Norichika Aoki set a Central League record with a leadoff single that ignited a three-run first inning and the Yakult Swallows went on to beat the Chunichi Dragons 5-0 on Thursday.

News photoYakult Swallows outfielder Norichika Aoki singles to left for his Central League-record 193rd
hit of the season in the first inning against the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium on
Thursday. The Swallows won 5-0.

CL batting leader Aoki singled to left off Chunichi right-hander Mitsuru Sato for his 193rd hit of the season, breaking the previous single-season hit mark of 192 set in 1999 by Bobby Rose of the Yokohama BayStars.

Katsuyuki Dobashi walked and Alex Ramirez scored Aoki for the opening run with a single one out later. After Adam Riggs struck out, Mitsuru Manaka and Noriyuki Shiroishi hit back-to-back singles to make it 3-0 at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo.

Ramirez homered in the third and Hajime Miki delivered an RBI triple in the fifth, helping rookie right-hander Kenichi Matsuoka (1-2) notch his first career win after holding the Dragons to three hits and no walks in six shutout innings.

Sato (1-1) allowed all five runs in taking the loss.

Aoki finished the night 1-for-4. With five games left in the season, the 23-year-old is 17 hits shy of the Japanese baseball record of 210 set by Ichiro Suzuki for the Orix BlueWave in 1994.

Aoki achieved the feat in the Swallows’ 141st game of the 146-game season. Rose established his record when the Central League had 135 games in the regular season.

Girardi to interview

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Yankees gave the Florida Marlins permission to speak with New York bench coach Joe Girardi about their managerial opening.

Girardi will try to interview with Florida general manager Larry Beinfest during an off day in the playoffs.

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