baseball at 46 years, eight months and four days after the Chunichi Dragons lefty threw eight shutout innings in a 3-0 victory over the Hanshin Tigers on Sunday.
Yamamoto threw 103 pitches at Koshien Stadium, allowing only two hits and fanning six before handing the baton to closer Hitoki Iwase, who collected his fifth save of the season.
Yamamoto rewrote former Hankyu Braves left-hander Shinji Hamazaki’s 1948 record of exactly 46 years and eight months.
He didn’t pitch last year because of a right-ankle injury but had pitched well so far in 2012, giving up just one earned run in two starts.
“I’m really glad I stuck it out,” said Yamamoto, who has 211 wins for his career. “I had to have surgery, and there are so many people I want to thank. If I pitched a better eighth inning, I think I could have gone one more.
“Everything I achieve now will be oldest this, oldest that but it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to keep going.”
BayStars 3, Giants 1 (11)
At Hard Off Stadium Niigata, veteran slugger Norihiro Nakamura hit his 10th career sayonara home run as Yokohama beat Yomiuri to win for the third time in four games.
Swallows 1, Carp 0
At Matsuyama Stadium, Katsuki Akagawa (1-1) threw seven scoreless innings, holding Hiroshima to four hits to earn his first win of the season.
Marines 5, Hawks 1
At Yahoo Dome, Chiba Lotte’s heralded rookie southpaw Takahiro Fujioka threw his first complete game against Fukuoka Softbank.
The 23-year-old Fujioka (2-1) put the clamps on the defending Japan Series champions with a 131-pitch, 10-strikeout performance, bouncing back from last week’s loss to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
Fujioka, already armed with one of the best fastballs in Japan, allowed just four hits and issued two free passes over the distance. Former major leaguer Tadahito Iguchi and Kazuya Fukuura drove in two runs each for the Marines.
Fighters 4, Eagles 3
At Sapporo Dome, Sho Nakata homered off Hiroshi Katayama (0-1) in the bottom of the ninth, his second roundtripper of the season, to give Hokkaido Nippon Ham the walk-off win against Tohoku Rakuten.
Buffaloes 6, Lions 2
At Seibu Dome, Seibu lost its fifth straight home game as Orix tagged Hideaki Wakui (0-3) with four earned runs in three innings, keeping the Lions ace winless on the year.