Eagles’ Tanaka receives PL pitching honor for fifth consecutive month


Masahiro Tanaka continued to rule Nippon Professional Baseball’s monthly awards for the fifth straight month, when the winners of the Central and Pacific leagues’ pitchers and players of the month were announced on Friday.

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles ace, who is 23-0 this season and has won his last 27 decisions dating back to August 2012, went 3-0 with one save, the save coming when he pitched the final inning of the game in which the Eagles clinched their first PL pennant. It was the right-hander’s 12th monthly honor and his fifth of the year, both NPB records. He posted a 1.33 ERA in September.

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks center fielder Yuya Hasegawa won his second career Player of the Month award, having won his first in June. The CL’s Pitcher of the Month nod went to Hiroshima Carp right-hander Bryan Bullington, while the league’s top honor for position players went to Tokyo Yakult Swallows infielder Shingo Kawabata.

Hasegawa batted .379 in September and led the league with a .600 slugging percentage and twice had game-winning, walk-off hits for Softbank.

Bullington went 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA for the Carp, who booked their first postseason appearance since 1991. It was his second award. He beat out Carp ace Kenta Maeda (4-1, 1.69 ERA). Kawabata earned his first honor of his eight-year career after batting .393 in September.